Iron County Progressive


Welcome to fascism': Top Arizona Republican blasts Trump-backed candidates who might try to overturn future elections

By Marshall Cohen, CNN

Updated 8:04 AM EDT, Sun September 18, 2022


(CNN)The outgoing Republican speaker of the Arizona House says Trump-backed GOP candidates might send the country "back into the dark ages" if they win key midterm races and help enact laws to make it easier to overturn elections -- which he said was tantamount to "fascism."

Rusty Bowers made the comments in an interview for an upcoming CNN special report by Jake Tapper, "American Coup: The January 6th Investigation." The documentary, which details the major bombshells from Congress' exhaustive inquiry into the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, premieres on CNN on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Bowers was a key witness at one of the public hearings this summer of the US House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Speaking about an unsuccessful Republican proposal to change how elections are run in Arizona, Bowers expressed alarm over provisions in the bill that would've created a pathway for the state legislature to cast aside the popular vote after an election and essentially anoint a winner.

"The legislature, after the election, could dismiss the election," Bowers said in describing the proposal that he ordered all 12 state House committees to consider, virtually ensuring it would never get a vote. "And I said, welcome to fascism."

Overturning or undermining election results is what former President Donald Trump pressured state officials to do in battleground states after he lost the 2020 election, including in Arizona, where Bowers was personally cajoled by Trump himself. Trump failed in his efforts to subvert the election results, but he and his allies have pushed for new voting laws in key states that give partisans more control over elections.

Bowers' use of the "fascism" term is notable, considering the Republican backlash to President Joe Biden's recent remark that Trump's political movement resembles "semi-fascism."



 Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog

By Kirk Bangstad

Hi Folks, 

We’re in election mode right now, which means we’re spending a lot of Super PAC money on billboards and radio ads to get the vote out for Governor Tony Evers and U.S. Senate Candidate Mandela Barnes.

 I will touch on that at the end of this missive, but I wanted to spend this Sunday writing about something that scares me:  Democratic candidates chasing opinion/political polls that have been shaped by Republican messaging, and how that takes attention away from the existential issues of saving our democracy and getting women’s reproductive rights back. 

Think about it.  What are some of the Republican gimmicks that have DOMINATED the news but are relatively WAY less important than Trump almost getting away with stealing an election and Roe being overturned?  

DeSantis/Abbott shipping migrants to Martha’s Vineyard/ VP Kamala Harris’ house.

Calling to for the FBI to be abolished because they raided Trump’s house to take back stolen documents.

Blaming inflation on Biden/Evers when it is a global problem caused by pandemic-related supply chain issues and the Russian oil embargo.

Linking Evers/Barnes to increased crime, even though Wisconsin ranks fourth lowest violent crime rate in the Midwest and 20th lowest nationwide.

Blaming Evers on declining student test scores after a pandemic that disrupted education across the globe, Republicans defunding public education for over a decade, and screaming anti-mask lunatics attacking teachers and disrupting school board meetings across the state for months.

Creating a boogeyman out of “Critical Race Theory” --a subject that doesn’t even exist in K-12 curricula.

All of these gimmicks are ways to deflect attention away from the dominant issues of our time—an authoritarian cult of personality threatening to destroy democracy, and a movement to take control over women’s bodies. 

The problem is, it’s working. 

Every time I pulled up Instagram in the last few weeks, I saw Mandela Barnes defending his position on crime. By doing this, he has allowed himself to be framed by Republican rhetoric that plays on fear and racist tropes linking a black candidate to urban crime.  

What I would love to see is for Mandela to KEEP REMINDING the voters in Wisconsin that Ron Johnson agreed to hand over a fraudulent slate of electors from Wisconsin and Michigan to Mike Pence, played a criminal role in Trump’s conspiracy by repeating the "Big Lie" about election fraud, and supports Wisconsin’s 172-year-old law banning abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.  

I think the Evers’ campaign is doing a pretty good job because he’s largely framed his own issues.  His campaign has reminded voters that he has kept his promise to fix Wisconsin’s roads and helped small businesses rebound from the pandemic through the Main Street Bounceback Grant program. 

But just like Barnes, Evers’ has responded defensively to his opponent attacking him on education even though everyone knows he started out as a science teacher and has probably worked more passionately for public education than any other governor in America. What I would like to see for him is to never play defense and instead beat the drum that his Trump-backed opponent refuses to acknowledge that Wisconsin’s elections were legitimate and supports Wisconsin 172-year-old abortion ban. 

Why aren’t Evers and Barnes laser-focused on these two issues?  It's possible they are letting their pollsters get into their heads too much about what Wisconsin voters care about. 

What do voters care about? Unfortunately, too many of them care about the issues that show up in their social media echo chambers and from the news media they consume.  So if they’re hearing more about inflation or crime than the “Big Lie” or abortion because that’s the rhetoric they’re being fed, how do you think they will respond when a random pollster asks them what they care about?

 This is called the “tail wagging the dog.”  Somehow along the line, the Republican Party figured out that they could create issues out of whole cloth if they just told a lie or half-truth and hammered away at it for months at a time. 

The problem is that IF Democratic candidates in Wisconsin tailor their campaigns to talk about the issues their pollsters are telling them matter to voters the most, they too often fall into the trap of talking about issues created out of thin air with lies by Republican misinformation campaigns. 

That’s why I’m wary of spending too much time listening to polls. Not only do they often reflect issues framed by Republicans, they are often WAY OFF.  Below is a graph showing that the polls predicting that Biden would win in Wisconsin were off by 7% points, and Biden only won the race by less than 1%. 

It’s no secret that our country is on the precipice of becoming an authoritarian state and that women will suffer throughout our country now that Roe has been overturned.  We don’t need polls to tell us this. 

I’m truly hoping that Wisconsin democrats focus on these two existential issues throughout election day, November 8. 

Our Super PAC is laser-focused on these two issues, and we’re putting them out in radio ads in areas where gerrymandering all but guarantees Republican wins for every office on the ballot—like Merrill, Medford, Amery, Hayward, Richland Center, and Wisconsin Rapids.  These areas all have or will get soon getting new progressive radio stations that we've mentioned in past emails--a godsend for rural Wisconsin. 

Why are we focused on areas where Democrats can't win? Because the Democratic Party of Wisconsin can’t really spend a lot of money in these places when they’re trying help Democratic candidates get elected.  But what so many people forget is that in all of these areas, there are still PLENTY of Democratic voters who might stay home on November 8 because they see Trump signs on every corner and feel overwhelmed.  If we can show them that they’re not alone and help them realize that their vote is essential to holding Wisconsin’s democracy together, I have no doubt Evers and Barnes will win their races. 

Last week, you collectively donated over $12K with an average donation of $42 for this effort.  That’s awesome, and we can run a lot of ads with that money.  We’re hoping to raise $80K between last week and the first week of November to be able to keep these ads rolling in rural Wisconsin.  If you’d like to help, here’s link to donate. 

Thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with us.  We all need to do something during this election cycle. We can’t sit this one out.  Our neighbors in Wisconsin and the rest of America need us to get involved. 

Together, let’s remember our state's progressive roots, dig a little deeper, and deliver honest and good men to Wisconsin's Governor and Senator's office—one beer  at a time.

Kirk Bangstad

Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company

Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC 


Weekly News From Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair



We’ve known all along that November’s elections could be incredibly close. We’ve planned for exactly that scenario. So, the tighter-than-tight polling is nerve-wracking, it’s not a surprise—and we’re ready for a battle that will come down to a couple of votes per ward in every corner of the state.  

If you’ve turned on a screen anywhere in Wisconsin in the last month, you’re probably seen the ads. They’re reaching for their usual bag of tricks. The GOP is trying to distract, demonize, and divide. They’re trying to provoke fear and polarization.  

Why are they doing this? Because they know that most Wisconsin families want a Governor who does the right thing and a Senator who sticks up for working families—and they know the Republican candidates don’t meet that basic test.  

Tim Michels represents a radical extreme—funding groups that are pushing to ban not just abortion, but contraception. Ron Johnson has looted the Treasury to hand out tax cuts to his wealthiest donors and himself—and wants to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. It’s hard to imagine two politicians more out of touch. And you can tell from their campaigns that the GOP is terrified that voters will notice.  

How do we respond to this moment? By pointing out why the Republicans are doing what they’re doing. Yes, we’ll debunk their lies, and even more yes, we’ll counterpunch—and on top of that, we’ll connect the dots about why the GOP wants Wisconsinites afraid and alone. It’s when we unite, no matter where we live or what we look like, that we have the power to defend the middle class against those at the very top and the extreme MAGA right who want a Wisconsin, and an America, that serves only the few.  

Look back. 53 days ago, Tim Michels and Rebecca Kleefisch were neck and neck in the GOP primary and there were seven Democratic Senate candidates. The PACT Act for veterans’ health, the CHIPS act to build semiconductors in the US, the Inflation Reduction Act—all of these were bills, not U.S. laws. Student debt relief was an idea, not a reality.  

Now look forward. There are 53 days to go. So much will happen—things nobody can possibly predict. If anyone tells you they know what’s going to happen, see if they’ll bet money on it.  

But we know this: our values are Wisconsin’s values. Our candidates, up and down the ballot, are fighting for the spirit of a state that has progress in its spiritual DNA. And our work to elect those candidates, and build a state that works for all, makes a difference.  

Sure, read the polls. Sure, watch the ads. But no matter what, focus on doing the work. Let’s get the vote out, let’s protect the vote, let’s recruit everyone we know to help—and let’s win.  

In solidarity,  


P.S. History will be made on November 8. And then, just six months, later, it will be April 4—another election that will shape the future of Wisconsin. Trump’s dangerous hack Dan Kelly has now announced his campaign for re-election to the state Supreme Court. We have two great candidates running against him, and I hope you’ll welcome them both all over the state; we are of course neutral in their primary, but will be supporting one of them in the general election against Dan Kelly. And if you or anyone you know might want to run for local office this spring, now is the time to talk to your county party chair and start building your kitchen cabinet. We succeed when we think about every race in every place. Let’s sprint through the November 8 finish line—and then pick ourselves back up and get ready for next April. 


$25 Million More for Main Street: Gov. Evers Does The Right Thing For Wisconsin Small Businesses


On Tuesday, Gov. Evers announced an additional $25 million investment in his Main Street Bounceback Program, which, to date, has helped more than 6,200 Wisconsin small businesses and nonprofits open their doors or expand in our state. 

Gov. Evers is focused on doing the right thing for Wisconsin by supporting our local communities and main streets. Small businesses in all 72 counties have benefitted from Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback program, creating jobs, supporting local entrepreneurs, revitalizing downtown districts from Beloit to Superior. To learn (and share) more about what Governor Evers has done in your county, click on the map on this page!


Tim Michels, Eric Toney Headline Fundraiser With Disgraced Election “Investigator” Michael Gableman


Last weekend, Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels and Attorney General candidate Eric Toney joined the disgraced election “investigator” Michael Gableman at a GOP fundraising dinner. Like Gableman, Tim Michels and Eric Toney seek to threaten the future of democracy in Wisconsin. Unlike Gableman, they are candidates for statewide office.  

Michels has said that illegally decertifying the 2020 presidential election will be “on the table” and will not commit to certifying Wisconsin’s vote for president in 2024 if he becomes governor and Trump loses. Toney has been endorsed by Gableman and acted on recommendations from Gableman’s widely discredited report, calling for the removal of five members of Wisconsin’s bipartisan election commission—something that is impossible under the law and represents a dangerous corruption of our election oversight systems. 

Toney and Michels’ appearance on the campaign trail with Wisconsin’s leading election conspiracy theorist, a man who wasted over $1 million taxpayer dollars on a sham investigation and suggested the legislature should consider illegally decertifying President Biden’s victory in our state, tells Wisconsin voters all they need to know about where the GOP’s priorities lie. You can see a video of an interchange at the event here. Election deniers should not be choosing the people who oversee our elections—period. 


Two Rons Don’t Make A Right: WisDems Call Out Ron Johnson, Tim Michels For Aligning With Ron DeSantis


Today, WisDems joined Rep. Kristina Shelton, Social Security recipients Kim Javns and Karen Hayward, and Women’s Rights Green Bay Co-Organizer Adrianna Pokela to condemn Ron Johnson and Tim Michels for aligning with Ron DeSantis and his radical policies. 

Ahead of a Sunday campaign rally in which Connecticut-based politician Tim Michels and Florida devotees Ron Johnson and Ron DeSantis will converge on Green Bay to spread their divisive agenda, speakers called out Michels’ attempts to bring DeSantis’ radical policies to Wisconsin and Johnson’s self-serving agenda. 

Not that anyone will be around to listen to Michels, Johnson, and DeSantis – leave it to the out-of-state Republican candidates to pursue policies that leave Wisconsinites behind while holding a campaign rally minutes before a Packers game.


Ron Johnson Co-Sponsored Federal Abortion Ban Legislation Seven Times


This week, Wisconsinites were reminded of Ron Johnson’s extremist, out-of-touch anti-abortion record after Senator Lindsey Graham proposed a new federal 15-week abortion ban. 

Since 2013, Johnson has co-sponsored every version of Graham’s abortion ban introduced in the Senate. On top of that, he celebrated when the conservative majority on the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, calling the decision a victory despite it criminalizing nearly all abortions in Wisconsin. Whatever he might be saying now, his record is crystal clear: Ron Johnson supports abortion bans, here in Wisconsin and nationwide.


Coalition Of Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officers Endorse Mandela Barnes For Senate