Nik Nelson, Publisher
Chris Rochester, Editor-in-Chief

The Story
Morning Martini was born in October of 2013 over cocktails at a dive in Wauwatosa. Shortly before bar time, as memory serves, Nik and Chris decided they needed to start a website and that it needed to be called Morning Martini.

And so it was. The audience was small at the start. But Morning Martini's unique style, grassroots focus, and insightful analysis attracted a loyal following all around the state. Shortly before 2014 turned into 2015, Morning Martini celebrated 30,000 visitors - and dozens of toldjaso moments, most notably in foreseeing the shape of the Mary Burke campaign and her defeat.

Morning Martini loyally sticks to its raison d'être: to provide a laser-focused grassroots perspective on Wisconsin with smart analysis and wit.

It's a great time for Wisconsin politics, which means it's an even better time to write about Wisconsin politics. Pour yourself a drink and join us for the ride.

In its analyses and investigations, Morning Martini’s staff subscribes to these tenets:

1. There is no room here for the gotcha games governing parts of the conservative blogosphere and pockets of talk radio; its participants play an important role to bring to light the inconsistencies and hypocrisies so common among Wisconsin’s left-wing acolytes. Here, it is not enough: If you said A and then acted in accordance with B, what does that mean? is our ongoing thesis.

2. Republicans are learning to beat Democrats and Democrats are losing their grip on reliable voting blocks. We use the R-word and D-word carefully and intentionally. While the principled and dogmatic war is fought between conservatives and progressives and their associated volunteers and grassroots spinoffs, decisions are made and money is allocated by Party leaders, elected and hired. It is not an ideal scenario, but is the reality. And while Republican leaders often inspire the excitement of a mossy log half-submerged in a creaking bog, they are the faces of the right, and they cannot be replaced and their influence cannot be ebbed if not by a concerted effort by the grassroots that works within the Party.

3. The Walker policies that ended expensive agreements with unionized state employees were correct and we will actively bring to light the fruits of this conservative victory. The last four years are a step-by-step playbook to be templated and adopted by states suffering similar afflictions as Wisconsin had, hopefully with fewer recall elections, and we predict to see the same process implemented elsewhere around the country with positive results.

4. Scott Walker should run for president in 2016 and he could win.

5. Our enemies list includes the entrenched, boring Democrats who uphold dogmatic liberalism under the ostensible banner of equality without practical regard to the equality of inputs and outputs, socially or economically. Their names are Ron Kind, Jennifer Shilling, Christine Sinicki and Gwen Moore, among others whose despicable politics on the surface trumpet opportunity but in practice leverage the worst in people under the guise of bringing out the best. The bomb-throwing kook class is less insidious than those who so reliably toe the party line; the kooks are at least sincere in their socialist delusions while the party loyalists wiggle themselves into a mold that more easily earns the votes of their constituents.

6. Senator Ron Johnson will face a difficult re-election that is not guaranteed. His likely opponent is Ron Kind from Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. Some have heard whispers of Russ Feingold crawling out of an anonymous retirement to exact revenge on the man who ended his political career. Wisconsin Republicans have not fared well in Senate races during Presidential election years, and as the politically dichotomous population proved in 2012’s general election, just five months after Governor Walker beat the recall, a Republican wave one second was not indicative of assured victory the next. Sen. Johnson is driven by cold pragmatism, a liability against a Democrat whose specialty has been Shyster politics.

Revisionist History

A frequent criticism was that Republicans are terrible at politics while our opposition thrives on it, often at the expense of good policy. The results of the 2014 elections in Wisconsin could encourage a belief otherwise. Reports of institutional progress made at the party level suggest a more robust Republican machine to encourage the right people to vote and to carefully deliver the right messages at the appropriate time. Meanwhile, Democrats in Wisconsin are calling for their party’s political leader’s head; the associated dramatics are certainly entertaining.

We believe this recent poignant Republican victory is a function of three elements: First, that Scott Walker is a political powerhouse who has the capacity to deliver votes from the party’s base, from moderates, and from certain factions of the left; second, that the Republican political machine has made strides to improve its GOTV efforts; and third, that the President of the United States has enabled the true colors of modern liberals to shine brilliantly, resulting in a horrified American voting base who can’t spit out the sour residue of socialist politic, and whose reaction was quite candidly on display on November 4, 2014.

While Republicans must enjoy the victory, the party apparatus is not solely responsible; they were an effective cog in an elaborate machine. They must now double down, and they have just a few short years to do so.


We divined not very far into the governor’s race that Mary Burke was a hairdo. We were right.