In 2010, both states were suffering from the great Bush/Cheney recession. The similarly populated states - which historically have progressive traditions - chose distinctly different governors and legislative bodies to run their respective states.
Trying to sober-up after eight years of Tim (Wall Street) Pawlenty as governor, Minnesota elected Mark Dayton, an old-fashioned liberal from the Hubert Humphrey mold. Wisconsin did the opposite. Wisconsin ousted a democrat and plucked Scott Walker from the new-republican Koch Brother's line-up.
After four years, the results of the side-by-side political experiment is in. MN is kicking WI arse. The time held truths regarding the difference between red-states and blue-states has been validated and liberalism gets it done.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Minnesota's unemployment rate is at 4.5 percent vs. 5.8 percent for Wisconsin. Moreover, Minnesota has created 147,100 jobs since Gov. Dayton took office in January of 2010. Walker the "job creator" who promised to deliver 250,000 jobs has added 115,100 jobs - 35,000 less than MN. Note: Wisconsin is larger than MN by about 400,000 people which should help them overall, but nope.
While both states always rank high in K-12 education since 2009, research from the National Center for Education and Statistics shows significant improvements in 4th grade math and reading in the Yale graduate's state while Wisconsin, under the college drop-out's leadership, has remained flat (WI had a 20 year uptrend in math scores come to a halt). These are the first students to spend their entire education under the new administrations's policies.
In rejecting Obamacare (ACA), Wisconsin allowed Minnesota to crush Wisconsin on the issue of healthcare, too. MN recently reduced its uninsured to 5 percent down from 10 percent according to a Kaiser report, while Wisconsin is stuck at 9.75 percent (Wisconsin's uninsured has dropped 1.89 percent but is mainly due to provisions in the ACA, such as mandated coverage to young adults under the age of 26).
Turmoil, hatred and division have caused massive protests and confrontation during Walker's tenure - it is nearly a civil war. Meanwhile, Minnesota has been running smoothly with reasonable liberals at the helm while keeping the psychos in straight jackets.
On ethics, as one would expect, the Republican governor is doing all he can to avoid impeachment and stay out of the courts on a variety of indictments. Meanwhile, the squeaky clean liberal in MN has an unblemished record.
While recent polling shows "dead eyes" Walker with an approval rating of 47 percent, Dayton enjoys a lofty 58 percent approval.
In just four years, the border states are clearly moving in different directions. Many Republicans (Rand Paul, Scott Walker, etc.) like to point to states as petri dishes for political experiments. Well all you states-rights tea-baggers, Minnesota is incubating a progressive nirvana while Wisconsin is germinating a cold, snowy Mississippi. The tree of liberty in Minnesota is casting a lot of comfortable shade...looks like Wisconsin could use a dousing of Minnesota Miracle-Grow.
Stand proud progressives and do not let them lie to you. Liars can figure but figures do not lie. Peace.