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View Diary: Wisconsin---these are the people running your state. (98 comments)

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  •  I wrote a diary answering your question (41+ / 0-)

    A couple weeks ago I addressed your question:  What's happened to the Wisconsin you grew up in?

    It did not happen by accident, and it did not happen in the dark of night.  The Wisconsin you once new changed and there is plenty of blame to go around -- and plenty of opportunity to fix things.  But here was the gist of my diagnosis:

    1.  White flight out of Milwaukee turned the collar counties into sprawling enclaves of wealthy, white, conservatives.  The city floundered, and the suburban money didn't care.

    2.  The Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee both fed and fed on this demographic/geographic shift and became one of the major forces in national, reactionary, neo-conservative politics.  Especially riding the school voucher issue.

    3.  The media in Milwaukee -- newspapers and hard right radio -- fed the anti-urban, anti-liberal, and, yes, anti-black attitudes of their suburban white audience.

    4.  The Democratic Party establishment has long been completely clueless about how to respond, caring only about how to get to 51% in Madison and Milwaukee, and ignoring small town and rural Wisconsin in elections.  It's infuriating.  The Democrats have no plan for rural Wisconsin.

    5.  Connected to this:  the Democratic Party stopped running people in local races outside Milwaukee and Madison.  No farm team now, no major leaguers in the future.

    5.  Smart progressive young people have left the state.  In earlier generations they stayed and lived in the smaller cities and towns and rural areas.  For a generation or two now, they have gone to Chicago or the Twin Cities or out west.  They left behind their more conservative family members and schoolmates.

    6.  Agriculture changed, and rural Wisconsin's economy and culture changed with it:  fewer farmers, fewer family farms, bigger farms, more corporate ownership.  All of that translates into a different local political culture.  Rural progressives diminished.  (Except, thank goodness, they have held on in the SW Wisconsin driftless area.)

    I could go on....

    In all these ways, Wisconsin is not so different from the rest of the country, and (in my view) the damaging effects of the polarized urban-rural culture we have created (with the battleground purple suburbs in the middle).

    The "decline of [your] gorgeous home state" has happened because powerful people with money wanted it to change... those who appreciated its progressive  values and institutions and laws got lazy and outnumbered and isolated... and a growing percentage of its citizens simply did not learn about the history of progressive Wisconsin and don't care about politics or government and do not particpate.    

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