If you walk into the Wisconsin State Historical Society Museum in Madison, you’ll find a good chunk of the building dedicated to the socialist and progressive politics of the Badger State. Historically, Wisconsin led the nation in thoughtful, progressive and pragmatic policy. Wisconsin was home to early abolitionists, was the first state to ratify the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote, created the first kindergarten, the first worker’s compensation program, the first ecological restoration program, and was the first to grant collective bargaining rights to public workers. Built up over a hundred and fifty years, that progressive tradition came crashing down in just a few short months after the 2010 elections. Dan Kaufman is the author of the “Fall of Wisconsin” out now from W.W. Norton and Company.
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