Mike McCabe

Making His Case for Governor of Wisconsin
by Mike McCabe
August 2018

2018 Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mike McCabe

2018 Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mike McCabe

Since becoming a candidate for governor last September, I have traveled over 85,000 miles reaching out to voters. That’s more than three times around the world without leaving Wisconsin.

Everywhere I go I encounter what I can only describe as forgotten people living in forgotten places. Some are in the inner city. Some live way out in the country like where I’m from. They feel ignored, written off, looked down upon. And they are seething with frustration and resentment.

Everywhere I go I talk about making Wisconsin a place where if you work you belong in the middle class. About how it should be our goal to erase the words “working poor” from our vocabulary. About how our state should settle for nothing less than a living wage for every worker, health care for all, debt-free education and job training for everyone, and high-speed internet everywhere.

Everywhere I go I say it should be Wisconsin’s goal to be the first state in America to be fully powered by renewable energy. And the first state to test the effectiveness of a basic income program to create economic stability and financial security for vulnerable workers whose jobs are being automated out of existence.

Whether I am in a church or a tavern, I make the case for fully legalizing marijuana to stop one of the driving forces behind the mass incarceration that has Wisconsin spending more of its state budget on prisons than on our university system.

Everywhere I go I tell people we won’t get any of these things unless we cut out the cancer that is growing in the body of democracy. We won’t get clean air and clean water from dirty politics. We won’t get living wages out of a dying democracy. We won’t get good health care from a sick political system. We won’t get anything but thoughts and prayers from elected officials after each new mass shooting when elected officials are paid to do nothing more.

This is a dangerous moment. People sense it — and are unnerved by it. Hunger for change in our political system and a very different kind of leadership is intense.

That’s why I won’t take any single donation over $200. Wisconsin law allows candidates for governor to take $20,000 checks from individuals and $86,000 donations from special interest groups. But here’s the thing. Those huge donations come with strings attached. Favors are expected. Favors are given. Those huge donations are legal bribes.

I’ve spent much of my adult life as an independent watchdog shining light on the influence of big money in politics and exposing the corruption that results from transactions between elected officials and wealthy donors. My life’s work has made me aware that a mere one-half of 1 percent of the American population supplies more than two-thirds of political money. And it showed me another reality: What those rich donors want our government to do is vastly different from what you want. And they get their way at your expense.

If government is going to work for all of us, we desperately need to end legal bribery. Ending it starts with refusing to play along with the money game that is at the heart of the old politics that is failing us so badly, and breaking the mold to form a new politics.

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