Tag: conservative

About that poll showing a Hillary/Bernie tie in Nevada…

Yesterday, a poll was released showing Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a 45-45 tie in Nevada, with the Nevada Democratic caucuses one week from today.

However, here’s a few caveats about the poll:

  • The poll was conducted for The Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing website.
  • The poll was conducted by TargetPoint Consulting, a consulting/polling firm that I’ve never heard of before.
  • Nevada holds caucuses for major-party presidential nominations, which are extremely difficult to poll accurately.

Those points, in and of themselves, makes the poll immediately suspect in my eyes (remember, I’m a Bernie supporter). However, there’s been extremely little polling of Nevada on the Democratic side, so this is one of the few polls that we can go by to get a general idea as to the state of the Democratic race in Nevada.

I’m not all that familiar with the Nevada Democratic caucus electorate, but, looking at the crosstabs of the poll, a few of them stood out to me:

  • The percentage of respondents aged 45-64 (32%) was the same as the percentage of respondents aged 65 or older (32%). In most parts of the country, the 45-64 age demographic is the largest voting bloc by a statistically significant margin.
  • A majority of poll respondents (55%) had never participated in a prior Democratic caucus in Nevada. This is extremely high for any part of the country, although there were a lot more new voters who registered in Nevada in 2015 than in 2007, the year before the last seriously-contested Democratic presidential nomination race.
  • For the questions about which candidate cares about the poll respondent more and which candidate is more progressive, the exact same result was reached: 36% Hillary, 49% Bernie, and 15% “both equal”.
  • Three questions (Clinton Foundation donations, 2008 bank bailout vote, and FBI investigation) were asked that were negative of Hillary, and two questions (tax increases and government spending increases) were asked that were negative of Bernie. Of those questions, neither of the two Bernie questions made a majority of poll respondents less likely to support him, whereas two of the three Hillary questions (Clinton Foundation donations and 2008 bank bailout vote) made a majority of poll respondents less likely to support her (the other question, regarding the FBI investigation, had a majority of respondents say that they were “not at all concerned” about it)
  • Only 4% of the poll respondents said that they were members of the Culinary Workers Union (simply known as “the Culinary” in Nevada parlance), the largest group of organized workers in Nevada. If I were to guess, the Culinary compromises a much larger percentage of the Nevada Democratic caucus electorate.
  • 66% of the poll respondents live in Clark County (Las Vegas area), compared to 18% who live in Washoe County (Reno/Sparks area), with 16% living in the rest of the state (listed as “Rural” in the poll). Nevada has one of the most uneven population distributions of any state. Clark County has, per the 2010 Census, nearly 69% of Nevada’s population, and Clark County is more Democratic than Nevada as a whole is, so Clark County appears to have actually been undersampled in the poll.

I’m a staunch Bernie supporter, but I don’t think that these poll numbers are accurate, and I would guess that Hillary is actually ahead in Nevada by 4 to 7 percentage points.

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“Democrat” who is completely opposed to Social Security receives two votes in midnight New Hampshire voting

While the New Hampshire polls don’t officially close until 7 P.M. EST/6 P.M. CST, three precincts in the northern part of New Hampshire voted at midnight EST, are closed, and have reported results. In those three precincts, a very unusual candidate has received two votes (7.14%) out of a total of 28 cast and counted so far in the Democratic presidential primary:

“Stewart” is Mark Stewart Greenstein, a minor candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination who holds very right-wing views on many political issues.

Just to give you one example of how right-wing of a “Democrat” Greenstein is, he’s completely opposed to the existence of Social Security. This is in sharp contrast with both major Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who both support expanding Social Security, a program that has benefited millions of Americans since being created as part of the New Deal in the 1930’s. Additionally, Greenstein has, according to at least one report, attended campaign events for Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

Regarding potential explanations as to how someone like Greenstein managed to receive two votes in a Democratic primary in New Hampshire, it’s likely not an issue regarding two voters mistakenly marking the box adjacent to the name of the candidate immediately above or below the name of the candidate they actually wanted to vote for. That’s because there are three names between Greenstein and that of Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders’s name is the ninth candidate listed on Democratic primary ballots. The Democratic ballot that I’m citing as my source is an absentee ballot that was issued in Marlborough, New Hampshire, and candidate order on ballots may vary from one precinct to another, but I’m not sure of that.

The thought of someone like Greenstein possibly receiving delegates to the Democratic National Convention is absolutely frightening.

Bundy Family and militia takes over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, CNN isn’t reporting about it online

Ammon Bundy, the son of far-right anti-government crackpot Cliven Bundy, two of Ammon’s brothers, and far-right militiamen have taken over the administration building of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.

As of 9:30 P.M. PST/11:30 P.M. CST, CNN.com, CNN’s website, has reported absolutely nothing about the right-wing militia taking over the Malheur NWR headquarters. There’s nothing on the front page about the takeover, and there’s nothing on the U.S. page about the takeover. In fact, the Wikipedia page on Malheur NWR was edited at 1:57 A.M. GMT/5:57 P.M. PST/7:57 CST to include a one-sentence reference to the Bundy/militia takeover.

This story is clearly of national importance, because right-wing terrorists and members of the Bundy family of right-wing extremists have responded to the legitimate conviction of two Oregon ranchers who set fire to federal land set aside for the protection of wildlife, not for ranching, by an armed takeover of the Malheur NWR headquarters.

Furthermore, some corporate media outlets are trying to claim that the Bundy/militia occupiers are non-violent protesters, when, in fact, Ammon Bundy has openly called for militia members to join the occupation and bring weapons with them. This is clearly not a non-violent protest, although I’ve heard no reports of shots fired or any other acts of violence at this time.

CNN has become an absolute joke of a news organization, and most other corporate media outlets are not much better.

Anti-abortion politicians and activists are fueling right-wing domestic terrorism in America

Republican politicians and right-wing political activists have, by constantly railing against the idea that women should be able to control their own bodies and releasing heavily-edited videos as part of a political smear campaign, have encouraged terrorist attacks against the reproductive health care provider Planned Parenthood, two of which have occurred within the last month and a half.

The recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that has received the most media attention was the recent shooting and siege of the Colorado Springs, Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, in which perpetrator Robert Lewis Dear killed three people, Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart, and Garrett Swasey, and wounded several others before surrendering to police.

However, another recent terror attack against Planned Parenthood that hasn’t gotten anywhere near as much media attention was an attack that occurred a little more than a month ago. That attack involved a hatchet attack at the Claremont, New Hampshire Planned Parenthood clinic, and the attack resulted in extensive property damage to the clinic, as well as water damage to an adjacent business:

A minor was arrested early on Wednesday after allegedly vandalizing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

“Today’s damage was particularly extensive including the use of a hatchet to destroy computers, furniture, plumbing fixtures, office equipment, medical equipment, phone lines, windows and walls,” Police Chief Alexander Scott said in a statement.

Officers spotted the suspect while checking the building. Scott added that the suspect also defaced the office’s walls with spray paint, and that his actions also caused flooding that affected a business adjacent to the office. As a result, the clinic was closed as of Wednesday afternoon.

By my definition of terrorism, any act intended to kill, maim, injure, and/or stoke fear in a large group of people in the name of a political ideology is an act of terrorism.

In the same way that ISIS is inspiring Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who aren’t officially affiliated with ISIS to carry out “lone wolf”-style terrorist attacks, Republican elected officials and presidential candidates are inspiring anti-abortion terrorists to carry out “lone wolf”-style attacks at women’s health clinics right here in America. In fact, it’s not proper to call these types of terrorists “lone wolves”, as some in the media have described the Colorado Springs terrorist. I prefer to use the term “stoked wolves” to describe terrorists who don’t have any known affiliation with a terrorist group or other entity, but are inspired by a terrorist group or other entity to carry out a terrorist attack.

 

Right-wing extremist Kyle McCarter to run in GOP primary against Republican Congressman John Shimkus

Republican Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Vandalia) intends to run against incumbent U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) in the Republican primary in the 15th Congressional District of Illinois.

As a Democrat who lives in the 15th District, I think that Shimkus and McCarter are two absolutely awful right-wing politicians.

Shimkus has been a loyalist to John Boehner, and big-money special interests as a Member of Congress. Furthermore, Shimkus ran his first congressional campaign on a pro-term limits platform, but has now become the ultimate D.C. insider, with Shimkus running for an 11th two-year term in Congress. As a Member of Congress, Shimkus has built up an extremely conservative voting record that reflects the interests of big businesses and bible-thumping zealots, not the interests of the people of the 15th District.

McCarter would be an even worse Member of Congress than Shimkus is. As a state senator, McCarter was one of the most vocal opponents of marriage equality, even going as far as to try to repeal the Illinois marriage equality law. While Shimkus is very conservative on social issues in his own right, McCarter is even more of a Religious Right nutjob than Shimkus is.

If you want proof that the Republican Party is in complete disarray, look no further than the Republican Party in my home congressional district.

ENDORSEMENT: JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court

Early next year, there will be an election to determine who will be elected to the seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court that was held by Justice Patrick Crooks prior to his death earlier this month. I whole-heartedly endorse JoAnne Kloppenburg, a Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge, for the seat.

Since this seat is vacant, but up for election early next year, Republican Governor Scott Walker will appoint someone to the seat, and that individual will serve the remainder of Crooks’s term. Next year’s election is for a full ten-year term, and I am endorsing Kloppenburg for the election to a full ten-year term. I would encourage Walker to appoint Former Wisconsin State Representative Kelda Roys to the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, but Walker isn’t going to appoint her or anyone else who is not a full-blown right-wing ideologue.

Prior to becoming an appellate court judge, Kloppenburg served as a Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General under both Democratic (Peg Lautenschlager) and Republican (J.B. Van Hollen) state attorneys general, and she now serves as a state appellate court judge in Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV, which covers 24 counties (map here) in the south-central, southwestern, and central parts of Wisconsin. If elected to Wisconsin’s highest bench, she’ll be an impartial interpreter of Wisconsin’s constitution and laws, not a judicial activist of any kind.

Walker will most likely appoint Rebecca Bradley, a Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge from the Milwaukee area, to the vacant seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Bradley was running for the seat prior to Crooks’s death and is still running for the seat. Bradley has earned a reputation as a far-right judicial activist. Bradley was once the president of the Milwaukee chapter of the Federalist Society, an organization of far-right judicial activists who believe in using the courts to implement a far-right political agenda that would cost America millions of jobs and undermine the civil liberties of the American people. Furthermore, Bradley is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA), an organization that, among other things, supports voter suppression schemes designed to keep people from exercising their right to vote.

The third candidate in next year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court race is Joe Donald, a Milwaukee County circuit court judge, who, if elected to Wisconsin’s highest bench, would become the first elected black justice, and second black justice overall, on Wisconsin’s highest bench. While Donald has endorsements from some progressives, most notably Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone, he’s accepted campaign cash from Peter Barca, the Wisconsin State Assembly Democratic Leader who supported Scott Walker’s corporate welfare giveaway to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Judges should be as independent as possible from state legislators and other elected officials, not accepting campaign cash from them.

If you’re a Wisconsinite who wants an actual justice who will interpret Wisconsin’s constitution and laws in a non-partisan manner, then vote for JoAnne Kloppenburg next spring! The non-partisan primary, provided that at least three candidates make the ballot (three candidates are currently campaigning for the seat), will be held in February of 2016, and the general election will be held in April of 2016.

How taxpayers effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting

You might be shocked to find out about this, but taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which was perpetrated by 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof and claimed the lives of nine people, including Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney (D-Ridgeland).

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit investigative news organization, detailed how taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass murder at Mother Emanuel in their report:

Alleged Charleston gunman Dylann Roof wrote that he was never the same after discovering a website with “pages upon pages of these brutal black on white murders.”

The pages that left Roof in disbelief were the product of a white-nationalist group subsidized by American taxpayers.

The Council of Conservative Citizens Inc. is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, also known as a 501(c)(4). Such groups pay no federal taxes, a form of government subsidy.

To summarize all of that, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist organization, incorporated as a nonprofit “social welfare” organization, legally exempted itself from federal taxation, and published racist screeds on its website that prompted Roof to perpetrate a mass murder in a place of worship. In other words, the federal government effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting by exempting the CCC from federal taxes.

The CCC may legally be a “social welfare” organization, but, in reality, they are not a social welfare organization. The CCC is a white supremacist organization that, among other things, publicly supports far-right, anti-immigration politicians and political parties, glorifies black-on-white violent crimes, absurdly blames Chicago’s high murder rate on a misperceived lack of guns in the city, and has posted ads from at least one company selling Confederate flags online to its website. Furthermore, the CCC’s president, Earl P. Holt, has donated to many Republican politicians, including, among many others, Joni Ernst, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Jim Oberweis, Louie Gohmert, Todd Akin, Tom Emmer, Allen West, and Steve King; in fact, in some campaign finance reports, Holt listed himself as a “slumlord”. For the federal government to effectively subsidize such a hateful organization is, in my opinion, absolutely disgusting.

Scott Walker compares women working and earning a salary to welfare

AUTHOR’S NOTE: While the blog post references the Republicans’ misleading attacks against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over the salaries that her U.S. Senate staffers made, the author of the blog post is a Bernie Sanders supporter, and both Hillary and Bernie support equal pay for equal work.

Republican Wisconsin Governor and likely presidential candidate Scott Walker has, once again, made downright offensive remarks about women. This time, he went onto a right-wing talk radio show hosted by Adriana Cohen and effectively claimed that giving women equal pay takes away from men and compared women working and earning a salary to collecting welfare benefits:

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has gone on the offensive against women again, despite the backlash against his previous ugly remarks about rape victims seeking abortion. As reported by Right Wing Watch, Boston Herald Radio host Adriana Cohen asked him about the issue of equal pay for women, using largely discredited numbers to accuse Hillary Clinton as a hypocrite who pays her staff unequally. Walker could have scored the easy point on hypocrisy and left it at that. Instead he doubled down on why he finds it so offensive to be for equal pay in the first place.

“But I think even a bigger issue than that,” he said, “and this is sadly something that would make her consistent with the president, and that is I believe that the president and now Hillary Clinton tend to think that politically they do better if they pit one group of Americans versus another.”

Walker added that Democrats’ “measure of success in government is how many people are dependent on the government, how many people are dependent, on whether it’s Medicaid or food stamps or health care or other things out there.”

If you’re willing to listen to Scott Walker, you can listen to Walker’s remarks here. You can also view the Right Wing Watch piece that Slate columnist Amanda Marcotte referenced here.

Women earning a salary equal to their male co-workers for the same type of work is not a form of welfare or being dependent on the government; it’s being treated fairly. Full-time working women earn 77 cents for every dollar that a full-time working man makes in this country. Furthermore, working women earning the same amount of pay as working men helps men, especially married men in households where their wives work at a job that pays a salary or wage, because equal pay for women means a higher household income, and, therefore, more money for entire families to spend on goods and services.

To me, it sounds like Scott Walker apparently believes that women shouldn’t earn a salary for their participation in the workforce, and he also apparently believes that women earning more pay somehow threatens men. The former is absolutely absurd, and the latter is absolutely false.

JoAnn Kloppenburg is running for Wisconsin Supreme Court once again

You may remember Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge JoAnn Kloppenburg, then a Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General, from the contentious 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court race, where she narrowly lost to conservative incumbent David “The Choker” Prosser by a few thousand votes in a race that featured an infamous vote-counting snafu in Waukesha County, the most populous right-wing stronghold in Wisconsin.

Well, she’s back! Kloppenburg is making another run for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This time, she’s running for the seat currently held by incumbent justice Patrick Crooks, who is the lone moderate on Wisconsin’s highest bench. Here’s her campaign announcement video.

There are going to be three main differences between Kloppenburg’s 2011 campaign and her 2016 campaign:

  • In 2011, Kloppenburg ran against David Prosser, an ultra-conservative state supreme court justice who is a controversial figure in Wisconsin politics. This time, she’s running for the seat currently held by Patrick Crooks, who, while technically a Republican, has generally sided against the conservative majority on the constitutional crisis involving the Wisconsin Constitution amendment that gives the justices on Wisconsin’s highest bench to power to vote for one of their own to be chief justice. The amendment is currently subject to an ongoing lawsuit involving a dispute over when the amendment is supposed to go into effect. It’s not clear as to whether or not Crooks will run for re-election at this time, and Crooks’s campaign has not commented on Kloppenburg entering the race that I’m aware of.
  • In 2011, due to the union-busting Act 10 having been enacted not too long before the supreme court race that year, there was far higher turnout than what would normally be seen for a state supreme court race in Wisconsin. This year, turnout is probably going to be either at the level of what would be expected for a supreme court race in Wisconsin (typically about one-third of that of a midterm election in Wisconsin) or somewhat higher, depending on whether or not one or both major parties has a serious nomination contest for president ongoing by April of next year. I’m guessing that the 2016 presidential primaries in Wisconsin will be held in April, although the Republicans who control Wisconsin’s state government may move the primaries up to February to try to give Scott Walker a better chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination, but there’s nothing confirmed about that at this time.
  • Kloppenburg’s potential opponents include incumbent justice Patrick Crooks, Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge Joe Donald, Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge Rebecca Bradley, and Former Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. I know very little about Donald, other than the fact that he was originally appointed to the Milwaukee County bench by Former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, and the fact he’s been praised by Ed Fallone, the Marquette University professor who ran for state supreme court in 2013 on a progressive message and platform (losing to conservative incumbent Pat Roggensack, who is now the acting chief justice of the court pending the lawsuit regarding the chief justice amendment that I explained above). Van Hollen and Bradley are right-wing judicial activists, especially Bradley, who has known ties to far-right judicial activist groups like the Federalist Society and has donated money to Scott Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns. Donald is all but certain to run; I’m not sure if Van Hollen and/or Bradley are interested in running or not.

I am not endorsing a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court at this time, but I may do so at some point before the spring 2016 elections in Wisconsin.

My final thoughts about the race for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Convention

Just a couple of days before the opening of the 2015 Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) convention in Milwaukee, I’ll share my final thoughts about the race, which, despite the fact I live in Illinois, I’ve actually had a major role in.

First off, I’m going to raise an issue with the scheduled convention speeches. Tim Kaine, a former DNC chairman who absolutely failed at that job and later got elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker of the DPW convention. This is despite the fact that Kaine represents Virginia, not Wisconsin, in the U.S. Senate. The DPW apparently can’t find a Wisconsinite to give the keynote speech at their own convention, despite the fact that Democratic statewide candidates in Wisconsin regularly get more than a million votes nowadays! While I’m an Illinoisan, I believe that state-level Democratic Party organizations should pick someone who is a resident of state where the convention is being held and a supporter of Democratic/progressive causes to give the keynote speech. Additionally, U.S. Representative Ron Kind and Secretary of State Doug La Follette were not listed as speakers on the list of speakers that I’ve seen. While I disagree with Kind over his support for President Obama’s free-trade deals, Kind is a Democrat and a federal elected official from Wisconsin, so he should be given a speaking slot, just like Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore, and Tammy Baldwin. Additionally, La Follette is the only state executive in Wisconsin who has been elected in a partisan race as a Democrat, so he should be given a speaking slot. Hopefully, all candidates for DPW Chair and other party offices elected by convention delegates are allowed equal speaking time before the vote for the office they are running for, and the winners are allowed to give victory speeches.

Now, I’m going to talk about all five of the candidates in the race for DPW Chair.

The candidate who I think should be the next chairperson of the DPW is Martha Laning. Laning, who is from the Town of Sheboygan in Sheboygan County, ran unsuccessfully for a Wisconsin State Senate seat last year. Prior to joining the DPW and entering electoral politics, Laning was a finance executive for Target and a key player in helping raise money to get Generations Intergenerational Center, a community center for both young and old people in Plymouth, Wisconsin, built and operating. Laning’s supporters include, but are not limited to:

  • Lori Compas, a professional photographer, the organizer of the unsuccessful, but valiant recall attempt against Republican State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and the Democratic nominee in the recall election against Fitzgerald
  • Elisa Miller, who was Compas’s assistant campaign manager during her state senate campaign
  • State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, the legendary prairie populist from Alma who unsuccessfully ran in the Democratic recall primary for governor in the 2012
  • State Senator Mark Miller, who was briefly Majority Leader of the Wisconsin State Senate for several months after the 2012 recall elections
  • Former State Representative Sandy Pasch, who was the Assistant Minority Leader in the Wisconsin State Assembly prior to her leaving electoral politics last year
  • Pierce County Supervisor Mike Kahlow
  • Mary Lang Sollinger, a Democratic fundraiser who was briefly a DPW Chair candidate before dropping out of the race
  • Kelly Westlund, the chair of the Chequamegon Democrats (the joint Democratic Party organization for Ashland and Bayfield Counties along the Lake Superior shore) and a former congressional candidate
  • Progressive blogger Chris “Capper” Liebenthal
  • Progressive blogger Zach Wisniewski

If elected, Laning has promised to make the DPW more inclusive, and she has also promised to provide more financial support to county-level Democratic organizations in Wisconsin. Laning has been the most heavily criticized candidate in the race for DPW Chair, with most of the criticism being over her ties to Target (she did not have a direct role in any anti-union efforts at Target), false allegations that she’s opposed to reproductive rights (she actually supports reproductive rights), her being relatively new to the DPW (she only joined the party a year and a half ago, and this is something I don’t have a problem with), and her infrequent voting record (not everybody was born into a civic-minded family, and 2010 was a political wake-up call for many Wisconsinites who don’t support Scott Walker’s far-right agenda).

Up until a few days ago, I was supporting Jeff Smith, a former Wisconsin State Representative from the Eau Claire area, for DPW Chair. Jeff Smith’s campaign, which had focused heavily on bringing progressive messaging to the DPW, had energized many anti-establishment progressives in Wisconsin, most notably 1998 Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Ed Garvey and Mike McCabe, the founder of the progressive group Blue Jean Nation, both of whom are staunch supporters of progressive ideals. However, I pulled my endorsement of Jeff Smith after he sent a letter to DPW delegates promising to appoint Laning to the DPW Executive Director’s post if elected, which sounded to me like an attempt by Jeff Smith to set up a political patronage system within the DPW. Also, Jeff Smith bashed Laning while offering her a job at the same time, flagrantly violating the first rule of job offering, which is don’t criticize the person you’re offering the job while offering him or her the job. Jeff Smith has since dropped out of the race and is supporting Laning.

Another candidate running for DPW Chair is Joe Wineke, who is from the Verona area in Dane County. Wineke is a known quantity to those who knew him as DPW Chair, as he had a very successful record (albeit one aided greatly by a wildly unpopular George W. Bush being in the White House at the time and two elections featuring national Democratic landslides) in the four years he was DPW Chair. Wineke has, among other people and groups, the support of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, progressive talk radio host John “Sly” Sylvester, and progressive bloggers Jud Loundsbury, Michael Leon, and Jeff Simpson. However, the last time Wineke was DPW Chair, he was also a lobbyist for AT&T, which has fought for laws making it easier for them to jack up telephone service rates in Wisconsin, other states, and at the federal level, which rightfully outraged many Wisconsin progressives.

Yet another candidate running for DPW Chair is Stephen Smith, a former Wisconsin State Representative from Washburn County in the northern part of the state. Although Stephen Smith and Jeff Smith share the same last name, I’m almost certain they’re not related, but I’m not 100% sure of that. Stephen Smith is the most obscure of the five candidates for DPW Chair, and I predict that he’ll get the least amount of votes from convention delegates.

In my opinion, the worst candidate for DPW Chair is Jason Rae, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) member from Milwaukee who also works at the Milwaukee-based consulting firm Nation Consulting. To put it mildly, Rae represents the destruction of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Rae represents a desperate attempt by former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s cronies, the DNC, and Nation Consulting to keep their death grip on the DPW, which has caused Democrats to lose a lot of offices in the six years that Mike Tate has been DPW Chair. In fact, I strongly suspect that Rae wants to use the DPW as a cash cow for Nation Consulting and other political consultants and insiders connected to him. Rae himself has a very vindictive attitude (in fact, he thinks that people shouldn’t question him or candidates that the Democratic establishment supports, which is a textbook example of a royalist mindset), and many of his supporters have used blogs and social media to attack me, other progressives, others who don’t strongly agree with Rae and/or the current Democratic leadership, and those who are running against Rae for DPW Chair, often in downright vicious ways (examples here). In fact, the attacks I’ve had to deal with from Rae’s supporters have been the nastiest attacks I’ve ever had to deal with. Rae’s supporters include, among others:

  • Jon Richards, a former Wisconsin State Pepresentative who got only one-third or so of the vote in the 2014 attorney general primary in Wisconsin (losing the primary to Susan Happ, who ran a terrible general election campaign, losing to far-right Republican Brad Schimel)
  • Tanya Lohr, the head of the DPW County Chairs Association (DPW CCA), the Washington County Democratic Party chairwoman, and a former state senate candidate
  • Sachin Chheda, a former Jim Doyle aide, former Milwaukee County Democratic Party chairman, and Nation Consulting employee
  • Marlene Ott, the Milwaukee County Democratic Party chairwoman who has tried to fill her county’s delegate slate with as many Rae supporters as possible
  • Graeme Zielinski, the disgraced former DPW communications director who has been busted for drunk driving multiple times
  • Melissa Schroeder, the current First Vice-Chairwoman of the DPW
  • Michael Basford, the Dane County Democratic Party chairman who ran Scott Resnick’s unsuccessful campaign for Mayor of Madison earlier this year (Resnick lost badly to incumbent Paul Soglin)
  • Brandon Savage, the guy who ran Chris Moews’s unsuccessful campaign against far-right gun nut David Clarke in last year’s race for Milwaukee County Sheriff and the most hateful person I’ve ever interacted with online
  • Andy Suchorski, the corresponding secretary of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party and Nation Consulting employee (although he tries to hide his role at Nation Consulting on the Milwaukee County Democratic Party website, and he tries to hide his role at the Milwaukee County Democratic Party on the Nation Consulting website).

The main problems that many Democrats and progressives who follow Wisconsin politics have with Rae is that he’s not significantly different than Mike Tate and, most importantly, he’s an employee at Nation Consulting, a firm that is led by Thad Nation, who has indirectly given tens of thousands of dollars to right-wing front groups that have opposed Democratic and progressive causes. Additionally, Rae is too closely tied to the national Democratic establishment and that he either is or was an associate director for Wired Wisconsin, a Thad Nation-led, AT&T-backed political front group that has fought to make it easier for landline telephone companies in Wisconsin to jack up the rates they charge customers. My blog post exposing the ties between Nation Consulting and right-wing groups that have opposed Democratic and progressive causes has caused Rae’s supporters to go completely nuts since I wrote that blog post, and it’s drawn the attention of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin’s largest newspaper, and the Milwaukee-area webgazine Urban Milwaukee.

While these include some ideas that none of the five candidates for DPW Chair support, here’s my own recommendations for what the next DPW chair should do:

  • Operate the party as independently of the DNC as reasonably possible
  • Run the party in as much of an inclusive manner as reasonable possible
  • Use progressive messaging on the DPW’s social media accounts, and make promoting progressive values a key part of the DPW’s operation
  • Encourage various Democratic organizations to use progressive messaging, although allow them to use their own messaging if they wish to do so
  • Provide a template for various Democratic organizations in Wisconsin to use so they can build easy-to-use websites, if they wish to use the template
  • Design a new DPW website to put progressive values, voter registration info, membership registration info, etc. on the front page, not pictures of Scott Walker
  • Allow for the creation of a DPW Progressive Caucus
  • Push for reforms to the DPW’s election process for state party officers to prevent county-level party officials from filling their delegate slates for favored individuals and allow multiple rounds of voting if one candidate doesn’t get a majority on the first ballot…if it takes amending DNC rules to do so, push for the necessary changes to the DNC rules
  • Eliminate the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (ADCC) and the State Senate Democratic Committee (SSDC), two slush funds used by Democratic state legislators in Wisconsin to funnel money to political candidates
  • Prohibit county-level Democratic organizations in Wisconsin from covering multiple counties, as is currently the case in Ashland and Bayfield Counties…One county, one county-level Democratic organization
  • End all payments by the DPW to political consultants and consulting firms, including, but not limited to, Nation Consulting
  • Fire everyone in the current DPW leadership who can be fired by the chair and hire progressive-minded people to fill positions in the DPW
  • Invest more in county-level Democratic organizations
  • Quit praising Republicans in official DPW messaging
  • Emphasize workers’ rights, marijuana legalization, restoring public education, and other progressive ideals that the DPW hasn’t been as forceful in advocating in recent years in party messaging

I also provided some suggestions for the next DPW Chair in this blog post.

Regarding who I think will win the DPW Chair’s race, I think that Jason Rae, Joe Wineke, or Martha Laning all have realistic chances of winning, and it appears to me like it’s a three-way race between the two. Unfortunately, I think Rae is a very slight favorite. However, Wineke may have more support than I think he does, and Laning may be able to win over enough undecided delegates, which there’s probably quite a few of, to win. I think that Jeff Smith will get several percent of the convention vote, and Stephen Smith will probably get around one to two percent of the convention vote. I’m predicting that the delegate count will be in the mid-to-high 1,000’s, probably around 1600-1700 total delegates voting for DPW chair and other DPW officers.

This will be my final blog post in regards to this year’s race for the leadership of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. I thank everyone who has viewed my blog and supported my work exposing the inner workings of the current DPW leadership and Nation Consulting. The DPW Convention will be held June 5 & 6 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, located at 1721 West Canal Street in Milwaukee. Given how important Wisconsin will be on a national scale in the 2016 elections, ensuring that someone other than Jason Rae is elected DPW Chair is an absolute must for Democrats to have any chance of winning Wisconsin next year. I recommend that DPW delegates vote for Martha Laning for DPW Chair.