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2021: The Year Democrats Worked to Clean Up the Ruins

2021: The Year Democrats Worked to Clean Up the Ruins

Ben Wikler, Chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin & Ron Malzer, La Crosse Country Democratic Party Board Member

We were less than one week into 2021 when a violent coup, launched by then-President Trump almost succeeded in getting to Vice President Trump and Speaker Pelosi, leaving a policer officer and four civilians dead, and more than 130 police officers injured. The Capitol was in ruins, as was America’s reputation in the world.

President Joe Biden and the Democrats restored sanity to government in Washington. A great deal was accomplished; much work lies ahead. Meanwhile, in Madison, a right-wing extremist Republican Party used fear and intimidation to strike back at those who conducted honest election oversight. Both Republican-controlled-via-gerrymandering houses of the Wisconsin legislature passed outrageous, big-fist-of-government legislation denying local and individual liberty, all of which was thankfully vetoed by Gov.  Tony Evers.

Here is 2022 in review:

January began with the insurrection. A day of horror. Heroism, too—remember Officer Eugene Goodman. And then Congress did its job. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. An inauguration to remember. A WisDems campaign to ensure that every Wisconsinite knew Ron Johnson had fanned the flames—with the first TV ads of the 2022 election cycle.

In February, Governor Evers unveiled the Badger Bounceback agenda; Biden made his presidency’s first official trip—to Wisconsin!—and Wisconsin Republicans like Mike Gallagher voted against impeaching Trump. We held him to account. If he’d been convicted, he would be ineligible to run today.

March: the American Rescue Plan! Stimulus checks. Vaccine support. Child tax credits. Huge.

April: The GOP’s divisive tactics on education failed, and a massive surge in voter turnout—powered by a wave of grassroots energy—elected Dr. Jill Underly to Superintendent of Public Schools! What’s more, Governor Evers announced $420 million for small businesses.

May: Kamala Harris visited Wisconsin, and Governer Evers awarded $100 million in stimulus funds to rural broadband, part of his drive to connect 300,000 homes and businesses.

June: Governor Evers announced his reelection bid at the virtual WisDems virtual state convention—also featuring President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Jaime Harrison! Later that month, Joe Biden visited Western Wisconsin, Ron Johnson earned boos at the 50th Juneteenth celebration in Milwaukee.

July: the expanded Child Tax Credit started flowing, and we made sure Wisconsin knew it. We hit the doors. Governor Evers signed a bipartisan budget, restoring 2/3 funding to schools.

August: Governor Evers vetoed a half-dozen voter suppression bills. The WisDems Rural Caucus and team launched Rural PowerUp trainings across the state. ProPublica ran an expose showing how Ron Johnson ripped off America to give himself and his biggest donors a giant tax giveaway. And we publicized it with a viral video.

September: Radical Rebecca Kleefisch launched her campaign, and we launched a special website just for her: radicalrebecca.com. Soon, she was talking about the website on the campaign trail. And we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Voces de la Frontera.

October brought a WisDems tour with stops at Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Merrill, Rhinelander, Wausau, the Oneida reservation, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Madison; three AAPI roundtables; and conversations and listening sessions with rural and urban Dems alike.

November: Rebecca Kleefisch’s fear-mongering attempt to bolster school board recalls in Mequon-Thiensville fell flat. And the WisDems mega #1Year2Win weekend of action soared. Governor Evers and dozens of other elected leaders joined 1000 members, activists, staff, and partners in reaching out to more than 100,000 voters all over Wisconsin. We beat our goals—and our records! Watch the recap video. Oh—and then we passed the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill into law, despite “no” votes from every Wisconsin Republican. A huge month. But also a month when we contented with tragedy—the Waukesha massacre, the Rittenhouse verdict, the ongoing scourge of COVID.

And now we’re here in December. Republicans are bent on dismantling our democracy, from renewed gerrymandering to McCarthyite witch-hunt investigations and threats of jailing mayors and election commissioners for helping people vote. We’ve got Governor Evers—the “sea wall” for democracy”—standing firm.

We have 1001 reasons to be motivated to turn out a large blue vote in 2022. Let’s do it.