There are two possible reactions to victory. The first one is when a person or group feels that the mission has been accomplished, and therefore chooses to relax and enjoy the win. The second kind would be when a person or group is further energized by victory, and is motivated to work even harder. The former is a strategy for short-term success, while the latter is a strategy for prevailing in the longer run.
We, the Republicans in Wisconsin, fall in the second category. The November 2016 election results revealed that GOP not only held on to control over the state legislature, but the voters also sent shockwaves throughouts the country when Wisconsin chose a Republican for President for the first time since 1984. Furthermore, Senator Ron Johnson won re-election, proving wrong all those polls that predicted that Russ Feingold would win. After such massive victory, it is not unusual to take a deep breath and a break. But Wisconsin Republicans did not pause – they took advantage of the momentum to keep going. GOP has remained very active – holding regular meetings and events at the county level, monitoring and working on important issues affecting our state and country, and continuing to inform voters about our agenda for a safe and prosperous America.
Republican victories in Wisconsin did not happen overnight. The year 2010 swept control away from the Democrats – Scott Walker being elected to lead the state, Republicans gaining majority in the legislature, and Russ Feingold losing his long-held Senate seat to businessman Ron Johnson. Such success bolstered conservatives’ confidence, as our Republican leaders steered Wisconsin away from failed policies of the past and towards bold reforms that would put our state on a track to prosperity. The reforms worked, and people saw progress and continued to vote for conservative leaders. As we approached 2016, the country became hungry for strong leadership in the White House – for a chief executive who would focus on putting America first.
While the country headed towards the 2016 election and tensions rose, many polls showed that GOP would lose the race for presidency, as well as the contests for key Senate seats. By then, Wisconsin was the center of attention because the state was represented by leading political figures such as Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Scott Walker (who was recognized by Mike Pence, in addition to many others, as “America’s Greatest Governor”), House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. With such strong Republicans representing America’s Dairyland, many pundits still considered Wisconsin to be an easy win for Hillary Clinton. But the conservatives remained determined, making voter contacts all over the state. But simply reaching out to voters would mean nothing if Republicans had no record of success. In Wisconsin, Republicans achieved legislative goals that put hard-working taxpayers in charge, and created an environment that celebrates new businesses and job creation. And, in the presidential race, Donald Trump’s message touched the hearts of people who craved for a new direction for the country – one that would ensure America’s success in the world and strengthen our security. From young volunteers to experienced people who have been in politics for decades – everyone got involved to ensure victories for GOP in Wisconsin and at the federal level.
And now, Republicans continue to be engaged statewide, spreading the news and updates of legislative and policy accomplishments to the people. From Lincoln-Reagan Day dinners to Pints and Politics to annual picnics, we continue to see large numbers of people gather to support the conservative leadership. In addition to continuous outreach, every few weeks the Republican Party of Wisconsin organizes “Super Saturday” – which is a statewide campaign (on a Saturday) to make large number of voter contacts using phone and door-to-door visits. These Super Saturdays are critical to bringing county parties, students from university campuses, and other supporters together for a day full of action. As the 78th Assembly District Chairman from the Republican Party of Dane County, I regularly participate in these Super Saturdays, by visiting Republican Party of Wisconsin’s Southwest Regional Field Office in Fitchburg. Each time, I am thrilled to see new faces, along with people I already know, volunteering to promote our message of life, liberty, and opportunity.
I’ll never forget the day when vice presidential nominee Mike Pence visited WI GOP’s office in Dane County. I was honored to be the one who greeted (at the time) Governor Pence as he entered the building, shook his hand, and gave him a warm welcome. As he spoke to the enthusiastic group of supporters that day, he said, “You guys have set the pace for the whole country.” That was in September 2016, and Mike Pence was so correct. As November would reveal, Wisconsin did set (and did so very successfully) the pace for the whole country. For the first time in decades, Wisconsin voted for a GOP presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, proving many political experts (who predicted otherwise) wrong.
Wisconsin’s strength is in its people, their values and principles, and their hard work and honesty. Our victories did not slow us down, but rather energized us so that we may achieve more in the future. In Wisconsin, we recognize that there’s much more to do, and we are determined to move forward. Our reaction to victory is to work harder.