Way to go, Wisconsin!
In a momentous progressive win, voters there elected County Judge Janet Protasiewicz to their state supreme court. She thumped a mega-MAGA-Republican by 11 points in a pivotal race, ending a dark decade of unbridled right-wing partisan extremism by that court’s GOP majority.
But the vote has profound implications reaching far beyond the Badger State. Its deeper meaning was brought home to me on election eve when the Republican candidate—a Trump-hugging, gerrymandering, anti-choice lawyer—complained that “Doing a statewide campaign… is kind of hard.” Well, yes, but to paraphrase a song by a band called the Austin Lounge Lizards, “Campaigning is hard / But it’s harder when you’re stupid.”
Not that the lawyer lacked intellect, but smart is as smart does. What the swing state of Wisconsin showed is that this right-wing candidate and other arrogant GOP fanatics are stupid if they think people won’t care that (1) Republicans are shutting people out of the voting booth, and (2) they’re running as ideological autocrats promising to use state power to outlaw the inherent right of a woman to make her own, deeply personal decision about abortion.
Moreover, Judge Janet’s big win sends a gut-check message to meek Democratic Party officials and donors who continually admonish candidates and local activists to be middle-of-the-roaders, compromising the people’s “little-d” democratic principles in hopes of winning some Republican votes. Protasiewicz was straight with voters, proudly campaigning to be a pro-choice, pro-worker, pro-democracy justice.
Because of both the integrity and clarity of her message, she generated a record turnout, greatly increased participation by women and young voters and—especially noteworthy—made significant inroads in rural and working-class counties that had been considered Trump country. She showed that if Democrats stand up for the people—Hello!—people will stand up for Democrats.
How many words does it take to say ‘class war’?
These days, America’s top economic officials tend to speak in unintelligible bureaucratic gobbledygook. But, once upon a time, there was a plain-spoken White House economist, and he even had a sense of humor. He didn’t last.
Alfred Kahn was chastised by the White House in 1978 for speaking clearly and honestly about the looming possibility of a depression: “Too blunt… use softer words!” So, Kahn started calling the downturn a looming “banana.” When banana industry lobbyists complained, he switched to “kumquat.”
In that spirit, let me warn you about an unemployment “taco” that the autocratic Federal Reserve system is cooking up for working families. The Fed (as it is called by jolly bankers who run it) says it is imposing “the restoration between supply and demand in the labor market.” They soothingly add that “there will very likely be some softening in labor market conditions.”
You can almost hear them humming “Rock-a-bye Baby,” but don’t nod off. As Bryce Covert, the insightful economic digger and truth-teller recently explained, there’s nothing soft about the Fed’s arbitrary policy—it means “fewer raises and more people out of work… which means about 1.5 million people will lose their jobs.” She documents that, historically, such a jolt of unemployment will probably (get ready for scary words) “trigger a recession.” Or a “taco” if that makes you feel better.
The mumbo-jumbo of economists aside, what we have here is the same old power play of moneyed elites putting the jobs and wages of working families on the chopping block to jack up the exorbitant profits of monopolistic corporations. When the Fed bankers say they’re “restoring balance,” they mean restoring the power of corporate bosses to rule unilaterally over America’s workaday majority.
In plain language, this is blatant class war by the privileged few against the many.
Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes “The Hightower Lowdown,” a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org. (c) 2023 Creators.
Way to go, Wisconsin!