Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Change of Course!

By Jeff Simpson

For those paying attention(which was not many of you) there were two elections yesterday.   Its OK, if you did not know, as most of the state,  most of the people in the districts, that held these elections did not know.

Rodriguez, outreach coordinator for Hispanics for School Choice, received 4,546 votes, and Coppola, a United Way fundraiser and former member of Milwaukee's Social Development Commission, received 3,520, according to preliminary results.

 Ken Slezak - (D) - 1,677 votes - 24 percent
Bob Kulp - (R) - 4,697 votes - 67 percent
Tim Swiggum - (I) - 607 votes - 9 percent

A complete drubbing in two seats.   One to replace probably the person who almost pulled off arguably the dirtiest deal ever in Wisconsin Politics( United Sportsmen Fiasco).   The other to replace iron mine Honadel with someone who was basically running as an employee of convicted felon and known judge shopper Scott Jensen's.

In our center left state, which has a proud history of progressivism, the Democratic party lost yet another election handily.   Is it because the Democratic message is not accepted?  of course not.  If the republican message was one that the people wanted to hear, then they would not spend their time suppressing the vote and gerrymandering districts.   They get that their hold on power is fleeting, and have rigged the system to delay that as long as possible.

We can either whine about the system being rigged or do things to change it.

I recomnend unrigging the system.

Here are some recommendations, would love to hear yours:

*Consistent Message!

Can anyone tell me the message that the Democratic Party and all of the elected officials stand for?   Is there a line in the sand, written with sharpie,  anywhere that has 100% support from the collective of the dems?   I am not talking about the party platform, because no electeds follow that anyway and most people could not tell you what it said anyway.   I am talking something even the most apathetic person in Wisconsin would answer when asked what the Democratic party stands for.   

Not only do we not stand for anything, we have a Gubernatorial candidate who pledges to not stand for anything. 

* Keep Up With Technology:

Secondly, the DPW website is incredibly outdated.  You go to it and you see a picture of SCOTT WALKER(who is not a democrat fyi).   You had to search for unformation about Ms Coppola or Mr. Slezak.  I know you can not focus on individuals usually, but when there are only two races you sure as hell can.  

I would have had a split screen for the last week, with Ms. Coppola's picture and Mr. Slezak's picture each getting half.   Then allowed the visitor to click though and get more information about each of them.   I would also have sent a camera crew out with them and captured them out and meeting citizens and voters.   Then I would have emailed the videos to the Dem list and the candidates list. 

*  Use Your Resources:

I would have used the Democrat's email list to send out an email on Tuesday morning, stating something like this. 

Today is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address:

Executive Mansion,
Washington, , 186 .
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal"
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedica-ted to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
 The great Abraham Lincoln knew that we could not long endure a "civil war" and we have seen the effects of that first hand here in WI.   The party that is in control has made a conscious decision to use divide and conquer to govern our great state.  

It is time to put the people of Wisconsin first.   Today we have two great candidates who are running that can help put us there.  Elizabeth Coppola and Kenneth Slezak.  Please go out and vote today and if you do not live in these districts but know one person who does, call them for us!   .................

*   Turnout: 

 How many people in each of these districts signed the recall?   One of the keys to winning is not only a great candidate but TURNOUT.   A few things we know for certain about people who signed the recall petitions:

-  At one point in their life they were motivated to care about politics.
-  They probably agree with us more than they disagree.  

*   Media Stunts: 

We know that the right leaning media will never cover an issue the way it should be covered to get the facts out.  I mean now they are saying that Paul Ryan wants to fight poverty(seriously).   We can not count on the press to cover issues the way so we need to do things that draws media coverage. 

Some of the freshmen legislators get it, they took the food stamp challenge so they know a taste of what its like to live that way.   

Three community leaders in Madison recently went undercover for three days as homeless men to see the plight of the homeless first hand.    How a grocery store owner gets it and a politician does not is beyond me but let's take a look at the story and something I found very interesting:

Using eye glasses equipped with hidden cameras, the men recorded their experiences and plan to release a video blog next week. It’s clear that there is interest. A Facebook post Monday by Johnson about their experiences registered more than 40,000 "likes" in less than 24 hours. Johnson said he has been contacted by scores of local officials, media outlets and individuals.
40,000 "likes" in less than a day.   People are desperate for real news, unfortunately it takes stunts to bring it to them. 

I propose that the Democratic party coordinate a week, where every elected official(and candidate) spends one full day in a school in their district.  See what is happening first hand, the good and the bad.   Then do the same as these three - video blogs, written blogs, special contributor op-eds in their local papers.     Really get the word out what is happening in their own schools and why we need to support them. 

A stunt for sure but imagine if they did something where every elected official came back with a story and got 40,000 "likes".  That puts them over 2,000,000 chances to get their message out!    Plus they might even learn some things they did not know to begin with! 


the Democratic party needs to tell stories when they speak.   They never do.   In the Coppola race for example, get together with the local school districts teachrs and find out the mess that ACT10 has caused them.  It has caused a mess for everyone, I am certain it has caused one for the school districts in the 21st also. 

The problem with the mess and problems is we can not afford a PR department.  We need the Democratic party to do that for us the way the Republican party is for the voucher movement.   Most people have no idea the chilling effect that ACT 10 has had on their schools. 

When you knock at a door then you have a story.   When they say they like the way things are going, they support vouchers, et al...  You are ready to tell them what is happening at their local school.

"Well I respect that you feel that way, but were you aware that class sizes have increased the last three years from _____  to ___ and your school district has had to cut ___________  from the budget and we have lost __________  teachers. 

*   Stop the madness!

We have two very important races going on and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is putting out a billboard promoting Scott Walker's book?!?!?!  Seriously?   Who the hell makes that call?

 Scott Walker: Intimidated by the Truth

How about using that money for a billboard in the 69th about Scott Suder, the republican party and United Sportsmen?

 Or maybe head to the 21st with this billboard 

With this headline 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Students in Milwaukee's school choice program performed worse than or about the same as students in Milwaukee Public Schools

Or maybe this bill board:

"The legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth."  Aristotle 
You get the idea:
* Competition!
We need to make sure there is a legit candidate running in every single race in the state.   This story is unacceptable

If Slezak hadn’t decided to run mere days before the deadline to file paperwork with the Government Accountability Board, there might have been no Democrat in the race. Slezak said he chose to run when it became apparent no other Democrat in the district was going to.
Contrast that with Kulp, who had created a campaign Facebook page the weekend before Suder even officially announced he was leaving the Assembly. Kulp also received the support of top Assembly Republicans, and Walker spoke in support of Kulp at a Marshfield fundraiser last week that drew hundreds of supporters.
We can not be unprepared in any district.

*  Leadership.  

If we are not willing to change course and change it soon we have no chance of winning next year.  We  can not be satisfied with just winning the dem safe seats and maybe winning a senate seat.   We need to do better.

If our current leadership is not up to changing their ways then we need new leadership.  Time is of the essence!

There are thousands of people who spent countless hours in the state collecting recall signatures, who are also not part of the party.   We need to figure out a way to reach them and get them more active.   We need to figure out a way to be much more successful at community and minority outreach!  

Another suggestion here, would be instead of holding focus groups with party activists, hold them with people who do not vote and figure out how we can reach them in the general elections.

It is time to be bold, change our ways and win elections!  

More ideas here and here 


  1. I live in the 69 th district and its unbelievable, we just elected someone with an 8 th grade education to represent us!

  2. I live just outside of the 69th district, and here are my observations of the entire debacle.

    Within 2 days of Scott Suder announcing he was giving up his seat, Bob Kulp had a website, signs, and a decorated truck to start. Now, living in Marshfield, and knowing how small the town is that Mr. Kulp is from, I can tell you, with almost complete certainty, that those signs were printed up prior to Scott Suder's announcement.

    Kulp had multi-colored signs, big and vibrant. He had tea party money coming in because he was a member of the Wausau Tea Party. He had endorsements from Reid Ribble, and Scott Walker even paid a visit.

    I don't recall hearing or seeing any democrats or independents show up to support Slezak or Swiggum. I truly believe though, that the gerrymandering certainly played a role, but what really played a bigger role was the money, and the totally organized campaign that had to have had a good heads up about Suder's job.

    I had asked Mr. Kulp a few months back his opinion on the whole Suder fiasco, and I never received the opinion. It will be interesting to see if his Menonnite upbringing causes him trouble when asked to uphold Walker's plans.

  3. Fire Mike Tate have primaries for every election and have open platform conventions encouraging all to contribute. That's a start.

  4. Coppola was a good candidate, in public she was bright and engaging. There was nothing wrong with her messaging. She was running - for the first time - in a district that leans Republican by at least 4 points. Not insurmountable, but not insignificant either. In off-year elections, turn-out is low and that favors the GOP.

    It would be nice to think there is some magical formula of message and visibility that means Dems would never lose again - it just isn't true.

    Money? Well, how much should the DPW pour into an assembly race they are more likely to lose than win? I gave Coppola money, did you?

    People in Franklin and South Milwaukee (and perhaps across the state) don't care about Act 10. They may not love it, but mostly they don't care. They are sick of unions, they are sick of talking about unions and it's a losing message. People who think elections can be won by endlessly dredging up Act 10 are kidding themselves.

    If you want a message that actually resonates with the majority of voters, it isn't Act 10.

    1. But they do care about their public schools going down the drain, and having their property taxes go up due to vouchers. Let's face it, there's no good reason to live in Franklin or Oak Creek if the schools go downhill.

      And tying all WisGOP candidates to "divide and conquer" should happen at every turn. People can't stand the GOP because of their arrogance and power-grabbing, and leggie Dems should all say "We won't let this continue."

      Coppola in particular could/ should win in a general election by the time Nov 2014 rolls around if the Dems come strong with this message

  5. I actually did give money to Coppola. So Yes!

    I dont want people to talk about ACT10...i want people to talk about the real life effects of what happened because of ACT10. they are not pretty

  6. In other words, Jeff, that's enough about me -- now, what do you think of me?

  7. " Turnout:

    How many people in each of these districts signed the recall? One of the keys to winning is not only a great candidate but TURNOUT."

    Jeff, are you actually trying to assert that Democrats didn't turn out their voters in the 21st District? I'd like to know if that's what you believe.

    1. Well Zach you tell me. In the 2012 elections, the dem candidate got about 12000 votes, Coppola received about 3500.

  8. Blaska asks -- now, what do you think of me?

    I think you suffer from small wiener syndrome.

  9. You said it, Leadership. I agree with Anon 11/20 at 2:11pm - fire Mike Tate. He is a failure. DPW problems will continue to fester and grow as long as he remains at the helm.

  10. I see the tweet a lot but have not seen the @WisDems tweet similar reminders. Also I have had two groups of Republicans -3 weeks apart--knock on the door and ask if I was registered in my area. Just saying.

    Wisconsin GOP ‏@wisgop 18s

    If you support @ScottKWalker & Republicans, pledge your vote and get your friends to register at ! #ForwardWI