Those spending any time at all on political social media have no doubt seen conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, in part, because she failed to visit the swing state of Wisconsin in the last few months of the campaign. It's a point that has spawned a million "where's Hillary" jokes. But it isn't necessarily true.
For one, Clinton did visit Wisconsin several times during the campaign, just not in the closing weeks. She campaigned frequently in the state in both 2008 and 2016, losing big in primaries each time. It's not as though Wisconsin voters didn't know her.
Nevertheless, the Democratic National Convention decided to troll Clinton this week, picking Milwaukee as the site for the party's quadrennial soiree in 2020. Not only are Democrats going to make sure their nominee sets foot in Wisconsin; they're also bringing the whole cast of characters.
But as was the case with Clinton, mere physical presence likely won't be enough to win Wisconsin voters over. Taking precedence will be what their candidate stands for.
In making the Milwaukee announcement, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez suggested convention-goers may eat some vegan bratwurst and drink some "damn fine union-made Milwaukee beer at the end of the night." But vegan bratwurst--more accurately described as "tofu crammed in a sock"--is about as authentically Wisconsin as the actual proposals the slew of Democratic candidates have thrown around so far.
Take, for instance, the Green New Deal, which would hammer Wisconsin's agriculture-based and manufacturing-based economy. Any proposal ridiculous enough to make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi roll her eyes will have about as much support in America's Dairyland as skim milk. (Which, in the immortal words of Ron Swanson, is "water which is lying about being milk.")
Voters might also look askance at a $33 trillion Medicare-for-all plan when 95 percent of the state's residents are already insured. Among the accomplishments of Republican Gov. Scott Walker during his tenure was expanding coverage to record levels; throwing out that progress in favor of an untested budget-annihilating genuflection to European socialism might not be what state voters have in mind.
Many of the same state Democrats who will feature prominently at the convention next year are the same who marched against Walker's Act 10 public union reforms eight years ago, predicting doom for the state. Instead, the state has become so attractive, it will be a national showcase of success for the same party that opposed Walker at every turn.
In essence, Democrats are beginning this marathon at the 24th mile--crediting them with making Wisconsin a prime spot for a national convention is like crediting the historic success of the Star Wars franchise to Adam Driver.
Those issues aside, there is no doubt that in the middle of next year Milwaukee will be a caloric Armageddon, gleefully stuffing delighted Democrats with beer, cheese and encased meats. The city of Milwaukee will be thrilled to have them there. It is their ideas that Wisconsin voters might want to keep away.
Editorial on 03/14/2019
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