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Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate, perhaps one of the worst Democratic Party operatives in the entire country, has talked tough about implementing a "72-county strategy" for the November 2014 state executive and state legislative races in Wisconsin.

However, Jester Peggy, a Democratic activist from Northern Wisconsin, is fed up with Tate's failed leadership of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, and Peggy wrote this guest post on the Wisconsin progressive blog Blue Cheddar in which Peggy gave a vivid description of how Tate has failed Democratic activists in outstate Wisconsin under his leadership.

Here's part of Peggy's post:

You hung us out to dry the last election, and now we are stuck with Tiffany and Czaja and Duffy and a whole bunch of stupid puppets that are voting lock-step in line with Walker. If you would have at least given us some signs, some literature, some turf to canvas, or even a database we could use to help stay connected with one another after the fierce “boots on the ground” dedication from the recall, I know we could have done better. Up here, all people see are TV news (which even the court has declared is not news, but entertainment) and TV commercials. We need to be able to speak to people door-to-door and to have physical paper signs to put in our yards so people know where we stand and talk to one another about it.

Oh yeah, you sent us some OFA folks…you might as well have sent us a box of
rocks. The one we had sat on his (expletive) and put statistics in a computer every single time he came to Tomahawk. From what I understand, the others in Merrill and Rhinelander and Stevens Point and Minocqua were the same. After your cute little bus tour, the idiots didn’t even have the lists of folks who attended for us to contact! They wanted us to invite out friends to house parties and then turn the statistics over to them. We finally asked them not to come into our community because we did better without them.

Older people do not do FaceBook. Older people do not Twitter. In truth, outside of Tomahawk and north of us, people do not even have Broadband! (No thanks to Scotty who has probably planned it that way.) Have you tried to use the internet on dial-up lately? So, the idea that the computer is going to do it up here is false. And yes, we did make our own signs and we did steal lists from the resources we had from the recall, but really…you keep sending me requests for money. Really. I bought paper and paint and gas so I could go out in the country and talk to people. What the heck did you do for us?!!! Nothing.

So get out of your cushy office and take a look around. Wisconsin is headed to the bottom like a rock tossed into a lake. My Plan A is to fight. My Plan B is to leave this state. My plan C is to leave this country.

I'm sure there are a few Wisconsin Democrats who, after reading that post, are disappointed that Jester Peggy didn't run for Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin earlier this year. Indeed, Mike Tate only faced token opposition, in the form of Joe Kallas, in this year's DPW chair election, after another declared challenger, Rowan Viva, didn't get enough signatures to get on the convention ballot.

Wisconsin is home to one of the worst state-level Democratic Party organizations in the country. To give you a general idea of how bad the DPW leadership is, they've floated Mary Burke, a member of the Madison School Board, as a potential challenger to Scott Walker. Burke would be an even worse opponent to Scott Walker than Tom Barrett was, for reasons I described here. Indeed, many Democrats in Wisconsin are fed up with their own party to the point that they've started bashing the DPW leadership, and Jester Peggy is only the latest Democratic activist in Wisconsin to do so.

Quite frankly, the only way Democrats are going to be able to defeat Scott Walker in 2014 is if the Democratic nominee runs his or her campaign without relying on the Democratic Party apparatus in Wisconsin in any way.

Originally posted to Aaron Camp on DailyKos on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 10:19 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good lord - that does not sound good at all. (12+ / 0-)

    Hope to see some of our WI progressives weigh in on this.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 11:04:11 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for posting this (15+ / 0-)

    I was incredibly disappointed that Mike Tate was re-elected and with Graeme Zielinski gone it's just become pitiful.

    I saw his failure in the 2011 recall election when the grassroots groups were on the ground in massive numbers and the Dems just sitting on their hands and that lethargy has continued throughout the 2012 elections.  

    The only activity they're good at is calling and emailing for donations.

    We need and deserve better leadership.  

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:57:53 AM PDT

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (3+ / 0-)

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 04:49:00 AM PDT

  •  A thousand recommends (15+ / 0-)

    This is right on target.  Wisconsin's state Democratic Party is a disaster.  We would not be in the mess we are in in the first place ff it had any effective strategy or vision.  Mike Tate is an incompetent embarrassment.

    And a great part of the party's failure is its continual focus on Madison and Milwaukee, and its utter lack of support or understanding for the rest of Wisconsin.  They hand over the rest of the state to Republicans and have no ground game at all.  Suburban Milwaukee has become the bitter ground of reactionary Republicans, yielding Walker and Ryan and the rest.  The only reason Democrats hold on to some rural and small town seats and districts is because of hard-working locals; they succeed despite, not because of, the state party.  We have a lot of rural progressives in this state, but even we keep looking to Madison for leadership.  Folks, the real leadership is not in Madison.  It's out here.  It's you and me.

    This whole theme is larger than Wisconsin.  One could pretty much say the same thing about national dynamics.  It's been clear for some time, but now people are starting to understand it.  The Dems focus on the urban blue, the Republicans on the rural red, and the battles wage in the purple suburbs. Meanwhile, can anyone describe forl me the Democratic Party's policy for sustainable rural America is?  In the absence of such a coherent policy, Republicans will continue to have an open field, playing on the fears and resentment of urban America.


  •  We need new leaders (4+ / 0-)

    I wondered if we even had a Dem party outside of Madison. Then the Senate decides to take its' toys and go home rather than stand and fight.. All we hear is, oh boy are the Repub's going to suffer next election cycle for this, yeah, right... If you can't take te heat Mike, get the hell out..

  •  This is on the DNC and other D.C. Democrats (8+ / 0-)

    If the alleged geniuses at the DNC had any freaking clue about how to truly challenge the GOP across the country, they would be on this situation in WI. A national organization or business that allows incompetence in major branch divisions to fester is itself incompetent.

  •  Re: your blog post on Mary Burke: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, Puddytat
    Wisconsin Democrats should ideally recruit a crusading progressive who can fire up crowds and stand up for core progressive principles to run...
    Great! I concur! Who?

    That is the ten thousand dollar question...

    Let's not tear down Mary Burke or any other possibility until we have something better, eh?

  •  This is insulting for 5 reasons (5+ / 0-)

    1st:  Jim Holperin Resigned in SD 12 after many people from the state party, including me, drove up to Rhinelander and knocked doors for 4 days straight for him, because not enough local people showed up to do it.  That's why you got Tiffany.

    2nd:  Anyone who has spent time around OFA or coordinated field staff knows that "statistics put in the computer" is from knocking doors.  I'd bet dollars to donuts you were offered turf to knock but preferred not to go out or didn't like the neighborhood or that the lists were bad because they were "full of republicans."  

    3rd:  Guess what, the districts where you live are FULL OF REPUBLICANS.  

    4th:  Just to say it one more time: How dare you? You insult the work of the young people that give up months of their lives to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week to get DEMOCRATS elected in your challenging district.  They don't work for the money, they work because they believe YOU should have Access to health care, equal pay and social security.  And a lot times they know they're not going win.

    5th: We have US Senator Tammy Baldwin.  An out lesbian from the City of Madison representing YOU in the Senate. Senator Baldwin who has said Mike Tate was a big part of how she got elected.  She only got elected because she got enough support in Rural Wisconsin, it's clear from this "open letter" where you state you "couldn't get lists" that you probably didn't want to go do into the community.  

    I'm tired of the people that work hard everyday in our state for YOU and all the other Democrats taking shit for not working hard enough.  Maybe you should sign up to work 12 hour days for $2750/month ($7.60/hour) so you can call up someone like  you in the community that pretends to want to help but doesn't show up for a shift for one of the above reasons.

    Knock it off.  Go knock doors.

    •  Amen. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antirove, Creosote, Adam AZ

      The people who came up here for my wife's assembly campaign, who worked for Pat Kreitlow, Tammy Baldwin, and OFA, were fantastic, worked hard, and worked together.

      If worked on the last campaign, my personal thanks.

    •  I can't completely agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike Kahlow, Creosote

      The DPW and local affiliates don't have their act together.  I phone bank and knock doors with several organizations and I can tell you that DPW is the worst.  

      Their voter call lists are so out of date it's hard to actually reach people.  You're given numbers of people and reach the wrong people who have had that phone number for several years so you know the information is way out of date.  And I suspect that the door knock list is just as out of date so I just knock on all the doors.

      It's up to the DPW, local chapter and candidates to get volunteers, but most times nobodys really doing that unless it's a candidate who is out recruiting.   If the DPW expects to get control of the Legislature or Governorship, they need to recruit boots on the ground along with the local chapter and candidates.  It should be a coordinated effort, but it's not.

      The unions and community groups have their act together with up to date lists, ongoing recruitment of volunteers, and ongoing information to supporters.  They don't just make an effort 3-6 months before elections and then call the same old (aging) volunteers they've used again and again and again.  It's a process that culminates in GOTV.

      Sadly, the largest unions in the state, public employee unions, have been trashed by Republicans specifically to diminish their influence in our elections.  We're not going to be around like in the good old days to bolster up the poor efforts of the party so the DPW needs to get better and fast.

      Just look at the recall election in June 2011 for an example of how badly the DPW was and still is.  It was the unions and organizations like One Wisconsin Now and We Are Wisconsin that did the heavy lifting.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:28:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some truth on both sides. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam AZ, Puddytat

        I agree with you, Puddy, in a lot of your comments about the DPW leadership, but I'm with upsidedownpaddle on his/her assessment of the campaign from the grassroots.

        The DPW leadership has made some blunders; the biggest in my mind is that it's taken them until now to realize what they need to do. I've seen local parties screw up too, tho. One of the reasons that the lists were awful is that work had not been done in the past, and had hardly been done at all in many of the really red areas.

        "The same old volunteers" get called again and again because... you've volunteered in the past. In the last election, we would have been crazy not to call the old volunteers first! But other people get called, too, and become new volunteers.

        I rec'd upsidedownpaddle's comment because I agreed with her about the diarist's (albeit quoted) slam on campaign workers:

        you might as well have sent us a box of
        rocks. ... sat on his (expletive)... the idiots
        The workers who came here to Pierce and St. Croix counties were fantastic, hard workers who poured their hearts, souls, and bodies into the campaigns, and cried when the local candidates they helped didn't get in. I can't say enough good things about them.

        But many workers got sent to areas where, frankly, the local parties and the candidates themselves weren't doing the heavy lifting - and somehow get blamed for the candidate's loss. One particular sentence of the quoted post is horrible:

        We finally asked them not to come into our community because we did better without them.
        If that's where a campaign is, then it's lost. Pure and simple.

        And one final thought, on SD-12, the one that the original writer that the diarist quotes is complaining about (I assume, since Tiffany is mentioned). If you've got a candidate for a senate seat who can only raise $45,000 (which they had), you've already lost. That's not enough to win an Assembly race, much less Senate. Tom Tiffany raised $260,000 and he won. That work - fundraising -  is done by the candidate and the local party, the state party can only do so much.

        •  One minor quibble I had about Peggy's post (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike Kahlow, Adam AZ, Puddytat

          She complained about the DPW not backing Lisa Theo (who lost the Democratic primary to Susan Sommer in the 2012 SD-12 race) in the primary.

          Except for situations like the Lori Compas/Gary Ellerman scenario during the 2012 SD-13 recall election in which the DPW would back a real Democrat (in that case, Compas, although she had about as much use for the DPW leadership as Peggy does) over a fake Democrat planted by the WI GOP (in that case, Ellerman), the DPW doesn't take sides in a primary between two or more legitimate Democrats. Both Theo and Sommer, if I'm not mistaken, were both legitimate Democrats.

          "It's not enough to be in the majority, you have to stand for something." -Russ Feingold

          by DownstateDemocrat on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:45:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  DPW prohibited from taking sides in a primary. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam AZ, Puddytat

            It's in the bylaws, I believe...

            •  Wisconsin isn't like Illinois... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Adam AZ, Puddytat

     which there are Democratic power-brokers (especially in the Chicago area) who can single-handedly clear the primary field for a favored candidate.

              I know that, during the IL-2 congressional special election, the Cook County Democratic organization was set to endorse Donnie Trotter, that is, until he got caught trying to carry a firearm through O'Hare Airport, so "the machine", as the Cook County Democratic organization is known here in Illinois, refused to endorse a Democratic primary candidate, and Robin Kelly ended up winning a multi-way primary (and then went on to win the general election in a massive landslide).

              Had Trotter gotten the machine endorsement, he would have effecively won the election right then, as a machine endorsement in the Chicago area is very powerful, and IL-2 is overwhelmingly Democratic to the point that the Democratic primary is tantamount to election.

              "It's not enough to be in the majority, you have to stand for something." -Russ Feingold

              by DownstateDemocrat on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 03:28:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'm going to pick at this bone (0+ / 0-)
          If you've got a candidate for a senate seat who can only raise $45,000 (which they had), you've already lost. That's not enough to win an Assembly race, much less Senate. Tom Tiffany raised $260,000 and he won.
          If we're going to let money determine elections, why not just have an auction?  

          I'm a firm believer that boots on the ground and great organization can overcome money disadvantages when policy positions are so clearly anti-people for the other candidate.  If we allow dialing for dollars to determine candidates, we're enabling the continuation of the coin-operated politician who dances to the tune of whoever inserts the coins.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 01:19:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Tagging On Misinformation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam AZ

      1. DPW didn't choose the OFA organizers in your area. That was OFA.

      2. Lincoln and Oneida Counties collectively voted for Tammy Baldwin.

      3. County parties all have access to the voter lists. If you truly didn't have anyone with lists for you--not a candidate, a staffer, an organizer--your county party has that BECAUSE the DPW provides it to county parties.

      4. This is in reference to a comment below, but I'm a member of a union and we do phone our union members. Sure the lists are more up-to-date, but who cares how many times I called my union brothers who were already voting for all the Democrats? I hope it's different in  your area.

      5. The anger displayed in the excerpt is as disturbing as it is untrue as it is unfounded in reality. Peggy apparently expects a mystical DPW UPS shipment of a ready-made one-size-fits-all campaign (candidate and cash included) to be dropped off at her doorstep. The fact is, candidates have to work hard, they need support, but the DPW is limited (legally) in what they can offer. Other entities not controlled by Mike Tate have far greater reach and power. Peggy complains about yard signs. I realize Voter ID laws are going to make our yard sign vote totals decrease but you want the DPW to pay for that? For a State Senate campaign they are limited to $1000. Do you know how few yard signs (and more importantly how few votes) that is? My local county party supported our St. Senate and Assembly candidates by purchasing yard signs for them so they could spend their money to actually get votes. The donations from the yard signs funded additional yard sign purchases and helped keep the county coffers plentiful.

      In the end Peggy and those who agree with her comments can place the blame on whomever they want. Take Scott Walker's way out. Blame everyone else. But here's my question before you complain about how little someone did to help:

      How many doors did you knock? How many calls did you make? I sure hope for all the wasted energy you've put into this that that is a four digit number.

    •  I the toughest tea party country. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They came with guns,  sheriif david beth violated my first ammendment rights while his deputies asked him to cite a law.  We filled out a report with response.  One of us was a law enforcement officer.  We had a strong case....dpw under tate ran from a fight that was winnable.

      I adore Tammy...escorted her at burlington choco fest.  I stiil remember her saying to a local tea party thug to please get out of her way.  

      Yes, those that knock doors deserve credit and support.  I would not want tate as my backup in a brawl.  There is a word for tate....rhymes with wussy.Flashback

  •  In fairness to Mike Tate, (4+ / 0-)

    He has been getting outstate. He's been here in western Wisconsin fairly regularly, and I have some hopes for the (belated) 72 county strategy.

    Now, I'm not a Mike Tate supporter. I think we need new leadership, yesterday.

    I've got two perspectives - my own experiences as a party member, and those from helping my wife run her campaign last fall.

    From the perspective of my wife's run for Assembly, the people who came up here were very helpful. We had an organized campaign from the top (Obama) to the bottom (Assembly) of the ticket. Maybe it was different from Jester Peggy's perspective, but a lot of those on-the-computer activities are necessary to run an effective campaign. And it's not Facebook, it's about identifying your donors and voters & getting them mobilized.

    And now my own outstate "party activist" (I think I can use that term) perspective. There are a lot of complaints about "Madison (the DPW) needs to do this, Madison needs to do that". A lot of that comes from counties that can't even make their allotment of delegates to the state & congressional conventions!

    (rant on)
    Well, I'm sorry, the state DPW can't just come flying in at the last moment to save your lame candidate's sorry a** because he or she hasn't been doing their job, hasn't knocked a door, and has only raised $10000.
    (rant off)

    Things are only going to get done outstate when we do them. Some of the county parties are making some big strides in doing this... but we've got to mobilize here & stop complaining that the DPW isn't doing our work for us.

  •  I interned in the Madison office during the recall (0+ / 0-)

    We worked very hard fighting the out-of-state $$$. The party wanted to delay the recall filing so it could align with the presidential election but the activists said no, it has to be ASAP, so the party did what it could (this is just my observation). DPW in not a top down organization, so any critique of the leadership is a critique of the membership. I am not defending Tate, I don't think much one way or another about him, but scapegoating him wont improve the party. FYI, those damning Tommy videos that sank his election bid came from a lot of hard work from DPW.

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