Friday, February 17, 2017

Dem consultant shows why Dems lose in Wisconsin

Paul Fanlund’s column in the Capital Times is always a good source to get insight into what the financially-comfortable, connected liberal types in Madison are thinking (by the way Paul, that’s not a compliment). And he didn’t disappoint today, where he talked to a DC-based Democratic campaign official with Wisconsin ties about how the party can break out of its slide and get back into power in the state. If you want a clue, the article is titled “We May Also Need Better Voters.”
Anson Kaye is a credentialed Democratic operative. He had a senior role in Hillary Clinton’s paid media operation and in the past worked in Wisconsin for familiar names — Jim Doyle, Shirley Abrahamson and Mary Burke.

Yet his recent column for U.S. News & World Report began with a comparatively nonpartisan suggestion: that voters, current and future, need to better grasp the limitations of their government.

Voters, he wrote, are the only participants in November’s outcomes who have mostly escaped the spotlight. “This is about something bigger” than campaign tactics, he wrote. It is about “how poorly we prepare people to participate in the political process, and how those chickens are coming home to roost in a bigly way.”
And I thought “Great. The people do need to understand civics and checks and balances and the way our system runs.” Any read of one of the many articles written over the last 3 months about rural Western Wisconsin flipping to Trump has as a common theme “We were just hoping he’d make things better for us, and that things would change” without any idea about how the economic policies of Trump or the GOP would reach that goal (hint- it doesn’t).

I figured the article might go into ways that Dems should educate voters about the way people can use the system the same way lobbyists do, to understand which levels of government are responsible for the things that are upsetting these angry voters (hint- it’s likely to be at the state and local level), and lead the average individual to be empowered into taking action against the unacceptable crap that today’s GOP is imposing on the rest of us. This is a big reason why I write this blog, so people can find economic and political information and use that info to gain a better of understanding of issues and recognize the facts (or lack thereof) being trotted out, and identify the games politicians are playing.

But then you read later on in Fanlund’s column, and you realize that Kaye is actually saying “Nope, people shouldn’t expect politicians and government to get them what they want.”
Kaye’s notions may be unsatisfying for many, as when he describes what voting for a Democrat actually means, and what it does not: “It does not mean that if your factory closes tomorrow you will be able to walk across the street the next day and get a job building a wind turbine. But it does mean that we are more likely to shape an economic system in our country where people who may not have the same resources as those at the top are accounted for.

“Voting for a Democrat won’t mean that rich people magically pay more taxes and you get to pay less. But it will mean there are people fighting to shape a more equitable economic system, and to make sure that values other than simply enriching the rich are represented in our free markets.
Boy, that’ll get them fired up, won’t it? “Just be happy if you get a few crumbs and accept that it’s just the way it goes!” That’ll make em pull the D lever, eh?

I’m sorry, but when you’re running a campaign and trying to win hearts and minds, you need to be showing people how things will get better, and how they will be able to get what they want under your party’s policies (or conversely, why bad things will be stopped with your party in office). Sure, the GOP offers bullshit with their regressive, failed policies, but the average day-to-dayer in rural Wisconsin wants their taxes lowered and wants to be able to shoot guns, and some of them feel they’re getting nothing out of their hard work, so they want someone to beat up on.

No matter how unrealistic, racist or flat-out lying GOPs are, at least these individuals think they are getting an answer from them, whereas Dems are shrugging and saying “You know, if you retrain yourself, you might get a slightly better-paying job if some other newer technology comes in to your town.” Or even stating a fact like “hey, this Obamacare is great and more people are getting covered” when Joe Ruralguy was already covered, and now his insurance company is using the excuse of “Obamacare” to continue to jack up his rates or deductibles. That’s not what people want to hear, that’s not relating to their particular situation, and that’s not what they should expect to get as a reply from their elected officials.

You need to reach into people’s lives, and give them hope that there will be a reward to their hard work. They can see that corporate slimeballs and rich donors take more and more while the blue-collars work as hard as ever and fall further behind, so why don’t Dems STEP UP AND SAY “THIS SITUATION IS WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE”?

Also, why aren’t Dems telling rural Wisconsin that the reward to investing taxes into public schools is because it makes for a better community that their kids would want to stick around in and raise their new families in. Instead, Republicans rob those schools of funding to funnel money into unaccountable voucher schools in big cities and suburbs, to subsidize schools that those parents are already sending their kids to. Maybe we should point out that being a decent person who pays their bills and believes in honest and clean government is an ethos that still has value in the 2010s, and that politicians should reward those values when they get into office.

Instead, the Anson Kayes and the rest of the suit-wearing consultant class say “Well, that’s not going to happen. big Big money is just the way the system is these days. Sorry about that, try this subpar option, since us urban educated types know the better way for you to succeed.” And you wonder why this party keeps losing when party hacks like that continue to pull fat paychecks from candidates as “experts”?

DEAR GOD Dems, clean house and throw these losers out!


  1. Jake, I don't know you but I live in Madison. I'm urban. But, surprise, surprise -- I don't think just like Paul Fanlund or this consultant!

    Lay off the Madison bashing, the collective guilt and the general snotty divisiveness. Not helpful.

    Otherwise, yeah, I agree!

    1. I live in Madison and have 2 degrees from UW. Fanlund is a very specific type that is out of step with most of the people who live here. He's never struggled, so he thinks civility and reason and niceness solves everythig. It doesnt

  2. Yes fanlund is of the center right are the adults of the party thinking. The same thinking that has sunk us for years now.. yes this is the reason i am so vocal against the political lifer class, they lose election after election after election, make bucks then people keep running to them.

  3. Paul Fanlund is NOT a good information source. For instance, he wrote a glowing article in favor of Clinton during the primaries while Wisconsin overwhelmingly wanted Sanders.

  4. That's exactly my point. Fanlund is implying "Here's what Dems need to do" when rich, comfortable types like him have been out of step the whole time.

  5. Jake--beautifully said, and I agree with what you've posted here in the comments too. Permission to quote and/or cross-post?

    1. Always. Feel free, not that I consider myself that profound

  6. Dude, you ARE profound. Make no mistake.

    Here's my take: