Friday, November 11, 2016
The Wisconsin Democratic Divide
Locally the Democrats have been at each others throats for quite a while. The divide has been between ultra progressives and corporate democrats. There is also a sub divide in Milwaukee between the old guard black community and the new Fred Kessler/Chris Larson led black progressives.
This election exemplified a chink in the Democratic platform. The huge turnout of the black community over the previous two presidential elections had less to do with platform and ideas and more to do with a sense of history and pride of a culture. The Kessler/Larson progressive movement misread this phenomenon and used the bump in enthusiasm to push their power grab.
Last spring's defeat of Chris Larson as Milwaukee County Executive was the first indication of change in the direction of Milwaukee's black community. Add to that the slow demise in Milwaukee County's GoPass (a creation of Marina Dimitrijevic and her Wisconsin Working Families Party) by the current County Board and Donald Trumps victory on Tuesday, we may have seen the final nail in the coffin of the current status quo of Milwaukee's Democratic party.
Statewide, Democrats lost another Senate seat which now gives the Republicans a 20-13 majority, with the possibility of picking up yet another seat as Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, a Democrat, won her seat by less than 60 votes and is sure to be involved in a recount. That result pretty much shoots her aspirations as a candidate for Governor down the tubes.
The Republicans also added another seat to their current majority in the State Assembly, 64-35.
This doesn't bode very well for the Democrats to gerrymander voting districts in the next decade. It looks like the courts will be their best bet to change the law.
One of the question that rings around these results is the future direction of the local and state Democratic Party. Will they cut the final ties with the working class Democrats who seemed to support Donald Trump this election and move more to the left with the hope of securing the young liberal voters (who don't vote) and the unions as their major line of support along with remnants of the fractured special interest and minority groups. Or will they be so devastated that no movement or too slow a movement to help in the immediate future will be their course.
A question for the Republicans is will we look at this opportunity and take advantage of it or will we sit back and make the same error of judgment Democrats have. I'll look at that prospect next week.