April 5, 2019

Wisconsin and Chicago Elections

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“[Conservative] Brian Hagedorn declared victory Wednesday over fellow Appeals Judge Lisa Neubauer in a close race for Wisconsin Supreme Court even as both sides were preparing for a potential recount… Hagedorn led Neubauer 50.25% to 49.75% with nearly all of Tuesday's votes unofficially counted.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot easily won the Chicago mayor’s race Tuesday, earning support from every part of the city to defeat a longtime political insider and become the first black woman and openly gay person to lead the nation’s third-largest city.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left is lamenting the loss in Wisconsin and celebrating the progressive wins in Chicago.

“Wisconsin voters on Tuesday delivered a stinging defeat to Democrats hoping to hold a seat on the state Supreme Court — and a hint that a sleeping Republican base is beginning to wake up just in time for the 2020 presidential election… The results underscore what should be obvious by now: Wisconsin is a closely divided state at the tipping point of either party’s path to 270 electoral votes.”
Reid Wilson, The Hill

“In a rare stroke of luck, Wisconsin conservatives managed to rally behind a reactionary judge so extreme, two of the GOP’s most reliable donors — the state’s Chamber of Commerce and Realtors Association — could not bring themselves to support him… While we were all debating a presidential primary that’s still ten months away, many progressives slept through an immensely consequential — and, by most accounts, easily winnable — election against a reactionary bigot in Wisconsin (again).”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

“In a result eerily reminiscent of the 2016 presidential election in the state, liberals’ heavy focus on social and culture war issues they believed would be disqualifying over pocketbook issues appeared to backfire, as a surge in the vote from more culturally conservative areas around greater Green Bay, exurban Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s Northwoods more than made up for big turnout in Madison, while Milwaukee’s turnout once again lagged behind the state.”
Cameron Joseph, Talking Points Memo

Meanwhile in Chicago, an open letter to the incoming mayor: “You were the candidate of Chicagoans who can’t find a good school for their kids. Who wonder why they’re paying more in property taxes while wealthy developers get tax breaks. Who can’t find a mental health clinic in a family emergency. Who don’t dare let their children play outside…

“Like no mayor before you, you are in a position to demand that big developers do more for the neighborhoods, that the wealthiest residents and corporations pay a fairer portion of taxes, that neighborhood schools come before charter schools, and that affordable housing be extended to every ward… You made history, Lori Lightfoot. Now make more.”
Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times

Many note that “the United States is experiencing a socialist surge right now. That surge came to Chicago [Tuesday] night, where democratic socialists won big… You’ve got at least five, maybe six democratic socialists who will be on the 50-member Chicago city council… Throughout the country, people are tired of low wages, soaring housing costs, privatization of public goods, budget cuts and corporate giveaways of public money. They have tried austerity and found it miserable. If Chicago’s elections are any indication, maybe they’re ready to try socialism.
Micah Uetricht, The Guardian

Many note that “Biden’s opposition to [marijuana] legalization… puts him at odds with the great majority of Democrats, 75-plus percent of whom back legalization. Biden’s opposition even puts him at odds with the median Republican, with polls showing that even a majority of Republicans support legalization. Politically, then, legalization should be low-hanging fruit… Yet Biden is not quite there… It’s an especially bad look for Biden. He has a long record of pushing for punitive criminal justice and drug policies — not just supporting but actually writing many of the laws in the 1980s and ’90s that helped shape America’s modern war on drugs. For Biden to hang on to marijuana prohibition, then, just reinforces one of the major concerns that criminal justice reformers like Booker have about him.”
German Lopez, Vox

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right is excited about the victory in Wisconsin and cautiously optimistic about Lightfoot.

From the Right

The right is excited about the victory in Wisconsin and cautiously optimistic about Lightfoot.

“Republicans received an unexpected piece of good news on Tuesday night… Trump knows that he needs to win only the electoral college to get reelected, and that encourages him to double down on issues that motivates Republicans and blue-collar former Democrats. That coalition makes up about half the vote in Wisconsin, without Trump on the ballot and without a nationally known progressive as his opponent. Tuesday’s result should warm Republican hearts with the hope that maybe the president, despite everything, is becoming a slight favorite for reelection.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

“Republicans have reinforced their court majority with Mr. Hagedorn, a mainstream conservative jurist who served as counsel to Mr. Walker. The left vilified him for giving speeches to the ‘hate group’ Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Colorado’s cake-baker in a winning appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court… The left’s smear campaign prompted some business groups to pull back advertising but may have also energized Republicans… Republicans were able to beat back [a] liberal surge by winning the suburbs where liberals in recent elections had been gaining. Perhaps the emerging radicalism on the left is causing voters to think twice about returning them to power.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Liberals overplayed their hand attacking religious and social conservatives. Neubauer and her liberal allies vilified Hagedorn as an anti-LGBT bigot because he had founded a Christian school that upholds Christian beliefs regarding sex and marriage, and because he had echoed comments from Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas.”
John McCormack, National Review

The attacks on Hagedorn’s faith crossed a red line. At issue was a single, vital question: ‘Can a Bible-believing Christian still hold office in the state of Wisconsin?’... Even casual believers and secular Americans can recognize there is a world of difference between the kind of hate groups that the SPLC was originally formed to combat and organizations that simply uphold traditional Christian morality and defend religious freedom.”
David French, National Review

Regarding Lightfoot’s victory in Chicago, “at the forefront of the mayoral runoff was the Jussie Smollett case. While no one expressed as much rage toward the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the alleged hate crime hoaxer as Emanuel, Lightfoot expressed real criticism of Kim Foxx's move to drop the charges… The election may not be a referendum on the Smollett case specifically, but it's at least one of the Chicago machine as a whole. For all that progressives in the city like to brand themselves as, choosing Lightfoot over a union-backed career crony is actual change and progress.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

This thorough evaluation of some Gummi Bears truly deserves a Nobel prize.
Guacamoley

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