As one voice some 100 miles north of the Capitol, let me suggest a path for restoring the Wisconsin Democratic Party beyond Milwaukee and Madison.
Otherwise, this once vibrant political party will remain deep in the political wilderness even with clear signs Wisconsin’s Tea (former Republican) Party is on the wane.
As a political scientist and former United States Senate staffer, I would counsel the party to think boldly, giving Wisconsin voters a clear and positive 21st century Democratic Party manifesto to win over the Wisconsin electorate.
Much like Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” in the early 1990s, Wisconsin Democrats today need a clear vision in order to one day reclaim political relevancy. This will take a disciplined strategic communications effort statewide.
Here’s one rural Democrat’s suggestions for such a manifesto.
• Focus on living wage jobs creation.
• Support rural and urban public schools and their teachers.
• Support the Affordable Care Act and its objectives.
• Invest in Wisconsin’s people and infrastructure.
• Focus on Main Street’s economic development.
• Support Milwaukee’s economic renewal.
• Support an independent DNR Secretary with science-based natural resource decisions.
• Restore and expand citizen’s voting rights.
• Restore workers’ share in Wisconsin’s economic success.
• Forward. It is our state motto after all.
Thomas M. Miller