In today’s political climate, it is no longer enough to make a protest sign and take to the streets. The best way to make change happen is not only to go to the polls but to vote strategically.

The time has come for those who are unhappy with Gov. Scott Walker. In order to remove Walker from the governorship, the Democrats must elect a moderate candidate to take on Walker. This is the best chance of a blue win and for a bright future of Wisconsin.

Walker has been in office for eight long years and has defunded public schools while bolstering restrictions on welfare and the Affordable Care Act. But, in his re-election campaign, he is proposing a $200 million program to strengthen the ACA, which goes against his past political beliefs and the usual Republican platform of tax cuts. This is a sure sign that Walker knows what’s coming. The political pendulum is beginning to swing to the left and to combat it, the once conservative Governor is proposing more moderate — I dare say liberal — legislation.

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The reason for this is clear — if Walker wants to win this next election, he must have to appeal to the moderates of the Republican party that he pushed so far away in his time as governor so far. Due to this attempt, it is vital for the Democratic party to elect a candidate in the primaries who can appeal to this voting population. As much as the liberal college Democrats and “wanna-be” socialists want to vote for the candidate who is farthest left, the reality is that in Wisconsin, that person isn’t going to beat Walker.

It is time to swallow one’s pride and vote tactically, which may mean voting for the candidate that is most likely to beat Walker, rather than the candidate that matches every single personal political view a particular voter may have.

Do not be overwhelmed by the packed Democratic ballot — most of the people running do not have a chance against Walker. There are 16 Democrats running this cycle, many of whom have little political experience and struggle with funding.

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The candidates range in their political stances, but most of the Democratic candidates are running on platforms of fair wages, education and environmental issues. Some of the candidates focus on bridging the political gap between our polarized parties. These are the people to focus on in the upcoming months.

Evers, Gronik and McCabe have all highlighted bipartisanship in their campaigns, for these reasons it is important to pay attention to them. Tony Evers is the Superintendent of State Schools. He is running to put an end to the deep political cleavage that Walker has embedded in the state

Andy Gronik is a political newbie, but he said he is a “…business leader with progressive values.” Public health care and education are the main part of his platform.  Mike McCabe founded the non-profit group Blue Jean Nation in 2015, his platform includes expanding BadgerCare to all Wisconsin residents, increasing the access to high-speed internet, pushing for clean energy within the state and increasing minimum wage.  All of these candidates provide something different — but in the end — are the antithesis of Walker’s beliefs.

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By building bridges these candidates draw in the moderates while appealing to those who vote along party lines. This is what democracy was meant to do. No one candidate is perfect, but voting for a more moderate Democratic candidate in the primaries will increase the likelihood of a blue success. Wisconsin is a state filled with conservative Republicans, the Governor must represent them all. As heartbreaking as this is for the socialist-admiring college kids — it’s the truth.

Leaders in a democracy are meant to serve their constituents. Many of the candidates listed above prove to have that mindset. And it is quite obvious that Walker does not. It’s time to take Walker down. But to do so, we need to amp our strategy up.

Emiliana Almanza Lopez ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in sociology and environmental science.