What Randy Bryce Built, October 2018
Randy Bryce on Madison’s Capitol Square this spring. Photo by Ken Fager.
Countless politicians—even Trump himself—have run for office professing to champion the hopes, dreams, and perspectives of ordinary working people. The 2018 midterm election cycle has given birth to an army of insurgent progressive stars, from New York to Michigan to Idaho, with their own distinctive backgrounds and biographies.
Even in that crowded field, the solidly built, mustachioed construction worker Randy Bryce—popularly known by his Twitter handle, @IronStache—has managed to become one of the most-watched midterm election candidates, running for the Congressional district represented for the last twenty years by Republican Paul Ryan, now Speaker of the House of Representatives…
The Long-Lasting Effects of Redistricting in Wisconsin, October 2017
Following 2010’s Republican-friendly mid-term election and the decennial census, many states, including Wisconsin, rewrote their congressional and legislative boundaries to favor the right wing. Our state is also one in 37 in which legislatures (and by extension political parties) have final control over the maps, as opposed to special bodies. However, it had been decades since a single party had control of state government during decennial redistricting…
There’s a word for drawing districts that give a lopsided advantage to one political party – gerrymandering – and the Supreme Court ruled more than 50 years ago that it can violate the Constitution by making some votes worth less than others. But justices have fallen short of a consensus on how to measure and limit partisan gerrymandering, and attempts to get them to overturn state maps, whether drawn by Republicans or Democrats, have failed.
Can Blue-Collar Progressive Randy Bryce Topple Paul Ryan?, September 2017
The video shows Randy Bryce sitting on a porch, chatting with residents, strolling with his arm around his 9-year-old son, then walking onto a construction site, hard hat on his head. The music swells toward a climax, and so does the man’s voiceover: “I decided to run for office because not everybody’s seated at the table. And it’s time to make a bigger table.”
With that video, union ironworker Randy Bryce kicked off his campaign against Ryan for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. After just one day, the video helped raise $100,000, mostly in small donations, from around the nation.
Ryan is in his 20th year in Congress with a seemingly indomitable record at the ballot box. But Bryce is unlike anyone who has ever challenged him.
Can Bryce — if he wins the Democratic nomination — succeed in toppling the House Speaker in 2018? Some say no…
The Little School District That Could, March 2017
Now, after stripping public employees of their union rights, squeezing the ability of public schools to raise revenues, and throwing open the doors for private schools around the state to get public money by expanding Milwaukee’s controversial school voucher program, the state’s Republican lawmakers had come back for more. In a measure aimed exclusively at Racine, the state legislature wiped out the Racine Unified School district’s long-standing tradition . . .
Marquette law professor takes a bite out of crime myth, February 2017
|Photo by Matthew Muller.
Despite widespread belief that stiff mandatory sentences are to blame for Wisconsin’s high incarceration rate, Marquette University law professor Michael O’Hear argues that it’s a lot more complicated . . .
The New Crop, July 2016
[Publication may require payment for access. Find out more here.]
Photo by Arnaldo Aladana.
Big farms keep getting bigger. Midsized farms keep disappearing. In the shadow of these seismic changes in the rural Wisconsin landscape, tiny farms have proliferated, fed by consumer demand for local eats and healthy choices. A look at what’s driving the supersizing, and microsizing, and what it means for the rest of us.
The Believer, February 2016
I wrote about Mike McCabe’s “Blue Jean Nation” political reform project for Isthmus in 2016. None of the handful of prospective candidates whom he inspired succeeded in the subsequent fall elections. But McCabe remains active — and he’s now inspired an enthusiastic movement to draft him for the 2018 Wisconsin governor’s race.