Saturday, September 16, 2006


Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's Here! - WI Democratic AG Primary Analysis

I finally finished my map of the Democratic AG primary results. Red is Falk, blue is Lautenschlager. The intensity of the color shows how strongly each county went for one of the candidates. As you can see there's a rather strong pattern across the state.

Now compare the election results to the map below of the major Wisconsin media markets.

Notice that the election results align remarkably well with the media markets, particularly the Wausau/Rhinelander (2) and the La Crosse/Eau Claire (5) markets. This tells me that Falk's TV ads, particularly the rather nasty attack ad she ran only outside of the Madison area, probably determined the outcome of the race. You can see the ad here:

Yes boys and girls, money does buy elections, and negative ads do work. But what surprised me most is that they worked so well in this case. I've always imagined primary voters to be far more politically informed and less likely to be influenced by such tactics than general election voters.

I was wrong.

- Many thanks to Jim S who collected the data and did all the preliminary number crunching for this project. It would have been a heck of a lot harder without him.

UPDATE: One of my sources has confirmed that Falk ran lots of ads in the Wausau/Rhinelander and the La Crosse/Eau Claire markets, while Lautenschlager was dark in those areas due to lack of funds. You rarely see such a clear and obvious example of the power of money in politics as in the results of this race.

Analysis of WI Dem AG primary ... soon

One of the reasons I started this blog was because it lets me use graphics and images more effectively than on the many discussion groups to which I belong. Political analysis involves lots of data, and people can absorb far more information when it's presented visually

Right now I'm working on a color-coded map that will show the results of the Democratic AG primary race on a county-by-county basis. Some interesting trends are showing up already, even though I only have a fraction of the data entered. I should have it posted by tomorrow, so be sure to check back.

9/11 Remembered

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And the BIG primary winner was...

...probably not who you think. The real Democratic winner on Tuesday was Jim Doyle. Not only did he take down Peg Lautenschlager, the only prominent Democrat left in Wisconsin who was willing to stand up to him, but Steve Kagen's win in the 8th CD also neutralized what was potentially a huge drain on Doyle's ability to fundraise for the general election. Kagen is quite wealthy, and will largely self-fund his race against John Gard, freeing up millions of dollars to go into other hot contests like, for instance, the governor's race.

And the big losers on Tuesday were Wisconsin progressives, because Peg's loss eliminated the only effective opposition to Doyle within the Democratic party of Wisconsin. Which isn't to say that Kathleen Falk isn't a progressive, but it's very unlikely she'll bite the hand that feeds her by challenging Doyle in any meaningful way.

Politics is the intersection of self-interest and power. It's like a huge game of chess using live pieces, and politicians move those pieces to their advantage. Jim Doyle has shown once again that he's a master at this game. The problem, of course, is that the interests of the people at the top of the party don't always coincide with the interests of the party as a whole.

This primary was a classic example.

The War on Terror

When things seem ass-backwards, always look to see who's benefiting from the situation.


I'm tired of watching my candidates lose elections. All my adult life the liberal/progressive left has been giving up ground. Who's responsible? What can we do about it? I hope this blog will provide some answers and guidance. We can change things, and that change has to start within the Democratic Party.

Grassroots change always starts at the bottom, so much of the focus of this blog will be on the county (Dane) and state (Wisconsin) where I live. But my intent is to tie this into a bigger picture, because the game of politics is played the same way no matter where you are. So sit back and enjoy the ride...