Boots & Sabers

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0825, 11 Apr 16

Act 10’s Impact on Liberal Interest Groups

What an odd story to be on the front page of JSOnline.

The Greater Wisconsin Committee, the liberal group backing Kloppenburg, spent less than half of what it did on her behalf in her unsuccessful 2011 bid for a court seat, with opponents spending several times more in this race. Greater Wisconsin put up its TV ads only eight days before the election won by Justice Rebecca Bradley, while an independent group started running ads on Bradley’s behalf just over two months before the election.

Is that a sign that the left in Wisconsin is losing its financial resources? For years, Democrats have been predicting that Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal of most collective bargaining for public sector workers would dry up some labor funding for liberal candidates.

The answer is maybe, maybe not, say players on both sides of the state’s polarized political divide.

The story goes on to say… nothing. Essentially, they are private groups that seem to have plenty of money to spend on political races but chose not to spend as much on Kloppenburg. It never really says why, but I suspect it is because Kloppenburg already lost once and is a bad candidate. But the story doesn’t say. So what was the point of the story?

The most interesting part of it comes at the end.

Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, also said this election isn’t as simple as groups on the left not having resources. Partly, his side now thinks that pouring money into such races may never have been the best answer, he said.

The union leader pointed to other races Tuesday such as Racine School Board seats where union-backed candidates did well by putting in time at the local level. That local organizing could eventually yield fruit in state races by providing candidates, voter lists and volunteers for those campaigns, he said.

Remember that in Racine we saw the teachers union circulating candidate lists and propaganda on school grounds. If this is the new model for liberal activists, the conservative activists need to match it.


0825, 11 April 2016


  1. Brian

    On your last point, I have always been baffled as to how the school district can use taxpayer dollars to lobby for school referendum a) on state sponsored websites, b) on school grounds in the form of signs, posters, c) can discuss it in the classroom. How is that not blatant politicking using taxpayer resources?

  2. Owen

    It’s the very fine line between “informing” and “advocating.” It is the school district’s responsibility to inform the stakeholders about the details of a referendum so that they can make an informed vote. That’s fine, but sometimes a district takes advantage of that role to paint a very rosy picture of a referendum without openly disclosing negative aspects of the referendum.

    But when it comes to school board elections, I have no idea. I don’t think they should be saying anything about school board elections in school other than telling people when the election is.

  3. Billiam

    Maybe it’s a combination of less money and a, shall we say, less than inspiring candidate?

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