Wisconsin, Dan Kaufman, Three Percent discussed on Fresh Air

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To red which dan kaufman author of the fall of wisconsin the state's long tradition of progressive politics dating back to the nineteenth century was radically transformed in recent years as exemplified by donald trump's victory in wisconsin in twenty ten republican scott walker was elected governor and then led a historic assault on public employee unions kaufman says before walker's victory conservatives worked for years to change the state there was certainly gerrymandering there was a huge flood of dark money it was frankly a week democratic opposition to his message and there was a stoking of resentment in a time of economic insecurity that is very powerful also jeff number considers the difference between british and american english and ken tucker reviews guerrillas new album in the two thousand sixteen presidential election hillary clinton was so confident of carrying wisconsin that she never made a single campaign appearance in the state but our guest journalist and wisconsin native dan kaufman talked to labor leaders at the time who were worried she could lose the state to donald trump kaufman says trump's narrow win in wisconsin marked the completion of a dramatic change in the political culture of the state which had a long tradition of progressive leadership dating back to the nineteenth century six years before trump's win the state's voters elected conservative populace scott walker governor with the help of a republican controlled legislature walker waged an unprecedented assault on public employee unions in the state and later signed a right to work bill which undermined private sector unions dan kaufman has written for the new york times magazine and the new yorker he spoke to fresh air's dave davies about his new book the fall of wisconsin the conservative conquest of progress bastion and the future of american politics we'll dan kaufman welcome to fresh air you know we often think of cities as the centers of progressive democratic politics but wisconsin was a leader going way back you remind us what did that have to do with those who settled wisconsin in the first place this is interesting in the eighteen forties waves of scandinavian immigrants started settling in wisconsin they brought with them a kind of communitarian ethos many of them they were fleeing very harsh environment in norway for example only three percent of the land is errol so they had to bond together and this forged a kind of egalitarianism communitarianism that impacted the state's politics robert follett was perhaps the most influential figure and state politics at least historically tell us about him he was a very interesting man he grew up on a farm partly in dane county which is where madison is located and he was surrounded by norwegian immigrants there was a movement at the time in the eighteen sixties called the grange eighteen sixties and eighteen seventies and they were battling being the railroad interests which were dominating wisconsin politics along with the timber interests the railroad and timber interests controlled effectively controlled wisconsin state legislature and they would gauge the farmers on the shipping their crops so there was a kind of agrarian populist movement that rose up against them the follow was influenced by this movement and there was another key influence on him this was the chief justice of wisconsin a man named edward ryan and he gave a speech in eighteen seventy three to the university of wisconsin law school lefebvre would enroll in that law school the following fall but he said the question will arise and arise in your day though perhaps not fully in mine which she'll rule wealth or man which shall lead money or intellect who shall fill public stations educated and pay tr dot.

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