The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.
The Georgia 6th Congressional Special Election is over and now we’re left with the carnage and an important question; “What does it all mean for 2018?” Analysts always over analyze these special elections, but the question is being asked all across the country. In Wisconsin, the biggest impact may be on the U.S. Senate race a little more than 16 months away. President Trump loomed large over the Georgia 6th, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Conventional wisdom says that Tammy Baldwin should have smooth sailing for the next 16 months. The first mid-term election for a new President usually goes against their party, and Senator Baldwin is sitting on a sizable war chest after defeating a popular former governor to win her seat. Like Ossoff, Baldwin will not have a cash flow problem.
But make no mistake, Baldwin is vulnerable and the very President that changed all the rules may be the key to the GOP winning this senate seat in 2018. Trump reversed a long trend of Wisconsin going “blue” in presidential years because a large portion of Wisconsinites felt both parties in Madison and Washington had ignored them. The reason the VA scandal will be a big issue next year is because these patriotic Americans saw Senator Baldwin and the federal government ignoring the needs of its bravest citizens and feel the same sense of being overlooked. Worse yet for Baldwin, there’s a credible argument she dropped the ball on complaints at the Tomah medical center and ran for legal cover instead of fighting for vulnerable vets.
Baldwin’s record – both as a Representative and Senator – has shown anything but a connection with anyone outside of Madison. Bizarrely, she has spent the last four and a half years posing for photo ops with lefty Senators Schumer and Warren, and embracing the most liberal elements of her Party and their East Coast elitism. Maybe she thinks that learning the skill of the Schumer photobomb will increase her appeal. And on top of it all, she was a member of the Progressive Caucus which rolled out the most irresponsible budgets, job killing taxes and universal health care.
The lesson of President Trump’s win wasn’t about political ideology or his Twitter feed. His success was due to the fact that he heard the cries of an ignored population and gave them a voice. Our next US Senator must understand and connect to this portion of the population, guide them and be their voice. Whether you love him or hate him, the President struck a chord with these folks and was unapologetic about being a champion for the forgotten man and woman. He may not have lived the life of a struggling farmer in Colby, but more than a few thought he was the only one who understood their plight.
Much like Baldwin, Jon Ossoff is an ultra-liberal at heart. But he made a strategic play to the middle in an attempt to woo moderate GOP voters and “hesitant Trump voters”, who are thought to be the key to the Democrat’s success in 2018. However, all the money, celebrity endorsements and faux messages of helping the working class couldn’t cover up Ossoff’s liberal politics. And they won’t save Baldwin either.
— Fladeboe is the senior account executive at Persuasion Partners Inc. and is the former Wisconsin State Director for Americans for Prosperity.