This all started in Wisconsin in 2011. Democrat Barack Obama was President. Republican Scott Walker was Governor of Wisconsin, and Republicans had a majority in both houses of the State Legislature.
Unlike “swamp” Republicans, Scott Walker and his legislative majority took quick action to cut government spending and taxes. They improved public education with less money by adopting new laws that limited the power and abuse of Wisconsin’s Democrat-run teachers unions.
Democrats and public employee unions from all over the country responded with anger and violence. Thousands swarmed to the Wisconsin’s state Capitol Building in Madison and camped there for weeks. They shouted “by any means necessary”. They carried signs and shouted slogans threatening to kill Governor Walker. They physically bullied and threatened Republican legislators on sidewalks, halls, and meeting rooms. They assaulted police and broke through police barricades to physically occupy and vandalize the State Capitol building. They disrupted meetings and debates. They delayed legislative votes.
At no time did President Obama or any prominent Democrat publicly oppose the violence, the threats or vandalism. At no time did the media condemn it. On the contrary, they and the national media, including National Public Radio (NPR), “protestors” for their “commitment” and “activism”.
These tactics at first seemed to fail. Governor Walker and Wisconsin Republicans passed legislation that limited the power teachers unions in the state. They succeeded in cutting costs and taxes while improving public education. In 2016, they helped President Trump carry the state in a surprising upset.
However, in the end, Democrats succeeded. In 2018, Republican Governor Walker was narrowly defeated by his Democratic opponent when he ran for a third term. Every major Democrat in America from President Obama on down worked to defeat him. Every major Democrat run public employee union in America, including New Jersey’s NJEA teacher’s union, contributed heavily to Walker’s opponent. (Each of New Jersey’s 105,000 public school teachers are forced to pay a total of $1,000 per year in membership dues to their county, state, and national teachers unions. That comes to a total of roughly $100 million per year. Much of that money is used to support “progressive” political candidates throughout the country). This was after years of the national media reporting only negative stories about Governor Walker, while ignoring the many positive results of his policies.
Meanwhile, very few Republican leaders openly supported Walker or helped his campaign. Because Walker had the courage to oppose powerful teachers unions on important issues that mattered, these Republicans repeated Democrat claims that Walker was too “divisive” and “controversial”. New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie was among the worst. Christie claimed that he knew how to win support from Democrats and public employee unions that opposed Wisconsin’s Walker. In New Jersey, Christie did this by avoiding layoffs and cutbacks of public employees during the recession. He did it by forcing local governments and school districts to borrow money and raise property taxes. When he took control of Atlantic City’s finances in 2011, Christie forced the town to violated the state’s Local Budget Law, and borrow nearly a half billion dollars to cover six years of operating expenses.
With Governor Walker out of the way, Democrats went on to win the next statewide election to take control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2019. With total control of the Governor’s office and Supreme Court, Democrats narrowly defeated President Trump in 2020.
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director