Dear Illinois, we’re working to dump Trump up here in Wisconsin, too
A Wisconsin reader responds to a Sun-Times editorial, written in the form of a letter, urging the state to vote out the president
We know you meant well in your last letter. And we are always happy to hear from you! But we have to say, you were a little condescending. Though we know that wasn’t your intention, we worry that very attitude is why someone like Donald Trump was able to win so many Midwestern states like our own in 2016.
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We are not monolithic. To reductively speak to us as such is probably why so many campaigns across the board have failed to capture strong Midwestern support. In fact, Donald Trump won our state by only about 20,000 votes in 2016 — and with about 2,000 fewer votes than Mitt Romney received in 2012, when Barack Obama won our state.
Perhaps we should spend this moment talking about the real and serious issues of voter suppression and voter apathy, rather than pointing fingers.
We also encourage you to consider the position from where you’re writing. Sure, Illinois goes blue in presidential elections, but one could very well argue it’s because of Chicago and its suburbs alone. Of Illinois’ 102 counties, 90 voted for Trump in 2016. Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, 60 voted for Trump. Furthermore, Republican voters in Illinois actually picked Trump in the Republican primary in 2016, whereas ours voted for Ted Cruz.
You mentioned that we will always “have our differences” on “stuff like taxes and guns and racism and the proper role of government.” We’re not sure what you’re implying there, since we have a strong progressive history here in Wisconsin.
We are the home of “The Wisconsin Idea,” a series of political reforms led by Gov. Bob La Follette around the turn of the 20th Century that meant to do away with monopolies and predatory wealth. We pioneered workers’ rights, put an emphasis on high-quality state-funded universities, passed legislation prohibiting pollution and police brutality, and proposed the first state income taxes and progressive taxes.
We set an example for the whole country to follow. That progressivism still remains a strong tenet in Wisconsin ideology. In fact, Bernie Sanders won our Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Hillary Clinton won your primary in Illinois.
Look, we don’t want Trump to win this election, either. We’re making a historic effort to get out the vote this year and get back to the roots we’re proud of. But if he does win our state, please just keep in mind that we’re doing everything we can to be there for each other. We all know it’s been a difficult year. We’re not interested in blaming anyone — we’re interested in trying to understand each other better.
Oh, and that cabin rental you mentioned? Sure, that sounds fine! But for the record, it would be nice to hear from you at times other than when you’re coming to vacation here or when you want to blame us for election results.
In solidarity, Wisconsin
(Margaret Koss, Elkhorn)
Dump the GOP? Then dump Madigan, too
A reader wrote, in a letter on Sunday, that “Republicans at the national level must be defeated. As long as they are in power . . . they will see reform as an erosion of their power.” Couldn’t this also be said of the Democrats at the local level here in Illinois?
Mario Caruso, Lincoln Square