This ad sounds like something Dems would run against Leah Vukmir – she’s a corrupt tool of the WisGOP establishment, who covered up for a lawbreaking GOP in the Legislature, and has constantly tried to go around the state’s open records law. Future ads could also add that Vukmir's staff chased and shoved a process server that was making Vukmir comply with court orders telling her to release records relating to an ALEC convention.
But it's not Dems running the ads, it's the right-wing oligarchs at Club for Growth Wisconsin. Along those lines I also got this mailer from the "Restoration PAC" the other day, which uses similar themes to prop up Vukmir's primary opponent.
The ad is a major tell. Even the Club for Growth and other right-wing oligarchs recognize that even GOP-leaning voters don’t like corruption and dishonesty, and that they actually do care about “Draining the Swamp.” But they also figure that those suckers don't like "liberals" enough (whatever that means) that they'll vote against Tammy Baldwin regardless of who the candidate is in November.
The oligarchs figure those suckers were taken in by a man claiming to be an “independent outsider” in Donald Trump, and that they can try the same routine with Kevin Nicholson, who has little track record of anything in his adult life, other than being a Marine in Iraq at some point (cue the flag! Stand up, you rubes!).
The problem is that the whole “Drain the Swamp” argument falls flat when you realize it’s coming from Club for Growth and Restoration PAC. And the main donor for both "organizations" is..... Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein. Nicholson is the other side of the “Swamp”, a grifting empty suit who’s propped up with millions from Uihlein and the John Bolton SuperPAC.
And of course, no one is more Swampy than the self-dealing President and his equally crooked, favors-trading Cabinet. And there's little doubt that if Nicholson somehow won, he’d stand back and allow the Trumpist corruption to continue just like the rest of the GOP stooges in Congress. And Nicholson also supports a Tax Scam an overwhelming majority of Americans hate, but was passed because the Kochs and other rich donors kicked back their tax savings to GOP campaigns.
For the other side of the Senate race, I forward you to a great rundown this week by Isthmus’s Dylan Brogan about Tammy Baldwin’s campaign, and the state of the Senate race (mostly) from the Dems’ side.
Brogan’s article includes this analysis from Karin Johanson, who was Baldwin’s campaign manager when Tammy was elected to the Senate in 2012, who notes that attacks from the GOP and their dark money puppetmasters don’t match the reality people see.
“Kevin Nicholson says she’s an embarrassment. Leah Vukmir said a bunch of crazy stuff that’s totally untrue. Tammy would never say anything like that about anyone,” adds Johanson. “She goes about her business. She disagrees on policy and makes that clear. I think personality will stand her in good stead in this race.”And that’s the difference between GOP primary world and the other 80% of us. “Does it ring true?", is a question that needs to be answered.
Right after the 2012 August primary, Baldwin launched a series of ads that highlighted Thompson’s career as a lobbyist after his tenure as governor. The catch lines on a few ads were “Tommy Thompson: he’s not for you, anymore.”
The ads came right after an exhausting primary that Thompson was not expecting and he was unable to counter Baldwin’s message. Johanson says the ads also rang true.
“After the primary, we went ahead in the polls. Much faster than we expected. But then we held it,” says Johanson. “They can try to make her into a caricature but it just doesn’t work. Her response is all the things she’s done for the state of Wisconsin. That’s what we did in 2012. I know that’s what she’s doing now.”
Because in GOPland, you can make empty slogans and claims and not have to back them up or answer for your actions. Leah Vukmir can call herself a “small-government conservative” while voting for corporate welfare like Foxconn and every ALEC bill that pre-empts a local government’s desire to set their own standards. Kevin Nicholson owes his political existence to his ability to suck up to an Illinois billionaire, and still tells GOP voters that he’s a “non-establishment” candidate that will help Donald Trump “Drain the Swamp”.
But outside of that Bubble, actions and reality still (somewhat) matter, and it likely explains why Baldwin continues to hold a sizable margin over whoever might emerge from the GOP Senate primary. And if Dems are smart this Fall, they’ll copy the “Drain the Swamp” themes Club for Growth and Dick You-Lyin' are trying to sell to casual and unaffiliated voters, and tell the voters the FACT that GOPs and their corporate puppetmasters in DC and in Madison are the self-dealing Swamp those voters despise.
If they do, they stand to win a whole lot of voters who were tricked into Trump in 2016, and they can also clean up downticket by linking it to the crookedness that has permeated all aspects of GOP-controlled state government in the 2010s. There's already a great visual for the Dems to use for that theme from now until November, should Vukmir slip through in the primary.