Searching for its identity, Democrats should lose identity politics

Maybe, deep down, he’s still that ethnic Catholic-Polish kid who grew up on Milwaukee’s blue collar south side. Because every once in awhile, former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz makes a lot of sense.

How many Madison liberals, progressives, and socialists go gunning for Bambi in Wisconsin’s deep north woods? Mayor Dave does.


Bernie Sanders’ Madison, not Donald Trump’s Sawyer County

Now Cieslewicz (pronounced just like it is spelled) has gone hunting for that Democrat(ic) party that dominated our beloved Wisconsin from the death of Sen. Joe McCarthy in 1957 until the advent of Tommy Thompson in 1986 — coughed and sputtered through the Jim Doyle years (what WAS the point?) — then flickered out sometime during the Occupation of the State Capitol in 2011.

Today, Wisconsin Democrats are at their lowest ebb since, well, 1957. That’s 60 years, folks. In the special election to replace Tailgunner Joe, a Democrat named Bill Proxmire won on third try for statewide office. A year later, Gaylord Nelson became the first Democratic governor since one-term Al Schmedeman (a former Madison mayor, wouldn’t you know?) in 1932. The present Squire’s paterfamilias was elected to the Legislature as a Democrat the following year (1959) in the musical chairs to replace Nelson*. The Democratic resurgence was on.

After recounting how Republicans have turned Wisconsin dark red, Cieslewicz asks “How could it possibly have gotten this bad?” In the current Isthmus (“Lost in Wisconsin“) Cieslewicz “looks for a path to Democratic victory.”

Only victims admitted to Democrats’ tent

Citizen Dave dismisses the gerrymandering excuse so favored by the losers, so clueless they kept their Assembly minority leader just as national Democrats retained the aging Pelosi regime. Instead, Cieslewicz makes the case that Democrats have got to deep six their fixation on identity grievance politics. He quotes nationally known Dem pollster Paul Maslin:

He believes that the party hits on the diversity message to such an unrelenting extent, “that anybody who’s not black or Latino or gay or urban hip feels like they’re put off, that they’re not part of the special club.”

Even Mahlon Mitchell, a black man who heads the statewide union of firefighters and was a star of the Act 10 protests six years ago, admits:

Our membership is probably 95 percent white guys, and a lot of them voted for Trump,” he says. “They just didn’t feel that Hillary Clinton was speaking to them.”

“The idea that working-class voters are too dense to understand their own interests is condescending, counterproductive and wrong,” Cieslewicz writes.

It is a theme that the Policy Werkes here at Stately Blaska Manor teaches here at the On-Line AcademyTrump’s victory was much more than a reaction to a stagnant economy. It was blowback against the smugness of all the liberal Jon Stewarts, a reaffirmation of guns and religion, an uprising of the Deplorables. And a beat-down of the constant race-baiting, special pleading of the Al Sharptons and — let’s say it — The Capital Times, whose editor bows and scrapes as a penitent for the sin of being “a relatively well-off white man.”

It is what motivates too many on Madison’s Common Council to buy the Big Lie that the Madison Police Department is the problem, not the culture of dependency that has enfeebled too many minority communities, suckled as they have been on the Great Society’s hind teat of victimhood.

And maybe, just maybe, Democrats ought to care about people trying to make a living more than “the Environment.” Citizen Dave Cieslewicz asks:

If liberals didn’t fight so hard to save every single wolf, would that really be so bad? Would I sacrifice a wolf or two to pick up an Assembly seat?

Apostate Democrat! Repent, or (Cue Das Valkyrie) be marginalized!

Platinum subscriber marginalia

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, Democrat and relatively well-off white man, said (as quoted by The Hill) the Democratic Party has moved “very far to the left” over the past five or six years. Webb said the Democratic Party’s message has “been shaped toward identity politics.”

That would be the very purpose of the Women’s March! “Since when is being a woman a liberal cause?” asks the NY Times, for once, getting it right.

The critical fallacy in the liberal logic of identity politics is that groups don’t think homogeneously; they don’t behave homogeneously. — Mary Matalin, former Republican strategist; now Libertarian.

* Always redolent of fertile loam and grease, Father Jerome said, before his untimely passing at age 80, “I didn’t leave the Democrat(ic) party, it left me.”


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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13 Responses to Searching for its identity, Democrats should lose identity politics

  1. John Freitag says:

    Don’t we know

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Madison Expat says:

    Dems playbook:
    1) break Americans up into tribes
    2) totally piss off the biggest tribe
    3) begin tribal war
    4) wonder what happened


    • old baldy says:

      Now you are stealing the playbook from walker’s divide and conquer agenda, and Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Can’t you think of something original?


  3. Madison Expat says:

    And hey ABob, how ’bout that Pants Suit Nation tribe?


  4. coolkevs says:

    Went to talk by Mike McCabe over the weekend. He gets it to an extent, but I did not hear addressed the bad behavior of the left/news media and how that doesn’t help “the cause”. The hinterlands may not have high speed Internet access, but they do have TV’s and the outrage du’jour is probably not a good look. He kept going on about the Walker “divide and conquer” strategy when isn’t that the strategy of any political party? He also talked about a “third way” which seemed to involve getting the rural vote together with the inner city vote because they have more in common economically. Be careful what you wish for if Trump can follow through on his campaign promise to help inner cities.
    Isn’t it amusing that Trump is the first “politician” in history to even attempt to follow through on his campaign promises?


  5. Dave, not B says:

    I have to admit I once voted for a democrat. I hate myself to this day for doing it. Turns out the candidate was nothing like the newspapers claimed. Fortunately that person is now out of office for good.

    The dems claimed to know what was good for me better than I did. Wrong! Their lack of critical thinking has cost them control of Congress and the White House. Good for them. And Cecil Wicz has finally admitted that error. What are the chances he could get every other democrat to admit the error of their ways and turn around? Close to zero. It will be great for conservatives to make further gains in the next several elections.


  6. Madison Expat says:

    Old Baldy

    The difference?
    Walker and Nixon are winners.
    Try harder.


  7. Madison Expat says:


    What do you call his 49 state sweep in 1972?


  8. LiberalTruthTeller says:

    55% of White Womyn voted Trump.

    That was the REAL Womyn’s March on Washington….tens of millions strong.


  9. Meade says:

    Great article by Citizen Dave. Very revealing. The best part was his interview with Tia Nelson, daughter of former Governor Gaylord Nelson. Can Democrats take her advice? — “Go talk to somebody who is not like you.” I doubt it. Party Dems are addicted to their identity politics.

    Kathy Cramer’s “The Politics of Resentment” is touted, by Dems from Cieslewicz to Soglin, as a way of understanding how (D) Party voters could have turned out to be Trump voters. But the Cieslewicz and Soglin Dems are not working-class and middle-class Dems. They are professional-class and establishment.

    It’s easy for them to read Cramer’s book and focus on the resentment of others. What is beyond them is to look in their mirror and discern the resentment THEY have toward working-class Americans’ love of country. Like many establishment politicos, Democrat and Republican, they are for open borders and are fundamentally sympathetic to wild predatory wolves and criminal immigrants first and to middle-class working-class Americans second.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. madisonexpat says:

    Citizen Dave begins to get it.
    Ask anyone, “Was America ever great?”
    Its a great debate question but the answer is Yes but its been awhile..


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