Democracy Needs a Win Soon

Hi Folks,

I have to admit, last week couldn’t have been much more frustrating for Democracy in America.
 
Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, along with every Republican in the U.S. Senate, have chosen to protect an anachronistic procedural rule called the filibuster instead of passing legislation that would salvage voting rights in America, which are currently under assault in at least 19 states, including Wisconsin.
 
The filibuster is the same rule that Mitch McConnell casually eliminated when catapulting Trump’s right wing judge nominee Amy Barrett into the Supreme Court after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died--a mere 35 days before the 2020 presidential election.  We can never forget that faced with a previous SCOTUS vacancy, McConnell BLOCKED Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland for 239 days, claiming the nomination was too close the next presidential election, and that the Senate needed to wait for a mandate from the American people before filling the vacancy. 
 
The word hypocrisy doesn’t even describe that level of bullshit.
 
More than just to ram an anti-choice judge into the Supreme Court, the filibuster has been carved out 160 times, recently for a Republican tax cut for the rich, but somehow it is still a sacred cow to Manchin and Sinema.
 
Wrong.  It is a sacred cow to their corporate campaign donors...or whomever has dirt on them...or any other possible explanation that doesn’t involve honor.  There is no honor in these two senators.
 
But I’ll get into trouble if I single out these two democrats alone.  So often we forget that there are 50 Republican senators unwilling to protect our right to vote--an entire party lost to the cult of authoritarianism.  Whatever happened to middle of the road Republicans Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, or Lisa Murkowski? Was that just a story line invented by the media to make all of the cliffhanger votes that really mattered to Americans, those that were ultimately defeated over the last decade, more dramatic? Surely these “middle of the road” Republicans have proven to be just as craven and cynical as all the rest of them by now.  Let us never hear from the media again about them voting with honor.
 
For those reading this email today, I imagine you’re a lot like me—a private citizen with very little political ambition other than to see my country function again, governed by people whose value systems include truth, dignity, and honor.  How many more times do we, regular Americans, need to be let down before we give up on this grand, wonderful, patriotic, national experiment that we were taught was a beacon of light for the rest of the world to follow?
 
How many more times must we endure the ethical failures of our leaders before the more mobile among us abandon this country to live in a more politically stable country?  I know this notion reeks of privilege but a mass exodus is coming if America loses its democracy, and there will be many great potential leaders in that first emigration, because the alternative to moving will be violence.
 
Lord knows I’m an optimist by nature—I changed my business and started selling political beer in order to help Wisconsin become a decent state to live in again—but we need a win soon.
 
Democracy needs a win. Someone with power needs to have courage, and all it takes is one person.
 
One person with power made a difference in Ohio last week.  In a 4-3 decision, a difference of one vote, the Ohio Supreme Court voted against a Republican attempt to gerrymander their state
 
Ohio, like Wisconsin, is one of about 9 swing states in America that decides presidential elections.  Rigging these states to entrench Republican power is particularly nefarious because we’ve seen how republican-dominated states, like Arizona, are more prone to use treachery to overturn presidential elections.
 
For those reading this email outside of Wisconsin, we’ve got our own state supreme court battle over gerrymandering coming in the next few weeks, and we’ve got a Republican-dominated supreme court, but only by 1 vote.
 
If one of our Republican-leaning justices found some courage, we could finally get a level playing field in Wisconsin which in turn could give us a fighting chance at electing honorable people to office, creating a buttress against authoritarianism and treachery in future elections.

That’s why we made a commercial that we want to air during the Green Bay Packer playoff game happening next week.  We want every Wisconsinite, and every Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, to know that we won’t let ourselves be robbed of democracy for another decade without a roar.  And this ad is not the only protest for Fair Maps in Wisconsin.  It will be coming in conjunction with over 16 rallies happening at county courthouses around the state demanding the Supreme Court find its courage to do the right thing.

 
I introduced this commercial to you last week, and since then, we’ve raised over $30K to get it on the air.  To play it in every Wisconsin media market would cost $240K, but we don’t need that much because we’d be preaching to the choir if we played it in the largely democratic Madison and Milwaukee markets.  We’re shooting for another $20K to bring our total to $50K so that we can hit 1-2 media markets in rural Wisconsin, which would cover over half of our state geographically.  These are heavily Republican areas where people need to know they’re being cheated by their elected officials.
 
We need a win, and that win could be getting Fair Maps in Wisconsin, a state on the front lines of holding onto our national democracy.  We’re not going to let this crucial moment happen without a lot of noise.
 
Help us make that noise by donating here.
 
Thanks for your continued optimism and hope. Lord knows we need it in the face of all of these headwinds. 
 
Let’s get this win for Wisconsin, and let’s help this state help the rest of the country by becoming decent again, one beer (or beer commercial) at a time.
 
Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC.