Laning Wins!

With Martha Laning in the driver’s seat, this is what we should expect from the party ahead of the 2016 cycle.

  • A deliberate move away from being anti-Republican and pro-whatever their cause of the day is. Based on her platform and campaign, I think they’ve figured out that running against Scott Walker and against conservative reforms is a losing strategy.
  • A cohesive message across the party apparatus, from staff to legislators to operatives. She promises a “flexible messaging manual” that outlines the party’s message with explanations for why they believe what they do, as progressives, including a choose-your-own-adventure-style guidebook to get through to those thicker-skulled Republican inbreds. “Unified progressive messaging is essential to branding what Democrats stand for,” she says on her website, in an unironically Orwellian tone. Fortunately, as soon as people understand the mechanics of left-wing politics, they naturally eschew it. This strategy also reinforces the consistent argument I’ve made that Gov. Walker has mastered the ability to outline a vision them implement it, which is why he’s been successful here over the last five years.
  • Returning dues to County Parties. This is a weird one. In the RPW, County Parties are where membership starts; Democrats have to pay a tithe to the state party. She hopes to return 50% of county membership dues locally and offers an incentive program to give even more. (Though, in line with their politics, shouldn’t county parties get what the state party determines they need, and nothing more, regardless of how much they’re able to drive in membership dues?)

This is all good news for conservatives. She wants to tell the stories of progressivism and liberalism in Wisconsin, which are proven to be losing narratives.

She also has the task of building a bench and finding someone to legitimately challenge whoever’s governor at the end of this term. With Russ Feingold having cleared the bench, our early money goes back to Ron Kind, in which case these succession scenarios might come into play.

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.