FREE WHITEWATER

Politics

Barriers to Substantive Change in a Small Town

Several recent posts here are FREE WHITEWATER are, collectively, a cautionary series on the difficulty of effecting substantive change in Whitewater, Wisconsin. One might want change; realism demands a clear-eyed assessment of its likelihood. Other towns might have better (or even worse) odds; Whitewater is not, by definition, another town. A listing of challenges, with…

After a News Desert

A news desert is a community without coverage from a daily newspaper. If coverage means timely newspaper reporting on a city’s principal public meetings and events, then Whitewater has been a news desert since the nearby Daily Jefferson County Union stopped reporting on Whitewater’s common council & school board meetings. If coverage means timely, insightful,…

Cameras, Not Committees

Recent protests across America against excessive and biased use of police force began after ordinary people in those communities recorded official (to the point of murderous) actions, and then shared their recordings with others. It was not government – local, state, or federal – that promptly shared these recordings of excessive force; it was ordinary…

Trump’s Undersized Base

Polling from Morning Consult illustrates well the limitations of Trump’s base-only strategy: his support (base and supportive voters) represents less than needed for re-election. That support is, in fact, notably consistent in its inadequacy: Over many months, including before the brunt of the pandemic, Trump has been stuck in a weak position. This does not…

The Lingering Problem of Local Exceptionalism

A common error in small rural communities is the persistent, false claim that local officials are examples of a local exceptionalism that makes them implicitly immune from the flaws and mistakes that beset the rest of humanity. Under this thinking, while there may be problems in the wider world, there are no local examples of…

Trump Can Incite, But He Can’t Quell

The man who in 2016 arrogantly declared “I alone can fix it” spent party of Friday evening sheltering in the White House bunker. Trump is unique among presidents in his support for vigilantism (see Donald Trump is America’s First Vigilante President). Inciting others to violent, illegal action (or excusing that action among this supporters) is…

Rep. Justin Amash Learns There Are Only Two Significant Sides in This Conflict

Rep. Justin Amash, who toyed with running for president as a third-party candidate, has decided against doing so. Amash has come – however slowly – to see that, in his words, “circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year.” His candidacy was always a bad idea. See Only a Grand…

3 Views of the Trump Digital Campaign Operation

Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is proud of the digital campaign operation he’s created for Trump’s election. He’s even referred to it (absurdly) as a ‘Death Star’ operation. Views of the Trump digital offering are mixed. Dave Weigel sees Trump digital platform as interactively engaging for Trump’s fans:  Trump 2020 did not let me go…

A Necessary Public Policy Question

Now, and ending one knows not when, public policy proposals that involve human interaction should address, as a necessary element, the question of whether the coronavirus pandemic affects the proposal. A person might assume that he could walk through a forest without ever encountering a wolf, and even convince himself that, by power of suggestion…