As the days narrow towards the April Election, where a number of Madison City Council elections will be decided, I suggest voters think about more than just a particular race or candidate. It is just as important to look at the big picture about what is happening to the process of governing in our city. By seeing those larger needs we can make smarter choices in our local aldermanic election.
It should deeply concern us at the local level to learn that organizations such as Progressive Dane and the Greens require candidates to sign a pledge that they will support their platform 100%. That is what they require to get an endorsement. In other words, a candidate needs to integrate the platform of a special interest into their campaign and prove fealty to it. In one case, a group actually requires the candidate to assign a campaign liaison to them.
I am not sure where the average tax-paying homeowner who cares about the environment and social values are supposed to stand in comparison to the powerful groups who demand purity. All we can hope for, and work for, are those candidates brave enough, and yes, smart enough to not play into the political games now underway.
People simply must understand what these groups are engaged in, and grasp the fact they are no better than those we scorn on a national level. Recall how we feel when a Republican member of Congress faces a harsh primary all due to having the temerity to seek a working compromise with a Democrat. On an issue that would benefit all citizens! Groups like PD have no shortage of great rhetoric and lifting themes in public, but use the same tactics and troubling maneuvers just like the opponent they claim to be so unlike.
I have posted many, many times that passion in politics without pragmatism is the greatest pitfall when governing. And we see from the local elections that activists and extremists are making that point as it is clear they are attempting to shut down the middle segment of the city–a segment I should not need to add–where most of us reside.
Mara Eisch is one such example of independence and breath of hope for our city as she seeks election in the 10th aldermanic district. In fact, the reason I decided to post about her candidacy is due to the fact she had the needs of her voters in mind, as opposed to seeking the smoothest route to an election win. She correctly refused to fill in the questionnaires from those groups, not because she is not aligned with much or even most of their agenda, but knows her first duty, if elected is to have the ability and freedom to achieve what her district wants and needs. How dare some outside organization try to curtail or limit her effectiveness all in the name of purity for their causes.
It needs to be noted that Eisch did not need to sign a statement or give up her right to forge working compromises when she received the Wisconsin State Journal endorsement, or the police department endorsement. I can not imagine a candidate ever being able to stand in front of a mirror to shave, comb hair, or brush their teeth knowing they had made a solid commitment to a group that would silence their voice and temper their actions once elected. No victory is worth that price, and we need to ask why would any candidate seek to be controlled by outside interests?
This city has some truly important issues that demand independent and credible decision-makers be seated in the council chambers. (I am confident that Zoom meetings will end for this body as the pandemic wanes.) Topics from removing neighborhood impact in regards to development projects, or pushing spending (borrowing) to the point that sound fiscal policy is called into question are but two that must be addressed.
This city needs pragmatic leaders and determined independent voices–like Eisch–who are not obligated to anyone other than the voters who cast the ballots. A rather common-sense approach to governing, if you ask me.
And, I strongly suspect, one that the vast middle section of the city would also be in agreement with, too.
Therefore, it is incumbent that the sensible ones who care about our city and future ramp up our efforts and make sure calm and reasoned candidates are elected. We can leave the shouters and chaos for Washington. Madison, instead, should demonstrate how policy-minded folks can create a better place to live, and a stronger society.
And so it goes.