The gaming of the WI Democratic Party by Jason Rae and Nation Consulting • May 27, 2015

This is a post by another blogger who wishes to remain anonymous.  He entitled the piece, “How the Washington Generals learned to stop worrying and love the Harlem Globetrotters”.

I opted for something more obvious.

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Democracy – noun de-moc-ra-cy
: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting</b>
: a country ruled by democracy
: an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights.

Democrat – noun dem-o-crat    \’de-me-krat\

1. a:  an adherent of democracy
2. a:  capitalized :  a member of the Democratic party of the United States.

Under outgoing, current Chair Mike Tate, the DPW went from supporting, at least to some extent, all its candidates for legislative office in Wisconsin, to hitting up all its legislative candidates for cash for the DPW itself. They spoke of a 72 county plan but instead they concentrated on the heavily populated counties of Dane and Milwaukee which contain the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, and largely ignored the rest of the state as well as those who bravely entered the political ring as Democrats.

In Wisconsin the Democrats are getting ready to practice democracy. In just over a week the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will be holding its annual, statewide convention. There they will ask their delegates to vote to select a new Chair, or leader, for the statewide party.

The firmly blue, democratic leaning city of Milwaukee is the site of the convention. Milwaukee, the city that is surrounded by a collar of white suburbs that voted in Scott Walker as County Executive and then backed it up by voting in Tea Party darling in democratic clothing, mouthpiece and pawn of the uber-right Bradley Foundation, Chris Abele.

Oh well, democracy is a relatively new concept and is not yet perfected. But still sometimes one has to wonder. Shouldn’t we be at least slowly moving towards a more perfect form of democracy? As I look around it seems that not only are we no longer moving towards a more perfect democracy, but rather that we are running and leaping away from a more perfect democracy.

Most people by now should know that it is possible to become President of the United States by losing the popular vote (the vote of the citizens of the U.S. who cast ballots in elections) and winning the vote of the electoral college. But that rarely happens so most people shrug it off. “That’s just politics” they say.

Most people by now should know that the combined Republican Party and Tea Party (or GOTea) has been working to prevent a great many Americans from voting. Or at the very least, making it very hard for non-White, upper class Americans to vote. This practice is called voter suppression and when you bring it up in discussion, most people shrug it off. “That’s just politics” they say.

Between extreme redistricting (see graphic below) and voter suppression techniques, the GOTea has sought to create a playing field for itself so tilted in their own favor that they can’t lose. We have even seen them in Wisconsin pick their own judges in court cases who have allowed GOTea defendants to willfully destroy evidence and get away with it.

Kind of like the basketball team, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. You are all familiar with the Harlem Globetrotters right? The Globetrotters are beloved and dazzle audiences as they…..well….trot all over the globe. Using trick shots, well practiced stunts and not to mention confetti, ladders, garbage cans and other props not allowed in the regular game of basketball, the Globetrotters delight their audience by essentially out-playing, out-tricking and out-cheating their perpetual counterparts, The Washington Generals.

The Globetrotters also bring to the show with them, their own referees who are part of the whole stage show. Referees who turn their back on the play off the game to watch confetti being sprinkled by one Globetrotter as the rest of the Globetrotters set a ladder up under the basket and practice a slam dunk, fire drill and score twenty points in five seconds. All the while their counterparts in the Washington Generals helplessly look on.

Everybody wants to join in the fun and be a Harlem Globetrotter. Nobody wants to be a Washington General. Except in Wisconsin that is. In Wisconsin there are some folks within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin who apparently have watched the Globetrotters decimate the Washington Generals by a typical score of say…..242 – 16. They watch and say, “man, it must be really nice to be a General!”

They probably don’t like the perpetual losing part as much as they love and adore the idea of having steady, lucrative work for life that doesn’t involve the risk of injury, the hard work and practice, the devotion required of players in the NBA.

They probably don’t tell themselves “I love to lose” but rather, they spin it into something like “It sure would be easy if all I ever had to do is show up and automatically end up in second place, just one step away from total victory.” In other words, they think they would like to pursue being perpetual silver medalists, to use an Olympics metaphor. They are refusing to realize that coming in second out of two is total and absolute failure.

And it is all about coming in second….as in second class citizens. These would-be Washington Generals either haven’t thought about or don’t care about the people in Wisconsin who would become, have nearly become, second class citizens to the ultra rich and powerful.

And although there are five current candidates running for the office of Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they are divided into two basic camps. Those who would learn from our past errors as well as the oppositions past victories and switch away from our previous losing ways in favor of a new winning plan.

And those who enjoy, indeed they profit from, the old status quo system. It may mean that the citizens of Wisconsin lose and lose big, but by golly their jobs are secure as the old two party system is the only game in town. Sure it may not have all the perks of winning every game, of being the Harlem Globetrotters. But it does carry incredible job security to be a Washington General.

Under outgoing, current Chair Mike Tate, the DPW went from supporting, at least to some extent, all its candidates for legislative office in Wisconsin, to hitting up all its legislative candidates for cash for the DPW itself. They spoke of a 72 county plan but instead they concentrated on the heavily populated counties of Dane and Milwaukee which contain the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, and largely ignored the rest of the state as well as those who bravely entered the political ring as Democrats.

Also recently, the DPW has had only had one simple piece of advice for its candidates for legislative office. And that message was “money, money and more money.” The only way to win the DPW would say was to outraise and outspend the GOTea candidates. Money was the answer to everything, the alpha and the omega.

One problem though, the GOTea has always been the party of corporate interests. At a time when the GOTea is pushing for a nationwide takeover of American and state governments by the corporations, how in the world do you expect Democrats to be able to outraise and outspend the Republicans??? Farmers and factory workers, teachers and union members have all been financially decimated by Republican policy. They can’t donate more than the trillion dollar corporations and their billionaire owners.

But still the DPW kept saying that big money was the only possible solution to the problem of big money in politics. Democratic candidates had to have big money to pay for professional campaign staffers to come work for them in Wisconsin where the shiny suits and New Jersey accents stuck out like sore thumbs. Folks in rural Wisconsin like anywhere else, don’t like people from out of state coming in and telling them how and who to vote for.

Mike Tate’s DPW kept telling candidates that big money for wardrobe specialists and hair stylists was the only way to win. Candidates would ask for the DPW’s VAN list, which is the list of democratic voters in their district and Tate’s DPW would say sure, for a couple of thousand dollars we will hit the print button on our computer for you.

Also the DPW kept telling candidates that they, like the DPW itself, needed the big money, corporate spin doctors of firms like Nation Consulting. A huge player in the public relations business if they wanted to win their elections, it was the only way. Pay our specialists, pay our consultants, pay our hairdressers and image people. Money, money, money and spend, spend, spend.

Guess how that worked out? All three branches of Wisconsin government are firmly in GOTea control. In other words, the big money, spend, spend and spend some more plan did not work. It did not work at all! In fact it worked so poorly that Mike Tate knew last year that he was going to have to step down as Chair of the DPW.

And so we will be saying goodbye to Mike Tate as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. And in all honesty Mike Tate is a good person with a very democratic heart. Things just came apart under his watch, not all of it his fault by any means, but things really came apart for his party in Wisconsin.

But in some ways, depending on who wins the election to replace Mike Tate, it could end up as essentially we have a new Tate. Consider it Mike Tate version 2.1. We may be stuck with the status quo, to keep trying to raise big money to give to the consultants, campaign managers from out of state, old friends and career cronies. In other words we could all end up with a big plan to stay the same, which is to concede that the GOTea will always be the Harlem Globetrotters and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin should remain as it has, the Washington Generals of Wisconsin politics.

And this is why a good many people are very concerned about the candidacy of Jason Rae. Jason Rae has been part of the big money, spin doctoring business. And Jason Rae has many people scared that he is going to copy Mike Tate’s plan from the last election. That seems to be how Rae plans on winning his bid for Chair of the DPW. Only this time there is a huge difference, this time focusing on Milwaukee County and forgetting completely about the rest of Wisconsin could actually work out for the Jason Rae big money machine.

You see, under the election rules of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the Chair will be elected from among 5 candidates by plurality after a single round of voting. This means that getting 21% of the vote is all you need to win. And guess what? Under the current (but hopefully not the future) way that the DPW chooses delegates to vote for its Chair and other officers, Milwaukee alone has enough votes to take it all.

And so Jason Rae and the staff of Nation Consulting have been focusing on Milwaukee with a fevered interest. They know there is big money at stake for themselves in Milwaukee, even if it is only second place, Washington Generals money. Hey its the only game in town folks.

And a big part of the Rae/Nation machine has been focusing hard, daily, on claiming for itself, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. We have received so far, thirteen requests by Milwaukee County Democratic Party members to use this blog [the author’s blog – not the blue cheddar blog] to let people know that under Rae/Nation, that the Chair of the Milwaukee County Dem Party is choosing their delegates to the state convention based on how much they support Jason Rae. If you do not support Jason Rae and pledge to vote for Jason Rae, then you don’t become a delegate and you don’t get to go to the convention and vote for your candidate of choice.

Democracy? Democrats? Check the definitions at the top of this page again if you need to. Because these tactics hardly represent the concept of democracy or the mission of the Democratic Party.

Now technically by the bylaws, charter and constitution of the DPW, Chairs are allowed to subjectively screen party members to find the best, most active people and reward them with delegate/voting status at the convention.

The system was not meant to be used to push for one candidate and one candidate only. But the loophole exists and Rae/Nation is pushing it for all its worth to promote their own interests which are of course, going to be mostly financial in nature.

So under the current system, which most of the party seems to want to change to be more inclusive, our next Chair could be elected with the support of only 21% of the delegates over the opposition of 79%. This is not a recipe for party unity. This is a recipe for party implosion and even death. And that would mean the complete and final decimation of any reasonable quality of life for Wisconsin’s citizens for as far as anyone can see into the future.

And Nation Consulting and its people in the Democratic Party are out to make it happen. Big names in party politics, seemingly unconcerned about the DPW becoming the perpetual losers in Wisconsin politics, the Washington Generals of the badger state. They are looking after their own interests first and let the rabble be damned is what is happening if you judge them by their actions and not their professionally spin doctored words.

Not that Thad Nation, owner and bossman of Nation Consulting has reason to care about the Washington Generals, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin or any of the state’s citizens. Although Thad Nation is a known political insider to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, he is a huge financial supporter of the GOTea.

It sounds quite insane when you hear it altogether, doesn’t it? Get rid of Mike Tate because his plan didn’t work out at all but hire his Jason Rae to maintain the losing plan so that the big dogs and insiders can maintain a lucrative lifestyle. Why would anyone vote for that?

Let me ask you again….why would anyone vote for that? There is no darn good reason to, not a one! At a time when Wisconsin is not only socially but economically and politically torn apart, now is the worst possible time to maintain the status quo, to stick with the plan that so far has never worked. Now is the worst possible time to stick with big money in government, special interests and shady, backroom deals.

Now is the best possible time to return to open and transparent politics in Wisconsin which are to the benefit of everybody. Now is the best time to return to politicians being held accountable for their actions and being made to work for all citizens of the state, not just their donors and the lobbyists. Now is the worse time to maintain the status quo as our state sinks lower and lower in the rankings, as our standard of living lowers, as our people flee to other states in search of work and security.

Now is the worst time to vote in favor of the recent status quo. Now is the worst time to give up on ever being a Harlem Globetrotter.

Thank you to the members of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County who reached out to us and trusted us to write and promote this article, we hope we have done right by you all.

Resources:

Thad Nation: “I run a firm with a lot of different clients. We work with both Republicans and Democrats and we employ Democrats and Republicans.” – Blogging Blue

Wisconsin Democratic Chairperson Candidate Jason Rae Employed by Firm Founded by Individual That Provided Money to Koch-funded Organizations – Progressive Midwesterner

Nation Consulting’s Ties to Republican Firms Run Even Further – Progressive Midwesterner


COMMENTS TRANSFERRED FROM ORIGINAL BLOG

  1. SomeGuy
    May 28, 2015 at 1:47 am

    My hope is that some of the other candidates will strike some sort of bargain before the convention and stop Rae from being elected chair. If he wins, it’s a huge blow to the progressive movement in Wisconsin.

  2. Bob Ettellofal
    May 27, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    There’s an element of the DPW that would rather control a losing party than share power in a winning coalition. You can see that in the online posts and comments saying that “we’ll never change the stupid rural voters’ minds, so to h*** with them”. You can see it in the efforts by the Dane County party to take over the DPW Rural Caucus at the upcoming convention. You can see it in the veiled threats that the winner in the DPW Chair’s race will retaliate against those who voted against him (the ballots are not secret, people, and I’ve heard that anyone who votes the “wrong way” has no future in the party).

    Thad Nation has donated lots of money personally, all of it to Democratic causes (according to state records), which makes him look like a good guy. The problem is that he heads various astroturf nonprofits which funnel money to far right / Koch organizations. Rae is associate director of one of these, “Wired Wisconsin”, (http://www.wiredwisconsin.com/farewell-wired-wisconsin-a-note-from-emily-lenard/) which advocates against competition in broadband. In the year Rae was appointed associate director of Wired Wisconsin (Midwest Consumers for Choice and Competition), the “nonprofit” donated $190,000 to “60 Plus Association”, a member of the Koch family of organizations (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/60_Plus_Association) and $60,000 to the Discovery Institute (the “intelligent design” people). All of this can be seen in the 2010 IRS filing – http://pdfs.citizenaudit.org/2011_12_EO/26-3476004_990O_201012.pdf

    Rae can scream all he wants to about how his politics are perfect, that he’s being smeared, and that he “won’t tolerate these kinds of attacks on Democrats”. But the IRS filings don’t lie. And Thad Nation’s assertions that they don’t give right wing organization work to Jason contradicts the press release from Wired Wisconsin itself.

    Rae could win this election. But if he’s elected, I think that there will be a counter-revolution from the grassroots – and the bylaws will be changed so this doesn’t happen again. Of course, we’ll still lose one more election in the meantime (2016), and who knows what additional damage the republicans will do.

    On the optimistic side – There are over 2300 delegates expected (only had 800 last year for an election year – why ? – for the chair’s election). People are organizing buses from across the state, and housing for those how can’t afford the hotel. Both Jeff Smith and Martha Laning have vowed that they will not, under any circumstances, violate the secrecy of the ballots. And Laning has stopped efforts by other county parties to screen their delegates – I’ve heard her say that she won’t play those kind of games to win.

    • May 30, 2015 at 2:19 am

      Actually it my understanding that Jeff Smith, Stephen Smith and Martha Laning have all vowed that they will not, under any circumstances, violate the secrecy of the ballots. ….. “And Laning has stopped efforts by other county parties to screen their delegates – I’ve heard her say that she won’t play those kind of games to win.”

      Only Joe Wineke and Jason Rae refused to sign the pledge to keep ballots secret. That is very telling to me and reeks of intimidation and the same old divisive, every person for themselves, style of leadership that Mike Tate ran …. which has nearly run the party completely into the ground.

      I really hope Jeff and Stephen can put the future of the DPW ahead of their ambitions and get behind Martha in the end when it is clear they don’t have enough support to win.

  3. Kingfish
    May 27, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Please attend the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair and Co-Chair Candidates Forum:

    Democratic Party Of Wisconsin
    Chair & First Vice Chair Candidate Forum

    Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. – Noon
    Wisconsin African American Women’s Center
    3020 W. Vliet St. Milwaukee, WI 53208

    Moderator: Honorable Judge Russell Stamper Sr.

    DPW 2015 Candidates Chairperson and First Vice Chairperson

    • Jason Rae, National Democratic Committee Member & Penny Benard, Former State Representative
    • Jeff Smith, Former State Representative & Stephanie Findley, former 4th Congressional District Chair and Black Caucus Chair of the DPW; Election Commissioner City of Milwaukee
    • Martha Laning, Former State Senator & David Bowen, State Representative
    • Joe Wineke, Past DPW Chair & Dotty LeClaire, Chair Outagamie County Democrats
    • Steve Smith, Former State Representative & no running mate

    It is our hope that this panel will bring candidates together to have a constructive conversation that addresses the candidate’s platform and vision for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. This forum is needed before the upcoming election so that individuals designated as delegates can make informed decisions prior to casting their vote for our next Democratic Party chairperson.

    Sponsored by Citizens for A Blue Wisconsin

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