Iron County Progressive


Protect Wisconsin from a Republican Veto-Proof Majority

By Kirk Bangstad

It’s times like these, you learn to live again
It’s time like these , you give and give again
It’s time like these, you learn to love again
It’s time like these, time and time again.
--Foo Fighters

Time and time again, like every two years when elections come around, it seems like we have to go to extraordinary lengths to hold onto some semblance of American life that most of us over the age of 40 took for granted if we grew up in Wisconsin.
Our public schools were great. Our small towns were full of decent jobs. Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather were reliable news sources that we watched at 6 pm every night. And best of all, we still believed that if we elected decent people that worked together for the good of their constituents, we could fix anything that was wrong with our country and each generation would have it better than their parents.
Every two years, we cling to the hope that if we work hard enough to elect the right people, we can remove the cancer that has overtaken American politics and get healthy again.
I’ve been fighting this fight in my own way almost every day for the last two years after watching our capital get attacked on January 6, and I have to say I’m a bit tired.
I really don’t want to work this hard and worry this much about losing what I believe should be a normal way of life in Wisconsin and America. It’s exhausting and doesn’t have to be this way.
If we had two political parties instead of a Democratic Party and a “Cult of Personality,” and if we reduced the insane amount of dark money in politics and eliminated gerrymandering so that everyone’s vote truly counted, I believe our “new normal” would be government stability, middle class prosperity, and less dire election cycles.
But we’re not there yet, and even though I’m tired of fighting and tired of all the negativity, I know that if those like me who refuse to accept a government based on lies and corruption give up, our days will only get much darker.
So in the spirit of grinding away to save Wisconsin, I want to introduce another issue that could truly screw up our state, and in turn, screw up America because Wisconsin is pivotal to the presidential election in 2 years. The issue is that we're dangerously close to a Republican veto-proof legislative super-majority.
What does that term mean? It means that in a state where Joe Biden won by 20K votes in 2020, the Republicans have gerrymandered Wisconsin so badly that they could win a super-majority in the state legislature that would be able to override a governor’s veto and open the floodgates of crazy.
So in this post, I’m NOT going to ask you to donate money to my Super PAC. I’m going to ask you to donate money to 5 Wisconsin Assembly and Senate candidates that I’ve been told CAN’T LOSE or else the Republicans will be able run roughshod over Governor Evers, who is the only person able to protect us from legislation that would upend Wisconsin’s democracy and steal victory from a Democratic presidential candidate in 2024.

Let’s start in my neck of the woods with two candidates running in a historically progressive part of Northern Wisconsin that were handed a terrible gerrymander in last year’s redistricting battle. Superior is the largest city in this region and is home to state university UW-Superior and is right next the Duluth, a progressive bastion of Minnesota.  We REALLY have to hold onto these seats. 
The candidate for State Senate in this area is Kelly Westlund.  I know Kelly personally and she’s a strong fighter for progressive values. Here’s a link to donate to her campaign.
The Assembly candidate in this area is Laura Gapske.  In normal times, she’d probably win pretty easily, but the district has been gerrymandered and her opponent is a vicious election-denier who has encouraged her followers to threaten and intimidate Gapske.  If Gapske’s opponent wins, we’d have elected Wisconsin’s version of Marjorie Taylor Greene.  Here is a link to donate to Laura’s campaign

Another candidate “Up North” is my friend Sarah Yacoub, who helped organize a lot of the work we’ve done at the Minocqua Brewing Company Super Pac.  She’s running against Shannon Zimmerman, who until the last Republican gerrymander didn’t even live in his district, and is an abortion extremist--no exceptions for rape and Incest.  Here’s is the link to donate to her campaign.
Although these next two races aren’t in Northern Wisconsin, I’ve been told they are equally important to win in order to stop the Republicans from getting a veto-proof majority in the state legislature.

Lori Palmeri, the former Mayor of Oshkosh, is running in that area’s assembly race—this is her Website and link to donate.
Tip McGuire is running in the Kenosha area—read about his campaign and donate here.
The Foo Fighters said it best. "It's times like these we give and give again"--both financially and with our volunteer efforts. Folks, we have to do the work of electing decent people to protect democracy in Wisconsin, even though it’s expensive, tiring, and feels like an ever-present existential crisis.
It will only stop being a crisis when the Republican Party rejects the authoritarian strain that has metastasized within them and expels the grifters that benefit by lying to the rank and file. Unfortunately that has to come from within.  They need to "Choose Reason Over Treason," a motto we just put on a t-shirt.
But until they come to their senses, we just have to keep pushing this Sisyphean rock uphill to stabilize our government as best we can.
Try to donate a little money to each of these candidates I’ve listed. A little bit goes a long way in these small statewide races.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with us. Together, we can make Wisconsin NORMAL again—One Beer at a Time.
Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC