If you are rubbed the wrong way by the Democratic Party’s penchant for declaring winners of primary elections before voters cast their ballots and have their preferences counted, don’t take it lying down. Send a message. Register your dissatisfaction.
There are still candidates other than the presumptive nominee who are actively campaigning for the party’s nomination for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat, including Millennial Action Project founder Steve Olikara. Olikara’s young, energetic, principled, an out-of-the-box thinker who’s a fountain of fresh ideas, just what the Democrats sorely need but for some odd reason avoid like the plague.
In today’s print edition of The Capital Times, former state appeals judge Paul Higginbotham makes a compelling case for Olikara’s candidacy. He starts by emphasizing that he’s running to change the system, pointing to his commitment to making a bill ending legalized bribery, banning fundraising while Congress is in session and creating open primaries and ranked-choice voting his first piece of legislation. Judge Higginbotham goes on to note that Olikara knows how to work effectively on Capitol Hill, helping to build diverse coalitions that have managed to pass more than 35 bills through Congress dealing with gun violence prevention, the climate crisis and veterans’ employment. He punctuates his praise for this promising leader by saying Olikara’s youth movement is activating the “exhausted majority” needed to win.
Right next to Judge Higginbotham’s column is another by retired state legislator Spencer Black saying now is the time to unite behind Mandela Barnes. No, the time for uniting behind a nominee is after August 9, not before.
I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Mandela Barnes personally over the last several years and think highly of him. If he’s elected in November, he will make a fine senator. But his party is wrong in putting its thumb on the scale once again and effectively preempting voter participation in the nomination process. Democracy is under savage assault in our country. The last thing it needs is a Democratic Party that anoints nominees instead of letting voters choose them.
I am voting for Steve Olikara next Tuesday.