Elections Matter. Do Your Part

by Phil Anderson

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.”  John Adams

The midterm elections in November are going to be a referendum on Donald Trump. The most important issue is whether he, and his administration, will be allowed to continue with their destructive actions. Will Congress act to censor Trump’s outrageous, embarrassing, un-presidential behavior? Will he be allowed to continue dismantling all the social, economic, and environmental progress of the last 100 years? Will the well being of women, minorities, and children continue to be attacked? Will Congress act to restrain the wholesale dismantling of all necessary, sensible controls on big business? Will they stand up for the “common good” and the “protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people?” 

The obvious answer is, “No, they will not.” As long as the Republicans remain in control nothing will be done. Donald Trump, rather than being an aberration, is the embodiment of and logical final outcome of Republican political philosophy. They may be embarrassed by his erratic, crude behavior, but they love what he, and his appointees, are doing to the country. 

As I have written in the past,  the only realistic way to reign in the Trump administration is to have Democratic “blue wave” in November. In northwestern Wisconsin this means electing  Margaret Engebretson to the House of Representatives and re-electing Tammy Baldwin to the Senate. All of us must set aside our cynicism, apathy, political purity, and party loyalty for the good of the country. All of us must do our part. 
In Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district Rep. Sean Duffy is not going to oppose Trump no matter how outrageous his actions. Duffy is a Trump supporter. He is a far right conservative and he votes to support the Republican agenda. He will not stand up against unethical, illegal, or unwise actions by the current administration. Likewise Leah Vukmir, who is running against Tammy Baldwin, is another far right ideologue.  In the Wisconsin Senate she has a reputation for being contentious and uncompromising. She is unlikely as a U.S. Senator to vote against Trump. 
This election will impact on your life. There are many positive reasons to vote for Margaret that are in YOUR BEST INTEREST. The differences between Margaret Engebretson and Sean Duffy are significant. It may be your job that falls victim to Trump’s trade wars. Your health may be impacted by the unrestrained increases in health insurance and drug costs. Your child, or grandchild, may get asthma or lead poisoning or cancer from inadequate environmental controls. The “common good” that John Adams talked about is important to everyone’s daily life. 

The cost of healthcare and medical insurance is a major problem for everyone. It is a huge cost for government, business, and individuals. Yet the conservatives have stonewalled every effort to do anything about this problem. Rep. Duffy has voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He wants to “repeal and replace” it with a market based program. But the ACA buying exchanges are market based, and the Republicans have no alternative plan. The current high cost of health care is the direct result of having market based, for-profit health care. 

Margaret Engebretson will advocate for a single payer public health care system similar to Medicare. This would ensure everyone would have basic coverage based on need, not one’s wealth, employment status, or pre-existing conditions. No one would ever be without the care they need or go bankrupt trying to pay for it. Good universal healthcare would COST LESS than the current maze of expensive, overlapping, bureaucratic, for-profit insurance. 
Protection of the natural resources we depend on is essential to Wisconsin. Clean water is especially critical to our agriculture and tourism industries in addition to our own health. We face serious problems in this area. We can not continue to ignore the degradation of our environment. Rep. Duffy received a 3% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters for his environmental protection record. He has repeatedly voted to weaken environmental protection in favor of business interests. He has voted to weaken the Clean Water Act to favor the forestry and mining industries. 

Margaret Engebretson believes we must take environmental problems seriously. She wants to “invest aggressively” in a clean energy economy and to protect our essential water resources. She believes we can protect the environment and build strong local economies.
Jobs and the economy are a huge issue. Representative Duffy’s voting record clearly shows he supports big business interests. His supports the conservative, “trickle down” economic agenda of the last 40 years. He has voted for tax breaks for the wealthy, cutting social programs, gutting business regulations, and aggressive, militarized foreign policy. This top-down agenda is good at making the rich richer, but it has failed average people and Wisconsin communities.  

It is time for a new approach that builds from the bottom up and makes our local Wisconsin communities economically viable again. Investments in public infrastructure, schools, higher education, healthcare and FAIR taxes are essential to building local economies. All these things have been cut by conservatives. Margaret Engebretson believes in investing in local Wisconsin communities. There is a clear choice between the two congressional candidates on economic policy. 
Getting good candidates like Margaret Engebretson and Tammy Baldwin elected will depend on what YOU DO. Rep. Duffy has $2.8 million to buy the election. The only alternative to big money is citizen action. People have to become active in supporting change. This means donating money and time. It means talking to your neighbors about what is really important to local people. It means knocking on doors, making phone calls and putting up yard signs. It means VOTING.
If you are embarrassed (as I am) by the current presidential occupant, do something about it. Become part of the “blue wave.” WE CAN DO IT, but everyone has to do their part to make it happen.