Campaigning for Democratic Victories in 2022: from Ben Wikler

Campaigning for Democratic Victories in 2022 :

An Open Letter from Ben Wikler, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair 

Dear friends across Wisconsin,

This week, some colleagues and I hit the road. We traveled to Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Merrill, Rhinelander, Wausau, the Oneida reservation, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and finally back to Madison. We met with rural county party chairs and members, held roundtable conversations with AAPI leaders, connected with elected officials and tribal leaders, held press conferences, visited the LGBTQ Caucus’s PrideToBe booth, and enjoyed cheese curds and other dairy delicacies in five different Congressional Districts. We made sure the Democratic message was carried on television newscasts all over the state. 

Most of all, we listened.

Here’s what we heard. 

We heard that Democrats are fired up to re-elect Governor Evers—and absolutely, positively ensure that Rebecca Kleefisch doesn’t win in 2022. We heard that folks love seeing Governor Evers as he travels around the state, and that there is real power in showing up. 

We heard that Ron Johnson is an embarrassing disaster as a senator. And at the same time, even though he’s simply terrible at his job, we shouldn’t underestimate him politically. We’ve got to fight all the way through the finish line.

We heard that it’s critical for Democrats to communicate the great things our elected officials are doing, in the medium and with the messenger that will most resonate locally and with the particular community affected. Sometimes that’s a local weekly newspaper. Sometimes pictures speak louder than words. To find the right message, medium, and messenger, ask locally. 

We heard a great deal about the issues, work, leadership, and challenges in the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community—and, while celebrating the official formation of the WisDems AAPI Caucus this year, recommitted to working to build our political movement in deep partnership with AAPI Wisconsinites. 

We heard that Republicans, even though they’re in disarray at the statewide and national level, are mobilizing locally—particularly in school board races, including recalls, focused on the phantom menace that Republicans (deliberately) inaccurately call Critical Race Theory. In a moment when more honesty and clarity is needed to ensure that Wisconsin students understand the histories of each of the communities that make up our state, Republicans are trying to frighten, divide, and cover up. It’s all of our job to fight back. 

We heard that, even though Trump is out of the White House, Democrats across our state know that the menace of Trumpism—and Trump himself—are still very real. Nobody is taking the “off year” as a year off. The stakes are too high. 

Thanks so much to all of the great Wisconsin Democrats who welcomed me and our team throughout the state this week—and thanks to everyone committed to the fight for democracy in Wisconsin, and to making this a state that lifts everyone up, no matter where we live, no matter what we look like, no matter whether we’re new Wisconsinites or have lived here for generations. 

A trip like this can be exhausting. But at every stop, we found new reasons for hope. Let’s draw strength from the fact that none of us is in this fight alone. 

In solidarity,