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In the News

ICYMI: Washington Post: “Tammy Baldwin has picked the lock on split-ticket voters”

ICYMI: Washington Post: “Tammy Baldwin has picked the lock on split-ticket voters”

In case you missed it, this morning the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin in a new op-ed highlighted Tammy Baldwin’s track record of putting Wisconsinites first and winning support from voters across the political spectrum. The piece details Tammy’s focus on rural issues, infrastructure, and freedom for all Wisconsinites. “Potholes aren’t red or blue,” she said.

 

Key excerpts:

Washington Post: Tammy Baldwin has picked the lock on split-ticket voters

Democrats agonizing over how to appeal to rural and White working-class voters might want to talk to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). One of the most progressive members in the Senate, she nevertheless has figured out how to turn her narrowly divided state into a place where, with the right message, Democrats can notch a big win. […]

[A]t a forge company, an operator responsible for pouring molten iron into molds asked in reference to then-President Donald Trump, “Why you always picking on my president?” She joked back, “Sometimes he deserves it!” She got a small smile out of him. She then went on to talk about her support for “Buy American” to ensure government purchases come from U.S. companies. Asked afterward who he would vote for, the voter said Baldwin. He explained his rationale for being pro-Trump and pro-Baldwin: “They both are for Buy American.” […]

“​​Baldwin’s success is proof of some basic political nostrums. If you work incredibly hard, pay close attention to your state and solve people’s daily problems, partisan labels means less. Moreover, framing social issues as matters of “rights and freedoms” allows her to reach voters who don’t normally consider themselves to be ‘progressive.’”

 

 

See below for the full op-ed:

 

Washington Post: Tammy Baldwin has picked the lock on split-ticket voters

Democrats agonizing over how to appeal to rural and White working-class voters might want to talk to Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). One of the most progressive members in the Senate, she nevertheless has figured out how to turn her narrowly divided state into a place where, with the right message, Democrats can notch a big win.

In the wake of Judge Janet Protasiewicz’s win by 11 percentage points in the state Supreme Court race, Baldwin told me in an interview on Capitol Hill, “She blew right through my record!” Baldwin won by about 10 percentage points in 2018 — vastly outpacing other Democrats running statewide. (Gov. Tony Evers won by about 1 percentage point, as did attorney general candidate Josh Kaul.) She predicted “rights and freedoms” will be just as salient in 2024 as they were in Protasiewicz’s campaign.

To explain her success, she shared two anecdotes. At a roundtable at a dairy farm, she met with a crowd that doesn’t frequently vote for Democrats. One voter needled her a bit. “Is that your truck out there?” she asked. “Well I have one just like it.” Touting her support for rural development and infrastructure, she said, “Potholes aren’t red or blue.” Asked after the event if he would vote Republican, the voter said no. “Did you listen to her? She’s working on my issues.”

Similarly, at a forge company, an operator responsible for pouring molten iron into molds asked in reference to then-President Donald Trump, “Why you always picking on my president?” She joked back, “Sometimes he deserves it!” She got a small smile out of him. She then went on to talk about her support for “Buy American” to ensure government purchases come from U.S. companies. Asked afterward who he would vote for, the voter said Baldwin. He explained his rationale for being pro-Trump and pro-Baldwin: “They both are for Buy American.”

Baldwin’s point: On a given issue, she shows an issue can “break through.” And for her, those issues mean keeping the interests of the dairy industry and, more generally, rural America front and center. She pointed out that there are about 170,000 lead water lines in Wisconsin. To eliminate “that grave danger for children whose brains are developing” would cost a rural community tens of millions of dollars, sending utility prices skyrocketing. Instead, the bipartisan infrastructure bill will help fund those repairs — and bring broadband to rural areas and repair roads and bridges. (In rural areas, she noted, “Driving is part of your life.”)

She fully intends to tout the impact of the infrastructure bill. However, because “not a single Republican” in the Wisconsin delegation voted for the law, she joked, “Here we call it the Democratic Infrastructure Law.” Democrats “need to make sure we get credit.”

Baldwin is unapologetic on social issues. “You need look no further than the state Supreme Court race,” she argued, to see that freedom of choice is an issue that unites people across party lines. “If Republicans think we are moving on, they are sadly mistaken,” she vowed. When it comes to banning books, preventing teaching parts of history and ostracizing LGBTQ children, “There will be a day when the reaction is as strenuous as it is now on abortion,” she predicted.

On guns, she pointed out that in a very gerrymandered state, you “see a difference between the state legislature and the average voter.” Republicans are trying to make gun access even easier. “I don’t think the Wisconsin public or even gun-owning public is in line with that,” she said. And though she thinks there’s support nationally for gun safety, there is also a “disconnect” between Congress and the public. She said the bipartisan gun bill was modest but “it wasn’t nothing.” She predicted Congress will have a vote on other measures (even if they don’t pass).

On some issues, she takes a more nuanced view. She favors a “talking filibuster” rather than complete repeal, defers to Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) on the “blue slip” process for judicial confirmations and isn’t ready to get behind one or another scheme to reform the Supreme Court (e.g., term limits, expansion), although she is adamant that “the Supreme Court should be governed by a code of ethics like the rest of that branch.” As for Justice Clarence Thomas, she thinks an outside investigation “needs to happen.”

She made a critical point about the court: “We have an obligation to make sure the public is educated about how we got here.” The Supreme Court should be “part of their calculus” in selecting presidents and senators. She acknowledged that Republicans have successfully done this over decades, so now Democrats must as well.

Baldwin’s success is proof of some basic political nostrums. If you work incredibly hard, pay close attention to your state and solve people’s daily problems, partisan labels means less. Moreover, framing social issues as matters of “rights and freedoms” allows her to reach voters who don’t normally consider themselves to be “progressive.”

Certainly, Baldwin’s reelection prospects will be greatly affected by the presidential race. However, don’t be surprised if she runs far ahead of the top of the ticket. She’s done it before and knows precisely how to extend her winning streak.