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Worried About Wisconsin

Updated on July 4, 2011

Steal My Kisses--Ben Harper

A State Of Concern

As if I didn't have enough to worry about trying to keep Pennsylvania's US Senate Seat Democratic, I also get word that Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) finds himself in a tough battle with a self-funded candidate who's drawing support from the Tea Party

A Feingold defeat would have ramifications on three main areas, in my opinion.  The first is that the Senate would lose one of its strongest progressive voices.  He's likely the Senate's overall progressive voice, much like Dennis Kucinich is to the House.  No matter what the Senate would look like, Senator Feingold would be a strong voice for the Obama and the progressive agenda.  He's someone that I've seen as being needed in a leadership position, especially with the Republican's agenda of obstruct, rescind and repeal.  In a post Citizens United system, Senator Feingold would be a strong voice for making sure that the power of corporations is reined in; his opponent's decision to fund his own campaign may be a way for him to skirt the same laws that Senator Feingold worked so hard to pass.  

A second issue is the emboldening effect his defeat would have on the Tea Party and it's corporate leaders.  They would have taken down a long-time incumbent in a progressive state, and replaced him with someone who would likely toe the CEO line.  It would make it a lot harder to view the Tea Party as a movement mainly in small Southern and Western states, or places like Pennsylvania, where you have large population centers, but also smaller, more rural, and more homogeneous areas.  

A final issue is the effect this would have on the Democrats.  They would have lost a seat in a state that seemed to be 'safe'.  Wisconsin has a long progressive tradition, from Bob LaFolette to the University of Wisconsin's decision to drop Nike over labor concerns.  If a state like Wisconsin can fall under the Tea Party's spell, what state is next? 

But what about the other scenario?  Feingold rallies his supporters and holds on; the message there would also be clear, the kind of grass-roots organizing that worked so well in 2006 and 2008 can still work and win.  

We can only wait and see. 


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    • A M Werner profile image

      Allen Werner 

      8 years ago from West Allis

      Being in Wisconsin, I had to see what you wrote. Feingold is probably one of the most "independent" voices I have seen in politics. He doesn't mind clashing even with his own party. He is strong and doesn't seem to lean very easy with the wind. Johnson on the otherhand is simply a businessman. He would like nothing more than to do away with any checks and balances, and dismantle government controls over everything but war. Peace.

    • EmgeeOnline profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey TPC,

      What many people don't understand it how a state vote effects the whole country. With the talking points that the Republicans and the corporate funded Tea Party are issuing, we need to keep as many Democrats in power to avoid the "government shutdown" that the conservatives continue to threaten the country with.

      Great hub.


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