Monday, May 6, 2019

Wisconsin Loses Again

By Jeff Simpson 

A Wisconsin 2020 election preview just played out in the spring election season here and it is not a good thing for the people of Wisconsin. 

In almost a slam dunk race, the Democrats grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory in one of the most important (and winnable)  State Supreme Court Elections there has been.   Far right extremist, and Scott Walker crony,  barely defeated Judge Lisa Neubauer.   

Hagedorn, became famous for his 1820's anti gay views, so much so, that many traditional funders/bosses of the Republican party, distanced themselves from him.  The WISGOP however felt that his hatred of anyone gay was a feather in his hat and took over the funding and the campaign.   

As Steve Elbow from the CapTimes puts it:

Polling by a group backing Hagedorn showed him trailing badly as he headed into the final week of the campaign.
Yet on Election Day, he edged out Neubauer by nearly 6,000 votes, thanks, some say, to a $1.3 million effort by Republican operatives in the closing days of the campaign.
The initiative by the Republican State Leadership Committee targeted conservative voters who didn’t vote in the spring election last year when liberal candidate Rebecca Dallet won a spot on the Supreme Court. The group estimated that it mobilized 160,000 voters with a multi-media campaign that painted Neubauer as a radical liberal, linked attacks on Hagedorn with last fall’s contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearing and tapped into support for President Donald Trump.
Yes Hagedorn was behind the last week, rightly so, and ended up winning.   Now we have a far right, Hyper partisan,  Supreme Court for a few more years at least. 

Where did we go wrong?   There are many reasons, let's check out a few.

We already pointed out, that Neubauer, paid almost a million dollars in consulting fees.

While we can blame the WISDEMS, and they definitely should shoulder their fair share of the blame but as always, they had help.    As s typical the candidates hired consulting groups:  Nation Consulting,Scott Spector Strategies(Moonlighting from Tammy Baldwin's office). G Strategies,  Spiros ConsultingAL Media and 50+1. 
This is all to the tune of $893,656.60 in the last filing period alone.  
Almost a million dollars in Consulting fees, to end up losing to a homophobic bigot that his own biggest donors would not touch.  
Then there is the case of her campaign manager being not ready for Prime time:

Asked if Neubauer intentionally placed a firewall between herself and the party, campaign manager Tyler Hendricks said: “Yes.”
“We ran a fair, impartial and independent campaign,” he said in a response through the Neubauer campaign’s Facebook page. “Over $100k changed hands between our opponent and the WisGOP in the final days of the campaign, raising serious questions as to his claims of impartiality.”
One of the dumbest statements you will ever read.   Of course Hagedorn is not impartial.  Anyone who paid even remote attention, knows that the candidates who the Republican party runs, are chosen because they are not the least bit impartial.   They know exactly how they will vote and rule n 99% of their cases which is why they were chosen.  To pretend otherwise is naive. 

Neubauer, wanted to distance herself from the Democratic Party.  Yet what voters want is authenticity.  Neubauers resume made it impossible to distance herself. 

There’s no question that Neubauer is a Democrat. She and her husband, Jeffrey, a former state Democratic Party chair, have shelled out more than $100,000 for liberal causes and candidates over the years. She was appointed by a Democratic governor. Her daughter, Greta, is a Democratic state legislator and her husband is a former one. She’s worked for Democrats and she’s campaigned for them.
Yet in her recent bid for the Supreme Court, she sought to brush those Democratic ties under the rug. And she urged liberal outside groups supporting her to stay out.
Of course the "Liberal" groups did not listen, they stayed in and helped tip the scales. 

Zepecki conceded it was a game well-played.
“They’ve got a story to tell because they took a flyer on this race and it worked,” Zepecki said. “They didn’t spend $1 million-plus knowing that they were going to be able to turn out 160,000 conservative voters. But they thought it was worth trying. Sometimes the narrow path to victory pans out. That’s what happened here.”
He said the multi-media approach kept the campaign under the radar. No one knows, he said, what lands in people’s mailboxes or what texts they get on their phones. When the television ad appeared, it was too late to do anything about it.
“We all sort of missed it,” he said. “Most folks were looking at the TV spend and the disproportionate levels of spending there going, ‘Oh this thing’s probably over in the other direction.’ And it turned out there was a whole other campaign happening.”

A million plus dollars on consultants paid for by the campaign, and who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to consultants outside of the campaign and "We all sorta missed it".

Good work if you can get it.   Being paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to get your ass kicked and then come back the next election to charge as much and lose again. 

Lather, rinse, repeat. 

As long as  we continue our downward spiral in continually hiring the same consultants to do the same work, we will continue to be the state that used to be Progressive.   

If by some chance, we decide to cleanse our politics of political lifers, whose main goal is to cash a check, then we can get back to the people powered, grass roots efforts that made us a blue state for years.   

I, for one, am not optimistic. 

One last thing, the devil is always in the details.    Everyone knows that the DNC Convention will be coming to Milwaukee in 2020, but everyone might not know that the Registered agent of the Milwaukee 2020 committee is Thad Nation of Nation Consulting.   

Something to keep in mind when you decide if you want to volunteer to do the hard jobs there, while Nation Consulting fills their coffers.   


  1. I saw zero Neubauer signs in the Madison area. A friend said she may have seen one. Kids don't do field work anymore.
    In Fitchburg, dist one, which votes 90-plus Democratic in high turn-out races, the turn-outs was 20-something.
    Votes are there, if Democratize Party pulls its collective head out.

  2. I saw a decent amount of Neubauer signs in Madison, but it was definitely a failure of leadership and messaging. To get caught flat-footed like that is unacceptable, and anyone who ever tells a court candidate to "run on qualifications and give no value statements" should be FIRED IMMEDIATELY.

    The inability to speak about values for so many WisDems infuriates me. But that's because the consultant class never got into politics to make a difference - they just want a check and the connections to power.

    Those no-talents have to go. I think me, you and MAL could get a lot more votes for Dem candidates than Thad Nation could.