THREAD: The Biden win over Trump in Wisconsin is the result of thousands of heroes, working in the trenches for years.

To everyone who made this possible—THANK YOU. Here's one story of the path to this victory, and some of the people & groups involved. Everything mattered.
First, and foremost, we would not have won Wisconsin with the tireless efforts of Governor Tony Evers ( @Tony4WI ).

The @WisDems collaboration with him allowed us to scale our state party in an unprecedented fashion. And boy did we need to scale. Here's why:
Wisconsin is the home of the nailbiter. Here’s a slide I’ve been using in presentations for the last year. Adding in 2020, four of the last six presidential races here have had under 1% margins.

Ignore polls: You have to run like you’re two points behind.
In 2004, we were the closest state in the country. We were even closer in 2000, but nobody outside WI noticed because of Florida.

Wisconsin zig-zagged in the Obama-walker years, and then settled back on the razor’s edge in 2016—with mighty forces pushing from both sides.
Wisconsin has deep progressive roots—which made it a target for the right. The GOP money machine flooded the state and, fueling the Tea Party wave, flipped it from blue to red trifecta in 2010. The GOP used its power to immediately rig the rules—starting with an assault on labor.
Act 10 was just the start. The GOP strategy was to make it impossible for WI Dems to win—even when voters wanted them to. The GOP changed voter registration rules, put in harsh voter ID laws, rewrote campaign finance rules to hurt grassroots groups & empower their billionaires.
Republicans targeted Black Wisconsinites, young people, and organized workers most of all. And they gerrymandered the legislative maps to lock in GOP control in any foreseeable circumstance—so much so that this year, their goal was supermajorities.
Amidst heartbreak, Wisconsinites didn’t give up. Unions fought back. Black Wisconsinites organized. Young people rose like a wave. The movement grew & grew—lifelong Democrats, new Democrats, and so many skeptical of both parties but ready for change.
I grew up here in Wisconsin, and fell in love with the tenacity of our state’s progressive movement. Then I spent years away, working for change on other fronts. I wasn’t here in the hardest times. Those on the front lines when all seemed lost are the heroes of this dark decade.
The unheralded and profoundly inspiring work of generations of progressive Wisconsinites, in civil rights & union & women’s & environmental & so many other movements—laid the groundwork to survive eight brutal years of GOP trifecta control. Biden’s win stands on high shoulders.
My amazing wife Beth, our 3 kids, and I moved back to my home state in late 2018. That year, Scott Walker had won statewide 3 times (once against a recall) and was running for a 3rd term, with rules rigged in his favor. It was unclear: had WI become a permanently red state?
What I learned was that, following Trump’s devastating win in 2016, Wisconsin’s progressive movement had reorganized and regrouped. State & national groups had invested, grassroots orgs had grown or been founded—and within the state party, something extraordinary was underway.
Martha Laning, then- @WisDems chair, had created a powerhouse year-round organizing program. She hired superstar organizer Staci O’Brien to architect, on the Obama model, a system of all-volunteer Neighborhood Action Teams. @laningforwi’s innovation is the core of today’s program.
The thousands of volunteers in those teams, supported by full-time @wisdems organizing staff, helped sweep every statewide WI race in 2018 for the first time since 1982. The vast efforts by allied groups, great candidates, & the party beat back Scott Walker’s machine—by 1.1%.
I ran for chair of the @WisDems in spring of 2019, crisscrossing the state to meet with grassroots activists, veteran operatives, & county party leaders with lifetimes of lessons from tough losses & from-behind victories. I’m so grateful to be entrusted with their wisdom.
Once elected chair, I got to know an all-star team—including @AnnaSurrey25, then & now our director of statewide organizing. Wisconsin is SO lucky she's here—she’s a literal organizing genius. Anna & her deputies, regionals, & field organizers are national treasures.
We’ve grown a lot, fast, and the whole @WisDems team is extraordinary. @courtebeyer leads a killer comms shop. @LaraMHenderson‘s finance team is legendary. @bhaviklathia‘s digital department: game-changing. @diamondgreg and the ops team have scaled up exponentially, with grace.
The political department led by @LiberalStallion is helping transform Wisconsin politics. Our Save The Veto team, under @katieiliff1 & Sr Advisor @realcassmaster, has built an unprecedented partnership with @Tony4WI, @WisDems, @wiassemblydems, and @wisenatedems.
The whole @WisDems senior team is overseen by one of the most extraordinary human beings I know—a manager and leader who challenges, teaches, and inspires me and all of us every day. Our executive director, @NellieBme.
Our state party entered 2020 with the WISCO plan:

Win the spring election; use it as a rehearsal for fall
Inspire/recruit/train at the Dem National Convention
Save the veto—stop GOP supermajorities
Cancel Trump's 2nd inaugural
Organize for the long term
Winning the spring election 3.5 weeks after the COVID pandemic hit Wisconsin was intense. @JudgeKarofsky is a phenom, and so many people & groups stepped up to lead.

Read more on that fight here:
Inspiring, recruiting, and training thousands of volunteers during the Democratic Convention took the form of Campaign Academy 2020, a partnership of @WisDems, @ArenaSummit, @DemConvention, & @TeamJoe. 18k organizers trained!
Save The Veto was one of 2020’s most successful state legislative drives. @GovEvers raised millions of dollars for key campaigns—HUGE thanks to all who donated—and a @wisdems team worked with them to run world-class races. Result: the veto, saved.
Canceling Trump’s second inaugural—the C in WISCO—first involved building a presidential-caliber campaign operation within the state party, while the primary was still raging, and test it in the spring. This was a gamble: would the primary winner work with the @wisdems team?
It’s in the @WisDems constitution that we’re neutral in primaries. Once the primary was over, electing @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris became our highest aim. They prioritized Wisconsin—making their first long-distance trips here, visited virtually, and poured in resources and staff.
The Biden campaign, led by @jomalleydillon, made a powerful strategic decision: rather than push aside existing infrastructure, it would, in states like MI, WI, & AZ, hire top in-state talent & integrate with & build on the existing state party operations. This proved critical.
Biden national hired the A team. @JoeForWisconsin team State Director @Danielle_Melfi is a gifted, driven, & highly effective @TammyBaldwin ‘18 alum/shero. BFP-WI Deputy Director @garrenrandolph (formerly @WisDems Political Director) is a mountain-mover.
Biden For President WI leadership taps the immense talents of @Scott_Spector, @Bjork_TM, @JLaadt, and Shirley Ellis—and a crew of WI political titans. BFP + WisDems join in the mighty Coordinated Campaign, spearheaded by the hugely effective @ChrisWalloch & @remiker_devin.
The Coordinated Campaign is astonishingly effective. Alongside Anna’s legendary organizing shop, Ola Topczewska’s team works wonders with data; @Heebs25 leads digital organizing; & @PriyalAmin expertly coordinates Coordinated Ops.
The last Coordinated department is Voter Protection, led by the stellar @DaveKronig—who came to WI in January via @StaceyAbrams’s group @FairFightAction. Thank you, Stacey! David's team has integrated VoPro with our organizing, with dramatic results.
In the Spring Supreme Court election, when Wisconsinites voted by mail in large numbers for the first time, 23k absentee ballots were rejected. For Nov 3, in an election w 2x the # of voters, thx to VoPro, the rate will be under 1/10 of that. Biden's margin of victory: ~20,500.
The leaders listed above could run anything. And the enormous, deeply skilled, wonderfully diverse, profoundly committed & aligned staff they’re managing—a team now hundreds strong—inspires me & our senior team every single day.

I can't overstate the gratitude they’ve earned.
In our WISCO plan, that’s the team that just won moved 10 Electoral College votes to Joe Biden’s column—and helped Cancel Trump’s second inaugural.

And then there’s the O: Organizing for the long term. Campaigns end. The Party continues.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is a small-d democratic organization governed by its members. The building blocks: county parties. From the biggest ( @MilwaukeeDems, chaired by @ChrisWaltonMKE!) to the smallest, our counties know their communities—& turn them out to vote.
County Party chairs, leaders, & volunteers across Wisconsin adapted to the COVID pandemic and kept their members engaged. They’ve driven virtual organizing, distributed yard and barn signs, and kept our party & campaigns vital & growing in the toughest of years. Thank you!
Joining a county party is the best way to dive more deeply into politics, to join a campaign kitchen cabinet, or to lay the groundwork to run for office yourself. You also vote & choose party leaders.

Find yours and join here:
I ran for state party chair in 2019 on a ticket with two amazing women: @LadyHawkeLesia, now First Vice Chair, and @SnodgrassforWI, now Second Vice Chair and State Rep-elect(!).

Our platform: FIRE—Fight, Include, Respect, & Empower.
We’re joined as party statewide officers by @KringleMeg, statewide Secretary and chair of @RacineDems, our invaluable keeper of institutional memory, and Randy Udell, state treasurer, who has kept us accountable & responsible as we’ve hugely scaled up.
There are 57 states and territories in the United States—so there are 57 units of the Democratic Party. National support provided by @DemStateParties makes us all more effective. Thanks, @kenmartin73, for your leadership & mentorship. The @MinnesotaDFL shows us how it’s done.
State parties, their chairs, and their EDs talk all the time—supporting each other with tactics, fundraising, advice, and empathy. I’ve so appreciated the partnership, camaraderie, & advice of @LavoraBarnes @DavidPepper @Tinapo @janekleeb & @TravRobertson.
Wisconsin has no better friend than @DNC chair @TomPerez, who put the @DemConvention here, partnered with @WisDems & @MarcEElias to fight in court for voting rights, and in a million ways made us better, stronger, & smarter. Thank you, chairman! & thanks for teaching me so much.
The O in WISCO—Organizing for the long term—will mean continually building our party infrastructure, in teams, counties, statewide, and on our staff. And it will mean deepening partnerships with the other pillars of our movement: candidates/electeds & allied groups.
In 2018, Wisconsin elected candidates who have been champions in 2020. @Tony4WI’s defeat of Scott Walker restored decency & democracy to the governorship. Lt Gov @TheOtherMandela brings an unignorable voice for change. @TammyBaldwin is a star.
We had *extraordinary* candidates across Wisconsin this year. @KindforCongress was targeted by the GOP—and scored a strong win., @Gwen4Congress & @MarkPocan mobilized & energized voters. @RogerforWI, @tomforwi, @JessicaKing6th, @TriciaforWI, and @AmandaStuck8 fought with spirit.
Our state legislative candidates did herculean work—and not only by blocking GOP supermajorities.

If every Dem who ran for Assembly or Senate inspired 250 people to vote, they generated more than Biden’s margin of victory in WI. Thank you!
Running in gerrymandered districts can be incredibly tough. Candidates ran wonderful campaigns and then smashed into the wall of a system rigged against them. I hope a ton of this year’s cast runs again in 2022 in new, more fairly drawn districts.
For every candidate, there’s a kitchen cabinet of trusted advisors; dedicated volunteers; sometimes campaign manager and other staff; sometimes family.

Enormous thanks for all of those unsung efforts.
And there are local candidates—like those who ran for offices like County Clerk or Register of Deeds. These offices matter too! Clerks, for example, just administered the most pivotal election of our lifetime. Enormous gratitude to folks who ran to serve the public locally.
Candidates, campaigns, and the party would not win if it weren’t for the enormous work undertaken by allied organizations—local, state, and national; labor unions; grassroots groups—the many-stranded fabric of the progressive movement in this country.
The labor movement is at the heart of the fight to make this country work for working people. It’s hard to overstate the impact of unions in the battle of 2020—and the intergenerational struggle for justice for all in America.
So many have fought so powerfully this year. @SEIU and @SEIUWI, @WEAC & @NEAtoday, @AFSCME & @afscme32, @AFTunion & @aftWisconsin, @wisaflcio & @AFLCIO, @IBEW, @WILaborers, @IUOELocal139, Pipe Trades, Firefighters—& MANY other unions have supercharged the fight for Wisconsin.
Black-led groups are doing deep, transformative work. @blocbyblocMKE has been rightly hailed nationwide. @LIT_WI has hugely organized young people of color—and won victories. Metcalfe Park Community Bridges & Souls to the Polls are mobilizing Black voters in extraordinary ways.
Wisconsin has some of America’s most searing racial disparities. Black-led groups building political power not only shape elections—they create accountability for leaders once elected. These and a slew of other groups are making WI a better state.
And then there are the many thousands of Wisconsinites organizing in social movements—including the leadership of so many BIPOC activists, especially young people, working to ensure that Black lives matter in Wisconsin.
They’ve reshaped this election & will reshape our state.
Wisconsin’s Latinx community is an emerging political force—and Voces de la Frontera Action @vdlf_action is working around the clock to organize Latino voters across the state—and to improve public policy.
Wisconsin’s sovereign tribal nations have raised their voices & mobilized their enrolled members to stand up for their rights & cast their votes. Hmong & other AAPI leaders have engaged deeply. @WisMuslimVoters
 is building power in a community too long invisible in WI politics.
Great thanks is due to Seniors’ groups, including WI @ActiveRetirees; veterans’ groups, incl @VoteVets; and LGBT groups like @Fair_Wisconsin, @HRC_WI, and @VictoryFund. Thanks also to @WisDems caucus chairs, help ensure that @WisDems is a place for all communities & identities.
The Biden for President Coalitions team, led by @mdberg, has done pathbreaking work to engage and include constituency groups that make up the fabric of our communities & movement.

We win when we’re ALL at the table.
In WI, independent groups are organized into mighty coalitions by the @AmericaVotes and @WisVoices tables, which help ensure that efforts complement each other. The work of those tables is essential to our democracy.
The fight for legislative seats & accountability in 2020 included many groups listed above, and many not yet mentioned.

HUGE shout-out to @ABetterWis, @ForOurFutureWI, @CitizenActionWI, @FutureNowUSA, @WorkingFamilies, @PPAWI, @WIConservation,, & @DemRedistrict!
So many groups here do critical work. @WIProgress, @BlueSkyWaukesha, @wisdom4justice, @9to5WI, BSR, & so many more. The Wisconsin donor table is a critical resource—thanks to John Miller & Meagan Mahaffey. Political godparents Teresa Vilmain, John Stocks, Martha Love—thank you!
Wisconsin has had friends across the country. @BradleyWhitford, a Madisonian, helped spark a wave of engagement from cultural icons too numerous to name, who brought their creative talents and beloved shows & movies to life to support @WisDems through our grassroots events.
National groups made WI a special priority. It made a huge difference. @NextGenAmerica, @American_Bridge, @PrioritiesUSA, @Brady_PAC,, @IndivisibleTeam, @OrgEmpowerProj, @TurnoutPAC, @MoveOn, the Women Effect Action Fund, SO MANY MORE (I’ve heard 100+!)—thank you! Stick around!
The @PodSaveAmerica team has championed our cause every step of the way—including with @VoteSaveAmerica, in which @TVietor08 adopted the Badger State and has partnered with us through thick and thin.
The fuel for political victory: people power. Thousands—tens of thousands—decided that Trump would lose Wisconsin, and then made it so. You volunteered your time. Tons of it. You donated funds, in gifts small & large—to power the win. You tweeted. You shared. You didn't give up.
A personal note. 2020 has been hard on my kids in so many ways, and the election has only made it harder. Kiddos, thank you. I hope this work makes the world better, and now that the election’s past, I’ll be here to explore this world with you more.
I fell in love with my wife Beth in part because our core values—working for justice—match. My job put so much other work on her—keeping our life & family running, on top of her own world-changing job. Thank you, Beth, for making this possible. It's a lot. I'm back. I love you.
To all the families of all those doing the often-overwhelming work of politics—we are grateful to you, even when we're too stressed to say it.
Nothing about political change is inevitable.

Wisconsin elections are so close so often because the other side mobilizes with enormous intensity as well. When you win by just 20,535 votes out of 3,289,421 votes cast, you know things could have gone the other way.
The Biden-Harris victory in Wisconsin is the work of so, so many people who refused to stand by. This thread is long, and could be fifty times longer. This win is the product of a big, gigantic us. To everyone who is part of that us, measureless gratitude. We did it.
The work never ends. Our work never ends.

The next statewide election is for State Superintendent for Public Instruction - @Tony4WI’s old job.

And then we redraw Wisconsin maps and make them fair.
And then, in 2022 we'll fight in every race from the State Assembly to defeating @TheWorstSenator to—critically— re-electing @Tony4WI.

But right now, it's worth savoring our win. Every piece of this added up, and it was enough. And it changed history.

Thank you.
You can follow @benwikler.
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