Back In The Saddle…

Wow. What a ride.

The last time I wrote on this blog, I was chiming in on Congressman Ron Kind being cornered at the Democratic National Convention by Bernie Sanders supporters. Before that, I was poking fun at Sen. Jennifer Shilling for demanding Republicans denounce Trump for his most recent offensive statement.

In the intervening time, Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic nomination. Wisconsin Republicans spent months sweating bullets over the impact of Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket. The intelligentsia was nearly certain Senator Ron Johnson would lose big to Russ Feingold. Legislative Democrats in Wisconsin were expecting to pick up some seats, national Dems expected to re-take the U.S. Senate, and some were even flirting with the idea of re-taking the House.

My oh my, have things changed.

Trump is now the President-elect. Wisconsin went for the GOP presidential nominee for the first time since Reagan’s 49-state sweep in 1984. Ron Johnson was handily re-elected, the first Republican to be re-elected in a presidential year since 1980. The GOP retained control of both houses of Congress. In Wisconsin, the Republicans actually gained seats in both chambers. Longtime state Senator Julie Lassa lost to Republican challenger Pat Testin. Shilling pulled off her re-election, but only by 58 votes – that race is headed to a probable recount. In any event, the Wisconsin GOP enjoys its largest Assembly majority since 1957 and its largest Senate majority since 1971 – 1967 if Kapanke pulls it off.

Paul Ryan is cruising to a unanimous re-election as House Speaker. Wisconsin’s own Reince Priebus is Trump’s incoming chief of staff. Wisconsin’s Diane Sykes in on a short list to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. The Packers suck.

Since my last post, conservative stalwart radio host and RightWisconsin editor Charlie Sykes announced his retirement. His station, TMJ, is moving away from a conservative format. Madison’s left-wing Devil’s Advocates radio program is going off the air. There has been a considerable shakeup in the Wisconsin blabbosphere.

It’s been a busy election season, filled with the most improbable twists and turns, events that will go down in American history as major inflection points. For that reason in part, Morning Martini took a back seat to other endeavors. Perhaps that’s a good thing; the political moment when we went quiet just a few months ago is there, on the front page of this blog, frozen like a time capsule, putting into context the enormity of the seismic shift in the landscape that could easily be lost amid the staccato din of the 24/7 cable news cycle.

It’s for that reason that I’m back in the saddle – this singular moment in history is too big an opportunity to let pass by.

About the writer: Chris Rochester is editor in chief of Morning Martini. He’s an armchair politico, veteran of several campaigns, and communications specialist. He's the communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.