Wisconsin is a state in the midwestern United States. It was admitted to the United States in 1848.
Their motto, much in the vein of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters "Furthur," is "Furward."
It's a pretty fucked up world in which Joe McCarthy is only the 4th-worst politician to come out of Wisconsin, maybe 5th depending on how you rank Sensenbrenner. Since 1896, it has gone Republican sixteen times (latest being Donald Trump), Democratic fourteen times, and Progressive once (when Wisconsin governor Robert "Fighting Bob" M. La Follette, Sr. ran for president). Among its progressive reforms, Wisconsin was the first state to adopt the direct primary election and the income tax.
Otherwise, Wisconsin is very much a "swing" state, due largely to urban-rural tensions (namely, Madison and Milwaukee vs. everywhere else, with the exception of a few counties in the west and north that have a strong labor union presence). This is pretty much par for the course for the Midwest.
Admitted to the Union in 1848, Wisconsin was the original destination and home for many of the Social democratic refugees from the European Revolutions of 1848. However with the discovery of gold in California the following year many of the social democratic 48ers overnight became greedy money grubbing capitalists and fled West as 49ers. Thus was the beginning of the Green Bay-San Francisco rivalry.
Both the Republican Party, and the modern Progressive movement were founded in Wisconsin. The Progressive Party originated as a reform spinoff from the Republican party. Wisconsin likewise for many decades was the only state to elect an openly Socialist member of Congress and mayors of a major metropolitan city. The notorious Kohler Strikes are viewed as "landmarks in the history of both business and labor in the United States."
The South of the North!
Wisconsin is actually like 12 states that hate each other to various extents. There's Milwaukee, the Milwaukee suburbs, Beloit-Janesville, Fox River Valley, "Up North", Menominee (St Paul suburbs), the Coulee/Driftless region, and Madison. All slightly different culturally, with their own local histories and identities. About the only thing everyone agrees on is "Fuck Madison".
Likewise, Wisconsin is a split-character state politically. This is the state which spawned Joe McCarthy and Bob La Follette. In the past ten years they elected Obama (twice), Walker (twice, ffs), a Tea Partier for one Senator (Ron Johnson), and a gay democrat for the other (Tammy Baldwin).
Wisconsin is home to possibly one of the most liberal cities in the midwest: Madison. A state capital and university town, this rather small city was the original home of The Onion, America's best possible news source. The Progressive, a rival to the The Nation and the New Republic, has been continuously published there since 1909. It is home of University of Wisconsin-Madison, a university rather despised by Conservapedia for a while, most likely for the wholehearted support that professor values and liberalism enjoy there. Also, UW is a great university to get drunk at, apparently.
Ironically, today's Wisconsin is also the prototype for blue states going red. It has the fastest decline in union membership of all 50 states. Wisconsin is also notorious for having some of the worst gerrymandering in the entire country, to the point where in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats only won 36% of the seats in the State Assembly despite winning 53% of the popular vote, leaving Republicans just three seats shy of a supermajority; in order for Democrats to win a simple majority, they would have needed to win the popular vote by over 20 points. Fortunately, after liberal Janet Protasiewicz won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, giving it a liberal majority, these maps are likely to be struck down.
Trump Didn't Start the Fire
The Koch Bros Scott Walker won the 2010 gubernatorial race. Then he won a recall election, and then re-election.
All of the signatures from the recall petitions indicated an easy win for Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. As the election drew nearer, the anti-union sentiment swept the state like an electric current. Walker masterfully played the public sector unions against the private ones. (And the recall made the Democrats look like whiny babies.) On election Day, many of those that signed the recall petition (even those who were union members) either did not vote or actually voted for Scott Walker. By the time Walker's re-election rolled around, the GOP solidified its control via gerrymandering an entire state-wide election.[note 2]
All of the polls indicated an easy win for Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. So it goes. In retrospect, it looks like the unusually large % of undecided voters voted for Trump by wide margins, turning what was expected to be a 6.5 point win for Clinton into a < 1-point loss. This makes Clinton the first Democrat to lose Wisconsin in a presidential election since 1984.
It's worth noting that, not only did the Republicans carry Wisconsin for the first time since Ronald Reagan, Trump lost the WI primary...to Ted Cruz. Former state GOP Chairman and sitting national Chairman Reince Priebus was rewarded for delivering Wisconsin with the position of White House Chief of Staff. Baldwin was the last statewide Democrat for awhile, but she was reelected by double digits in 2018, and not only that, Democrats finally got Walker out of office--narrowly replacing him with Tony Evers, and also beat every single Republican running for all statewide offices. In 2020, Joe Biden was narrowly able to win Wisconsin back largely due to increased turnout in Milwaukee and Madison, with a margin of only 0.6% — however, this was actually a better performance in the state than Al Gore's or John Kerry's, who only won by 0.2 points and 0.4 points respectively. Maybe Wisconsin just wasn't as safely blue as many people thought it was.
Everything that happened to Wisconsin in '08 will happen writ large on the national stage: The Dems' largest financial backers were unions, the Reps are funded by even bigger corporate financiers, and isn't business protected now that financial backing is considered freedom of speech? 🤔
In 2011 the state surpassed California with the most head of dairy cattle,[note 3] making Wisconsin the nation's largest producer of bovine flatulence and contributor of the dangerous and deadly methane greenhouse gas.
A major point of contention in international trade talks has been refusal of the European Union to allow imports of Wisconsin's dairy products[note 4] due to widespread use of bovine growth hormone. BGH allegedly produces early breast development in pre-pubescent girls.
Although the state is legendary in beer production it also ranks 5th in per capita beer consumption. A 2016 study found 12 of the nation's 20 drunkest cities are in Wisconsin. There are 2.7 more liquor licences than grocery or convenience stores, more than any other state.
Wisconsin has ranked first, second or third every year since 1994 with the highest ACT scores in the nation.
- Orson Welles – of War of the Worlds fame.
- Joseph McCarthy – paranoid one world conspiracy theorist who accused innocent people of being KGB agents and communists and thought the international bankers ran the world.
- Harry Dexter White – KGB agent, communist, Bretton Woods and IMF architect which structured the international banking system and happened to teach college in the same hick town Joseph McCarthy is from.
- Harry Houdini – Appleton's favorite son, 'cause the other two, Joe McCarthy and Harry Dexter White didn't fare so well.
- Bernardine Dohrn – anti-war activist who co-mentored Obama's political career.
- Melvin Laird – Nixon Defense Secretary during the Vietnam war; Hillary Clinton's first boss as a DC intern.
- Douglas MacArthur – Commander of the Pacific, accepted Japanese surrender at the end of World War II.
- Mildred Harnack – beheaded on Adolf Hitler's personal orders; only known burial site of a member of the Red Orchestra.
- Golda Meir (born Minsk, Belarus) – refugee and schoolteacher, Prime Minister of Israel.
- Oprah Winfrey – moved to Milwaukee when she was 6 and tried to run away (who can blame her?).
- Gen. Billy Mitchell – father of US Airforce; court-martialed for speaking out on the superiority of air power over naval power.
- Terry Meeuwsen – co-host of the 700 Club.
- Gaylord Nelson – founder of Earth Day.
- William Rehnquist – Chief Justice United States Supreme Court.
- Paul Ryan – Speaker of the House.
- Judge Dredd – oops, David Clarke – the psycho hillbilly Sheriff from Milwaukee. Some of his "Medals" make no sense.[note 5]
- Georgia O'Keefe – artist.
- Liberace – concert pianist and drag queen.
- Les Paul – invented the electric guitar.
- Frank Lloyd Wright – architect.
- Carl Schurz – statesman, writer, and diplomat; Schurz's wife brought the German institution of Kindergarten, or child care, to America.
- Thorsten Veblen – Progressive author of Theory of the Leisure Class.
- Bill Plante – CBS news.
- Governor Scott Walker (not by birth.)
- Reince Priebus – former RNC chairman, Trump White House Chief of Staff as of 2017.
- Donna Shalala – Bill Clinton's Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Tommy Thompson – George W. Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Russ Feingold – Democratic Senator from 1993-2011.
Famous Wisconsin Firsts
- First Republican party caucus to adopt an anti-slavery platform, 1854.
- First state to adopt direct primary election, 1905.
- First state to adopt income tax, 1911.
- First state to adopt collective bargaining for public employees, 1959.
- First state to "end welfare as we know it", 1993.
- First state to abolish collective bargaining for public employees, 2012.
Nicknames, manufactures and exports
- Wisconsinites are often cruelly referred to as "cheeseheads",[note 6] due to the major dairy production there. The fact that fans of the Green Bay Packers will wear foam cheese on their heads only fuels this more.
- Harley Davidson. Get the fuck out of the way.
- Miller Brewery and a bunch of others. Although Wisconsin historically ranks in the top 2 states in SAT scores & graduation rates, it also historically ranks in the top 2 states in per capita alcohol consumption, proving there is no link between education or lack thereof and alcoholism. Indeed, studies from both the U.S. and other countries have found a correlation between increasing levels of education and higher levels of alcohol consumption. First of all, better educated people tend to earn more money and have more to spend on luxuries such as alcohol. Secondly, affluent people may consume significant amounts of alcohol on a weekly or monthly aggregate basis, but this is often ignored in the public imagination because it occurs in a socially more acceptable way than getting roaring drunk on moonshine, e.g. though drinking wine with meals or at receptions, cocktails with business associates, aperitifs, a brandy or cognac with the after dinner coffee etc.
- Badger — see state motto, above. Not originally a reference to the animal. "Badger" was a nickname given to early miners who left "badger holes" in the ground.
- Michels Pipeline Construction has been awarded a contract for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline; other large-scale equipment manufacturers such as Bucyrus-Erie and Manitowoc Cranes stand to benefit as well (assuming Caterpillar hasn't run the former straight into the ground by then).
- Wisconsin has long been a major exporter of ginseng to China and South Korea, which  cheaper ginseng from Canada and China is often mislabeled as, because Wisconsin ginseng is apparently considered the superior product.
- CCCP meaning Cow-, Cheese- and Corn Producers.
- It doesn't matter what nobs says in protest to this, because he keeps his cellphone in a quick-draw leather holster on his belt.
- Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District has more dairy cows than people, many of which are still not registered to vote.
- while Danish hams and French brie are freely available.
- Because it's not a uniform, he turned it into a costume.
- a term originating among Illinoisyians, which cheeseheads ruefully refer to as "flatlanders".
- See Wikipedia article Forty-Eighters
- Victor Berger; Mother Jones magazine attributes the phrase, "drain the swamp" to Berger.
- Frank Zeidler, et al.
- Some say second only to UW-Lacrosse. 5 of the top 20 schools nationwide with arrests for drug and alcohol offenses are in the UW system.
- 2018 Wisconsin Election Results
- EPA Issues “Fart Chart”: Bovine Flatulence Measured State-by-State, 1 May 2014, by jonathanturley
- Cow farts blow up barn.
- The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We Know, What We Need To Know by Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D.
- As measured by the beer industry’s economic effect on GDP, Wisconsin is now ranked third.
- Fact-checking Lewis Black’s “Drinking in Wisconsin” rant, Matt Wild, Milwaukee Record, September 27, 2016
- Do you think Wisconsin has a drinking problem?, Readers respond to major exposé, Wasted in Wisconsin, 10/23/2008
- Joseph McCarthy: Biography, Appleton Public Library.
- The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order, Benn Steil, Princeton University Press, 2013, p. 21.
- Michels Wins First Contract for the Keystone XL Pipeline, Pipeline and Gas Journal, December 2010.
- See mislabeling of the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin seal and lack of monitoring by the GBW, Status of the Wisconsin Ginseng Industry , Lan Cheng and Paul D. Mitchell, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin‐Madison, 2006; also Taiwan Market Development Reports: Ginseng 2006, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.