This diary is an extension of a comment I wrote today in Kos’s Diary on the chances of taking the house in 2014. I realized I had more to say, and more to research at that moment, than could fit in that comment.
I am the daughter of both states. Born and raised in Madison, and went to school at UW in Madison. Still have many pals there and visit as often as I can. Been in Minnesota since 1975. Both states have described my world all my life. This is my corner of the earth, and I know it rather well
Even so, and even though I knew the contrasts between the states were increasingly HUGE, I didn’t have enough examples and stats at hand. So I spent some time gathering them.
I did this because I am SO frustrated by the often sounded meme here that there’s no difference between the parties. This meme has gained momentum here in the last weeks, as has distrust in the Democratic party. All things considered, I understand. To a point.
But to this gal happy to be living in Minnesota now, and heart broken about what’s happened to her home state, much of this is very discordant with the recent record of events of the two states that I consider my home.
And, while I have my fair share of complaints about the Democratic Party, and Obama, I have absolutely no illusions about where my bread is better buttered. And I have no illusions that I can be heard better by not voting, or by bashing the best choice I have. NOTE: There’s a difference between critique and bashing. I’m all over critique. Not so much cynical nihilism.
Follow me below the fold to see the facts.
As a quick electoral background since 2010, Minnesota voted in a republican house and senate in 2010, BUT went w/a democratic governor. In 2012 Minnesota flipped the house and senate to Democratic, in addition to its Democratic governor, and two senators.
In 2010, Wisconsin elected a Republican governor, house and senate. Then they
did it again in 2012.
Below is a list of THE DIFFERENCE since 2010, evidence of how much it meant in Minnesota to JUST have a Democratic governor in the face of a republican congress, and now THE DIFFERENCE since Democrats have the house, senate and governorship.
Here are the three sources I used for this. There were so many more, and I could have gone on for days researching it all. But this will have to do, and I think it makes the point. I will let the rest of this diary speak for itself. I think it's all worth thinking about as the mid terms of 2014 approach.
Minnesota - Gay marriage is legal
Wisconsin - NOT. And not likely to be so anytime soon.
Minnesota - No state sponsored invasive procedures against women.
Wisconsin - Wand Up The Wazoo Act waiting for Walker’s sig.
Minnesota - Still offers Sex Ed to it’s youth through public education.
Wisconsin - No sex Ed.
Minnesota - Raised taxes on the wealthy
Wisconsin - Lowered taxes on the wealthy
Minnesota - Voted to let child care workers unionize and led the way in establishing
a state health care exchange.
Wisconsin - Stomped out collective bargaining rights and chose not to set up
a state health care exchange.
Minnesota - Boosted funding for public education from pre-school through college.
Wisconsin - Gutted education funding.
Minnesota - Jobless rate: 5.3%
Wisconsin - Jobless rate: 7.1%
Minnesota - Ranked 20th on Forbes list of “best states for business.”
Wisconsin - Ranked 42nd on same list
Minnesota - Placed 15th in US Chamber of Commerce report in overall economic
Wisconsin - Wisconsin placed 44th in overall economic performance in same report, and dead last among the 50 states in short-term job growth.
Minnesota - Rejected photo ID law
Wisconsin - Enacted a photo ID law
“It’s a tale of two states,” state Sen. Jennifer Shilling, a La Crosse Democrat, said as she waited this week to make her points on the Finance Committee. “There really couldn’t be a starker contrast,” added a colleague, Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine.
“In Wisconsin, the GOP-dominated Joint Finance Committee recently worked all night on a proposal that would further separate red-hot Wisconsin from true-blue Minnesota. A second straight budget with income and business tax cuts, statewide expansion of private school vouchers and opposition to much of the health care expansion offered by the officially despised Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare.”
I feel like we are on the pathway to the perfect storm,” Sen. Shilling told the Wisconsin committee. “I look at Minnesota — it seems like they are on an upward swing. We are on a downward trajectory.” When the committee voted in favor of the GOP plan, several people in the audience rose and shouted “Shame!” and had to be removed from the room.
Wisconsin has been cutting taxes, curbing unions, expanding private school vouchers and rejecting hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
Minnesota has been raising taxes, empowering unions, legalizing same-sex marriage and embracing Obamacare.
Wisconsin is getting its most conservative governance in decades. Minnesota is getting its most liberal governance in decades.
In their underlying political makeup, they may be as similar as any two states in America.
But one is being governed like South Carolina, the other like Vermont.
One thing it tells us is that very small election shifts can end up having massive policy consequences, thanks to the growing ideological gap between the two parties.
“This is not Minnesota and Georgia, where you’re wondering, 'Can we find anything in common?'” says Jacobs. Instead, it’s two northern neighbors, with two pretty similar traditions, heritage and political cultures, “just heading in different directions,” he says.