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Have Veterans Damaged Their Future Health by Voting for Trump? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Buzz Davis, Army Veteran & Activist   
Saturday, 07 January 2017 14:00

veteranAcross the country, 61% of veterans who voted chose Trump over Clinton. But how will a Trump - Republican administration affect the VA healthcare system which 7 million vets depend on for all or part of their medical care?

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 January 2017 15:00
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WI Democracy Campaign "Betsy DeVos in Wis!" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 06 January 2017 16:29

matthew_rothschildMADISON - Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday.

We got right back into the swing of things here, posting some interesting articles for you, which I hope you’ll like.

betsy-devosOur “Influence Peddler of the Month” is none other than Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee to head up the Department of Education. You can see how she’s been trying to destroy public education in Wisconsin here:

Influence peddler of the month - Betsy DeVos

We also uncovered some news about a timber company, based in Atlanta, that’s gobbling up land in Wisconsin and throwing its weight around:

Meteor Timber's power game in Wisconsin

And I wrote a column denouncing Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow for a recent tirade they wrote about “so-called environmentalists”:

Tiffany and Jarchow’s bad defense of their pro-polluter records

As far as good news, Sen. Dave Hansen has floated a legislative proposal that would end the practice of partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin:

Dems to offer proposal for new redistricting process

I’m sure we’ll have more for you next week.

Till then, all the best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Friday, 06 January 2017 17:37
 
Blue Jean Nation "The data trap" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:47

voter-dataTo hear professional political operatives tell it, winning elections is all about data. They're wrong. There is a human dimension computers can't account for.


ALTOONA, WI - To hear professional political operatives tell it, winning elections is about nothing more or nothing less than mathematical calculations. It’s all about data and it’s algorithmic. You gather all kinds of data about voters, use that data to target those most likely to vote for your candidate, write a formula for reaching your “win target,” plug all the data into your formula, and out pops a victory.

Sounds great, all scientific and everything, until what pops out is a loss. The latest and most glaring example of data gone wrong is the 2016 presidential election. Clinton headquarters had the math all figured out. They shunned “persuasion” campaigning, meaning they didn’t want to waste time trying to win over voters their computers told them were not likely to support the Democratic nominee. They saw it purely and simply as a “base turnout” election. In other words, their data told them that if those identified as core Democratic supporters went to the polls and voted as expected, Hillary Clinton is elected president. In the places that mattered most, places like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that didn’t happen.

What they didn’t factor into their equation was Clinton’s unpopularity and her inability to persuasively communicate reasons to support her. That left her base unenthusiastic and her opponents energized.

This is not the first time voters have confounded the political mathematicians armed with all their data and their computers, nor will it be the last. In 2014, I repeatedly heard from Democratic operatives in Wisconsin that if turnout was high in the election for governor, Mary Burke would win, and if turnout was low, Scott Walker would be reelected. Voter turnout ended up being a record high for a regular election for governor in Wisconsin, and yet Walker won.

Like Team Clinton in 2016, Wisconsin Democrats concentrated on turning out their base for Burke in 2014. If their computers said you were a likely Burke voter for one reason or another, you were hounded. You got phone calls, you got emails, you got texts, you got junk mail, people knocked on your door. You got so many reminders to vote that you were ready to scream. If the Democratic algorithm didn’t have you down as a target, you were left alone. You were given no reason to think about voting for Burke. Turns out their algorithm was wrong.

There’s good reason why political algorithms are unreliable. Elections aren’t algorithmic. Politics is more art than science. How voters make decisions can’t be reduced to mathematical equations or scientific formulas. There is a human dimension computers can’t account for.

Elections are about representation. Voters are looking for someone who gets them, someone who is saying what they are feeling, someone who reflects their own thinking and will be at least somewhat likely to act accordingly. They look at candidates differently than computers do. They look at who a candidate is, where they’re from, what they stand for. They look for someone they can relate to, someone they feel a connection with.

No algorithm can be written to produce that.

— Mike McCabe

 
What it is Like to be a New State Legislator PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 15:47

wisconsinVeteran Senator Kathleen Vinehout writes about what it is like to be a newly elected legislator. Newly elected individuals sworn in as members of the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly face a daunting task preparing to make all the critical decisions that are required.

Read more...
 
Blue Jean Nation "Gators don’t drain swamps" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Monday, 02 January 2017 09:19

donald-trumpPresident-elect Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” during his campaign, but his cabinet picks represent a who's who of billionaires, conservatives, and Wall Street insiders.


ALTOONA, WI - America’s president-elect famously promised to “drain the swamp.” Surrounding himself with alligators is a curious way of going about making good on that promise. Alligators like swamps.

Donald Trump hasn’t made all of his appointments yet, but the cast of characters he’s pulled together so far has more wealth between them than the poorest one-third of American households. That’s 17 men and women who have more money than 43 million families combined.

There’s oil tycoon Rex Tillerson. Trump wants Exxon Mobil’s chief executive in charge of international diplomacy as Secretary of State.

The “king of bankruptcy” Wilbur Ross is being put in line to become Commerce secretary. If Trump gets his way, Ross’s deputy at Commerce will be Todd Ricketts, the billionaire son of the billionaire founder of the brokerage firm Ameritrade.

Linda McMahon, the billionaire co-founder of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is being tabbed to head the Small Business Administration. McMahon is Trump’s biggest single political donor, having given $7.5 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, which was more than a third of the money collected by the political action committee.

Betsy DeVos, the daughter-in-law of the founder of the home care and beauty product distributor Amway Corporation (since renamed “Quixtar”), is Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education. DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, started the shadowy soldier-for-hire company known as Blackwater. Her qualifications to oversee the nation’s schools pretty much begin and end with her family’s lavish spending to push taxpayer-funded subsidies for private and religious schools. Anyone paying careful attention to elections in Wisconsin should be familiar with DeVos’s political handiwork. Her front group known as the American Federation for Children has poured more than $5 million into Wisconsin just since 2010 to sway state legislative races and cement legislative majorities favoring privatization of education.

Then there’s Goldman Sachs.

Trump told South Carolina voters “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs” when he was trying to talk them out of supporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”

That was then. This is now. Trump picked Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn to head up his White House National Economic Council. His choice for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, spent 17 years working at Goldman Sachs. Trump’s chief strategist and White House counselor, Steve Bannon, started his career at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker.

Quite a crew being put to work draining the swamp. Alligators all of them.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:43
 
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