About 10 minutes past 8 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2018, I sat nervously in the back of an Uber with another intern en route to Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s, D-Wis., election night watch party. Before we even reached the event, our phones buzzed — multiple sources projected Baldwin would win her re-election bid.
A wave of excitement and victory hit me in that less-than-climatic moment while still in the car. And while the Senate race was anti-climatic and finished up just after the polls closed, Tony Evers’ gubernatorial bid was the exact opposite — his win wasn’t called until 1:30 the next morning. When it was all said and done, Baldwin won by more than 10 percent, while Evers won by less than 2 percent and less than 30,000 votes.
There was a substantial portion of Baldwin voters who also voted for Walker, a sign that the so-called “blue-wave” did not wash over every voter the same. Similarly, Baldwin managed to win 17 counties that President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Blue wave supporters must show up to support Tammy BaldwinUS Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, spoke on campus last Thursday at the Badgers for Tammy kickoff meeting which several progressive student organizations Read…
At first glance, it would be easy to assume that Baldwin ran a moderate and neutral campaign in an attempt to woo the centrist voters that Democratic pundits seem to fantasize over. But that’s just wrong.
Around the turn of the millenium, Baldwin advocated for universal healthcare, 20 years before it became the popular stance in progressive circles. Additionally, she has advocated for going beyond the current picture of Obamacare and creating a single-payer option for medical care, which is one of the more progressive healthcare variants to tout.
Baldwin has advocated for worker’s rights, proposing legislation that would put workers on the corporate boards of public companies — a step to eliminate the wealth gap and give power back in the hands of those who make this country and its companies run.
The list can go on, but in no way would anyone classify Baldwin as moderate — she’s a proud and true progressive who survived re-election in spite of millions of dollars in dark outside spending against her.
Bon Iver, Tammy Baldwin call for more than just casting ballotsA highly contested election met one of Wisconsin’s greatest musical minds at The Sylvee Saturday evening. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Read…
Baldwin announced that she will not be running for president in 2020, making her seemingly one of the only viable Democrats who is not pursuing the post. But that doesn’t mean that she’s not on the national radar. “New York Magazine” deemed Baldwin the “Most Electable Candidate,” and there’s the Tammy Tammy 2020 Twitter account, a fan account that cheers on their ideal ticket, Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois.
Both of these get to a similar point — people want Baldwin.
In part, this is because of the fact that Baldwin is a type of politician who shows she actually cares about her constituents, not only climbing the political ladder. She cares about the families of the Midwest and knows that she can run as unapologetically progressive — and win.
It’s hard to prove a candidate’s electability. And while sources like Five Thirty Eight may try to hone in on every portion and side of a politician in order to statistically prove their chances, it’s not an exact science. What we do know is that authenticity — like that shown by Beto O’Rourke in his failed bid for Texas Senate — is a way to win voters, and is a way to be successfully progressive in places where “convention” says stay moderate.
2016 showed how Wisconsin and the Midwest paved the way for a Trump victory, and there is little to no doubt that our beloved “fly-over” lands will be some of the most prized states come November 2020. In order to win states like Wisconsin, politicians will need to show that they care about Wisconsinites and their well-being — without sacrificing their progressive aspirations.
While many candidates look toward Iowa — where the first 2020 caucus will be held — for campaigning, contenders like Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, have already begun campaigning in Wisconsin, stopping in Eau Claire this past weekend for an official campaign event.
There’s no reason for progressives to surrender to the idea of centrism, especially if one shows that they’re fighting for every Wisconsin family. 2020 hopefuls should take a page out of the Baldwin playbook to win both the Midwest and the White House. It’s a method that has won and will continue to win.
Adam Ramer ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science and history.