Using Radio to Elect Governor Evers and Save Wisconsin’s Democracy

Rep Callahan is a Trump pawn

The following is from an email, or newsletter if you prefer, from Kirk Bangstad and reprinted because it’s probably ok with him:

Radio Ad: Rep Callahan is a Trump cult pawn.

First off, I just wanted to say to those who started sending worried emails–I’m BACK.  I took the month of August off from political activism to spend some needed time away with people I love, and away from social media in general.

It’s September 11th today, and lots of tributes are being written to remind Americans to “NEVER FORGET” about those who perished at the hands of foreign terrorism 21 years ago.

It’s no hyperbole to draw the connection between September 11th, 2001 and January 6, 2021, when we were attacked from within by domestic terrorists led by our own president, Donald Trump. Similar to 9/11/01, we can NEVER FORGET about 1/6/21, and what we have to do to protect our country from our fellow mislead Americans who have become part of Tump’s cult of personality.

That said, the fight wages on for the soul of our country, and that fight goes through the heart of Wisconsin.

We really are in an existential struggle here in the Dairy State.  If Democratic Governor Evers loses on November 8, our gerrymandered state with a right-wing Supreme Court has NO safeguards against outright treachery that could result in our state refusing to hand over electoral votes to a democratically-elected Joe Biden in 2024.

Similarly, the ability for the U.S. Senate to kill the filibuster and pass electoral safeguards to prevent future attacks on our Democracy falls on a handful of states including Wisconsin. We are within reach of picking up that one seat that can cancel out Manchin/Sinema’s refusal to eliminate the filibuster, because our national embarrassment, Ron Johnson, is very vulnerable.

We’ve helped Johnson’s opponent Mandela Barnes get some needed publicity by creating a beer in his name, and by creating a line of merchandise/yard signs that people can buy ridiculing Johnson and supporting Mandela.  And don’t forget, with your help, we’ve put billboards up ALL THROUGHOUT NORTHERN WISCONSIN to remind voters that Johnson was part of the BIG LIE that caused January 6.

We now think it’s time to turn our attention to the Governor’s race, and to do our part to help motivate rural voters in areas like ours to get to the polls.

Here’s how we’re going to do it.

We know that millions of dollars are flooding into Wisconsin for this Governor’s race, but you know where very little money is being spent? In areas that have been gerrymandered so badly that Republicans can’t lose–like Lincoln County, WI, which includes the city of Merrill.

The Democratic Party has all but given up on this area, and local Republican candidates who serve as pawns for the Trump cult are NEVER held accountable for votes that directly harm the people they represent.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats are spending much political money here, but too often Democrats focused on turnout in major cities fail to realize that a few more votes in these areas could sway an entire state election. Biden and Evers only won the state of Wisconsin by less than 20 thousand votes out of a population of 5 million people.

We KNOW that these rural Wisconsinites simply want to live their lives and be able to trust that their government works for them, and this is were we come in.  They need to be reminded that their local Republican officials won’t even acknowledge that Biden won the last election, and certainly can’t be counted on to protect Wisconsin’s democracy down the road.

We think this is an important message that every regular rural voter needs to hear, and one that isn’t being heard above all the other noise.

As of September 15th, there will be 4  new radio stations in rural Wisconsin with a progressive talk format.  These stations are in Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids, Hayward, and Richland Center, and will be run by Civic Media–a company spearheaded by progressive talk radio personality Mike Crute out of Madison.  They are specifically designed to reach towns like Merrill–all-but-forgotten by Democrats–but a place where people still listen to AM radio because there’s not a lot else to listen to.

It’s a godsend that these stations exist, and a blueprint for other swing states on how to win back rural populations who are exposed to nothing but right-wing rhetoric day in and day out.

We’ve partnered with Crute and his team, and will be creating radio ads like the one pictured below ALL THROUGHOUT RURAL WISCONSIN targeting no-name Republican pawns like Calvin Callahan who vote the way they are told but could care less about Wisconsin’s democracy.  We’re going to remind these voters, completely left out in the cold by illegal gerrymandering, that the ONLY person who now represents them at the state level is their Governor– because their governor is the only person not beholden to a cult of personality.

Please listen to the ad below to get a sense of what I’m talking about.

So this is where you come in.

While other national organizations are pouring millions into nauseatingly hateful TV ads, we think our radio ads will be a VERY INEXPENSIVE tool to get those few thousand rural voters to turn the tide and save Wisconsin–and by extension, America.

We’re committing $20K from the profits of our beer sales in Wisconsin to put these ads up, but we’d like to ask you all to help as well. If we can raise another $80K, we can get these ads playing consistently until the election in November, and might be able to extend those ads to other rural area beyond the 4 progressive stations we already mentioned.

Since we started our political activism, we’ve raised almost $800K from approximately 17K of you donating an average of $44.  Why have you donated to us?  Well, we think it’s because we do what needs to be done, and what so many other progressive politicians or groups in this state are seemingly too scared or shy to do.

We’ve been honest with how we’re spending your money, and we’ve led with our own money first so that you know we’re just as invested in a better Wisconsin and America as you are.

Please help us with this last push before the Nov. 8 elections by contributing here. We think it’s a good strategy for the price.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for helping make Wisconsin a Democracy Again, One Beer at a Time.

Kirk Bangstad

Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC


In Wisconsin, Democracy Itself Is On The Ballot

Tony Evers

In Wisconsin, democracy itself is on the ballot   notes James Hohmann, writing in the Washington Post. The op-ed begins: “A great deal more than who wins and who loses is at stake in the unfolding battle for governor of Wisconsin. Fair play, reproductive freedom and something closer to democracy itself may be up for grabs.” The upcoming election — on Tuesday, November 8 — really is that important. If we fail to re-elect Governor Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, MAGA Republicans will ruthlessly undermine fair elections, voting rights, affordable health care, protections against climate change, gun safety measures, and even public education.

If we allow MAGA Republicans to win a veto-proof majority in both houses of our legislature, we will find ourselves on the losing end of every issue we care about. WE MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!

Winning the fall election is the only way to make sure our state does not become Wississippi. Here are the candidates who won last week’s Democratic primary (with links to their websites):

Every one of these candidates needs your support. Step up: volunteer, donate, and talk to family, friends, and colleagues. Make sure you have a plan to vote and ask others to make a plan also.

Wisconsin – Gerrymandering, the Pandemic, and the Jan. 6 Select Committee

Newsletter from Grassroots North Shore, an independent Political Action Committee (PAC) registered with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. (


Grassroots North Shore
Dear Sonny —

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday break. Starting next week, though, there will be an increasing volume of important stuff to do. And Grassroots North Shore is counting on you to help win the elections that will be coming our way in 2022.

There is no Events List this week. So I’m using the newsletter to cover four important topics: the criminal justice reform work being undertaken by a Grassroots North Shore Issue Team, gerrymandering, the pandemic, and the Jan. 6 Select Committee in the House of Representatives. I hope you’ll find the information helpful.

Action in the Criminal Justice Reform team is about to heat up. And I encourage you to get engaged. Paul Geenen, who is spearheading this group, is arranging for a meeting with Senator Alberta Darling to discuss a bill that has recently been drafted. Here are its main provisions:

  • Establishes a statewide criminal justice data system that closes the gaps in our state’s information silos.
  • Costs $3 million over two years, funding a full time data analyst, and ensuring 4-5 years of continuity.
  • Data would be used to address a number of justice issues in our state, including opioid and meth usage, alternatives to incarceration, violent crime, racial disparities and bail bond practices.
  • It will be housed in DOJ Criminal Justice and Data Council, with the data sharing sub-committee from DOJ, DOC and state courts providing guidance.
  • Includes language that protects Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as an incentive for local agencies to be more comfortable in sharing data.

To prepare for the meeting with Senator Darling, Paul has set up a Zoom for everyone interested in lobbying on this issue. This pre-meeting will be held on January 6 at 12 CST. Please contact Paul directly for a full copy of the bill and for the link to the pre-meeting Zoom.

Gerrymandering Action: Electoral maps can have enormous influence on both national and state election outcomes. Because states must redraw their maps to account for shifts in population revealed by the US Census conducted in 2020, gerrymandering (i.e., rigging electoral district maps to favor one party) is now going on all over the country. Although there has lately been some argument about the proposition, Democrats generally fear that Republicans can and will gerrymander their way to a majority in the House of Representatives. Professor Hasan’s Election Law Blog has a thorough discussion of a column by Eric Levitz that claims the new maps are not as skewed as all that. So why does this question matter? Aside from the fact that Republican redistricting is resulting in significant impacts on minority representation at all levels of government, that is. Hasan concludes with a paragraph making a strong case for the reforms embedded in the two voting rights acts currently stalled in the US Senate by the filibuster. It’s worth taking a small amount of time to write our senators — Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson by email. When there is enough of it, public pressure — can have an effect.

Ditto at the state level. Matt Rothschild of the Wisconsin Democracy Project has the TAKE ACTION initiatives we need. He urges people to write letters to the editors of media outlets (while offering help and training), to contact your state legislators to support Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395, and to contact the chairs of the Senate and Assembly committees that should hold hearings on the bills to establish a “fair, independent, nonpartisan and transparent way to draw new voting district maps.” You can also find a succinct summary of the three court cases about electoral maps filed in 2021 on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s website.

Pandemic information: As you are certainly aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in Wisconsin, and will likely be exacerbated by gatherings for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. The spread of disease has seriously disrupted some major sporting events: college bowl games cancelled, the National Hockey League “paused,” and the NFL postponing games. Broadway shows have also gone dark. Several Milwaukee events have also been cancelled. And we’re just at the beginning of the Omicron wave here. According to today’s news, “roughly 2 in 5 recent Wisconsin cases sequenced in a lab have been the fast-spreading omicron variant.” Masks are an important part of your efforts to reduce the spread and protect yourself and others, but not all masks offer adequate filtration and apparently there are lots of counterfeit masks around. To make sure you get bona fide N95 masks, consult Project N95, a site that evaluates sellers of masks so that you can order the genuine articles.

The severity of the Omicron variant is STILL not conclusively measured, but today’s New York Times has a particularly helpful analysis, complete with easily understood graphs, about who was dying from COVID in late fall. “[W]hile for much of the pandemic, older Americans and people of color were more likely to die from the virus, the demographics of those dying from Covid have shifted too, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant will affect these trends remains to be seen, since the current data on deaths is reliable only through late November.” The article notes that “Covid-19 now accounts for a much larger share of all deaths for [middle-aged white people] than it did before vaccines were widely available.” Wisconsin fares reasonably well compared to such hotspots as West Virgina, Kentucky and much of Florida. Still, three weeks ago, Wisconsin NPR reported that “Wisconsin hospital leaders are sounding the alarm as the state endures another COVID-19 surge. The seven-day average of new infections is over 3,500 — the highest it’s been in a year.” The current data shows 1,672 currently hospitalized (up 39 from a week ago) with 405 in a Wisconsin ICU right now.

Investigating the Insurrection: The House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection was a major news story before the holidays and promises to be so again as it resumes work next week. Some aspects of the events leading up to and on that day have been well covered, especially the rallies on Jan. 5 and 6, but Talking Points Memo has striking new information on a third rally that was planned for 2pm on Jan. 6 in front of the Supreme Court building, right across the street from the Capitol Building. That rally was scuttled once the assault on the Capitol began to unfold. In a second essay in TPM, Josh Kovensky takes a stab at explaining why the planners might have wanted a rally there. The context, he writes, includes a lawsuit Sidney Powell filed in Texas in hopes of prompting Justice Alito, who covers emergency filings there, “to halt Biden’s certification. Had there been more of a delay, Powell suggested, Alito might have had time to intervene.”

And the Jan. 6 Select Committee “has signaled it intends to explore potential criminal wrongdoing by former President Trump, marking a significant escalation for the investigation” as reported in The Hill on Dec. 26. As an article in the Washington Post explains, “Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview that of particular interest is why it took so long for him to call on his supporters to stand down, an area of inquiry that includes obtaining several versions of a video Trump reportedly recorded before finally releasing a message 187 minutes after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol during the rally that preceded the attack.” Criminal referrals from Congress don’t carry any special weight with the Department of Justice, but “Trump’s actions could amount to criminally obstructing Congress as it sought to certify the election results.”

Finally, just FYI, since most of you will not be able to vote in this race: there seem to be eight current candidates to become the next Mayor of Milwaukee:

State representative Dan Riemer originally declared his candidacy but recently dropped out. And today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Senator Chris Larson is seriously considering a run. The candidates’ websites will undoubtedly have links to their donation pages as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts. The primary will be held February 15 with the election on April 5, 2022.

May 2022 bring a healthier, happier New Year.

other important links

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

Ozaukee County Democratic Party

Sign Up For Wisconsin Voter Registration

Wisconsin State Map

Many of you have asked about opportunities to volunteer in Wisconsin voter-related efforts for the 2022 midterm elections. Please READ MORE look at the information below from Milwaukee voter registration group, Supermarket Legends. This is the well-established, well-organized group we worked closely with on the DMV voter registration effort. They are involved with various programs that we think offer opportunities to make a real impact. Questions? Please contact Linda Tate and/or Bob Best at:

Phonebank for Voter Protection

Phonebank/Friendbank for Voter Protection

Join the Wisconsin Dems Phonebank/Friendbanks recruiting poll workers! Protecting voting rights in Wisconsin starts with you. We welcome out-of-state volunteers in all our Phonebank/Friendbanks!  Register HERE

You’ll start by making calls to people to talk about why voting rights matter and to get them involved as a Poll Worker, and then we’ll give you the tools in the fight for voting rights. Right now, our focus is recruiting Poll Workers to nominate for the 2022 elections to ensure that every polling place in the state is open.

Training is offered at every event, and no need to prepare anything in advance–we’ll provide scripts & resources, so all you need is a computer and a phone.

Help Fund Staffer – Wisconsin Northwoods

Wisconsin Progress

Wisconsin Progress alongside the Minocqua Brewing Super PAC want to change the future of Northern Wisconsin. Help us today to fund a new full time staffer to recruit, train, and elect progressives all over Wisconsin’s Northwoods!

Wisconsin Progress envisions a Wisconsin that is a better, more equitable place to live, work, and raise a family.

In pursuit of this goal we recruit, train, elect, and develop progressive candidates for local and state legislative offices. We are the progressive recruitment arm of the Assembly and State Senate, we not only recruit candidates to run for office throughout the state- we win elections.

Help fund a new full time staffer

The battle for Fair Maps in Wisconsin isn’t over.

Fair Maps Wisconsin

The battle for Fair Maps in Wisconsin isn’t over. The People’s Map Commission will present its map to the legislature this fall, where it will no doubt be ignored. The Republicans will pass their own, heavily gerrymandered map — like the one we have been using for the last decade. Governor Evers will veto it. The matter will end up in the courts, where except for the 2011 map, electoral districts have been drawn by the courts in 2001, 1991, 1981, etc. But if Tony Evers loses next year’s race for Governor, the Republican dominated legislature will pass new, again heavily gerrymandered, maps and a Republican Governor will sign them into law. Just like Texas did in 2003.

That’s why we are asking you with some urgency to get involved NOW in the four elections that Wisconsin will hold in 2022: the nonpartisan primary on February 15, the nonpartisan election on April 5, the partisan primary on August 9, and the partisan general election on November 8. Put those dates in your calendar now. Grassroots North Shore will shortly be hosting the following two actions to begin our voter outreach work:

  1. In conjunction with the Progressive Turnout Project, we will be sending postcards to Wisconsinites who were first time voters in 2020. The goal is to make sure Democrats stay engaged and make voting a habit in Wisconsin. Norma Gilson will be the point person on this project and will begin distributing postcards and lists of names and addresses next week. Sign up here if you want to participate.
  2. In conjunction with the League of Women Voters, we will be phoning people on the Wisconsin Election Commission’s list of registered voters who are being removed from the voter rolls after July 15. This is a nonpartisan activity designed to help people renew their registrations if they failed to respond to the postcard the WEC sent them in June and July. Those interested in tackling this challenge should sign up to be notified when the phone bank becomes available some time early in August.

Phone Banking

Phone Banking

Join our calling crews to turn MI & WI BLUE. We make phone banking easy by being with you every step of the way to answer questions/assist with tech issues during the call & we debrief after the shift.

  • Michigan Mondays, 1-3 pm
  • Underwood Tuesdays, 6-8 pm
  • Wisconsin Wednesdays, 6-8 pm
  • Many call lists allow us to phone bank at times convenient for us. Typically the OpenVPN (Open Virtual Phone Bank)  links where we access our phone lists/scripts are open Mon – Friday 9am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 7pm and Sundays 12 – 7pm
  • Volunteer recruiting Thursdays, 1-3 pm

Sign up here:

Watch this short phone banking testimonial:


Join the Michigan and Wisconsin Voter Registration Project Texting Team

Rust Belt Rising

Help us flip Michigan and Wisconsin blue, one text at a time! Sign up to be part of the Texting Team that will send text messages to unregistered likely Democratic voters in MI and WI and get them registered to vote. People receive an application in the mail, a text reminder and a phone call to support them through the process.

Sign Up Here

The Indivisible Chicago Alliance is partnering with rust Belt Rising and Civitech/Register2Vote to find these targeted voters in both states and reach out to them with a mailing, phone calls and texts. Our goal is to send 400,000 texts to potential MI and WI voters — two texts to 100,000 targeted voters in each state. Considering that Trump won MI by 10,704 and WI by 22,278 votes, this project has the potential of having significant impact on the outcome in November.

We will be using a texting platform called Spoke, which many different campaigns and organizations use for peer-to-peer texting. Our first Zoom info session and training will be on August 19 from 6-7:30 pm and August 22 from 10-11:30 am. Once you sign up here, you will get an invitation to sign up for them as well as for textbanking sessions on Zoom.

*** Text banking is easy – you use a web-based texting platform on your laptop or desktop computer to send pre-loaded scripts that have been written for you so you don’t have to guess at what to say.

*** Text banking is private – the texting platform uses phone numbers in the areas we’re texting into, with no connection at all to your own phone number.

***Text banking is fast – you can reach out to hundreds of voters in minutes and have dozens of meaningful conversations an hour.

***Text banking is fun – while you’re texting, the chat software we use lets you get your questions answered by volunteer moderators, get progress reports on the campaign, and talk to other volunteer texters!

*** And most of all, text banking really works! Research showing that it can increase candidate name recognition by up to 20% and boost voter support by as much as 9.5%. That’s the kind of thing that wins elections!

Join us and make a difference! Sign up to text people about completing their voter registration so that they will be ready to vote in November and help us flip MI and WI blue!

By signing up on this form, you are committing to attending a Texting Team training session and to text voters in MI and/or WI at least two hours a week during this program this will run from mid-August through September.

Questions? Please contact Laura Tanner at

Sign up here.

Laura Tanner, Co-Founder and Co-Leader, Indivisible Evanston
Texting Coordinator, Michigan and Wisconsin Voter Registration Project