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Is OWR trying to take over the Wisconsin Democratic Party?

No we’re not. That’s the simplest answer and an accurate one. But a more complete and nuanced answer, which depends on what such “takeover” means and to what it’s applied, is “no, no, no” and “yes, of course!” and “no.” Here’s that answer, expanded…

“No” if “takeover” means making the replacement of current Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) leadership an OWR organizational priority. We don’t think current leadership are bad people, don’t want to spend time messing with somebody else’s organization, and don’t think replacing leadership is the way to change the DPW. We think change will happen in the DPW by using its ballot line to elect better candidates with a better program than present. That will get the DPW’s notice. “No” also because we don’t think political parties in Wisconsin have much real organizational power. They’re basically owners of known political brands and ballot lines, rented by individual candidates who pay the rent with cash from big donors. We favor a more values- and program-based way of choosing candidates. “No” finally because we think our values and program will appeal to many who don’t vote at all, or don’t regularly vote in Democratic primaries, and we don’t want to lose their support by identifying with an existing party. Among many of the working people we see as our natural base, the Democratic brand — sadly, stupidly, but true — is toxic. For all these reasons, an effort to “take over” the DPW is not a fight we’re interested in. We’re after much bigger game — making Wisconsin a democracy, with a government responsible to the people and working for the many not the few.

But “yes, of course!” if “takeover” means making DPW’s policy commitments closer to our own. Of course we want that. And where we have the capacity and don’t think a current Democrat is fighting for our values and program, we’ll primary them with candidates of our own.

And “no” again because we’re after that bigger game. We want our values and program to include all Wisconsin government and all parties, not just the DPW.

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