Of all the states Hillary Clinton lost, perhaps none was as shocking as Wisconsin, with its long history of progressive politics.
But in retrospect, it shouldn’t have been.
While Democrats still outnumber Republicans here overall, that’s not the case among elected officials. From the legislature to the governorship, from the attorney general to the secretary of natural resources, the state is almost entirely controlled by Republicans – who, for the better part of a decade, have been steadily remaking it in their image.
Scott Walker won the governorship here as part of a nationwide Republican wave in 2010, and immediately set about turning the state’s finances around, eliminating a projected $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes, by cutting funding for everything from schools to environmental research.
In the process, Wisconsin, one of the first states to introduce income taxes and elect Socialist politicians, has undergone a wholesale reinvention – shifting from a model of government largesse to one of individual responsibility and accountability.