Daily Bread for 11.4.21: How Mequon-Thiensville Residents Saved Their Schools

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 48.  Sunrise is 7:34 AM and sunset 5:42 PM for 10h 08m 18s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Landmarks Commission meets at 6 PM.

 On this day in 1956, Soviet troops enter Hungary to end the Hungarian revolution against the Soviet Union that started on October 23. Thousands are killed, more are wounded, and nearly a quarter million leave the country.

The Mequon-Thiensville School District (MTSD) is a Republican area, and the conflict between those who wanted to recall four school board members and those who wanted to retain them was a conflict between traditional conservatives and populist conservatives. It is a district both more affluent and academically successful than Whitewater’s district. (Mequon-Thiensville is not so troubled with the problem of retaining students’ basic skills through high school, or of students’ enduring hunger, homelessness, or poverty.)

While the MTSD may have significant socio-economic differences with Whitewater, how residents in that community defended themselves against book-banning populists deserves consideration.

Charlie Sykes, writing in the Bulwark, shares an assessment of a resident who was part of the defense against the recall (subscription site):

One key was local leaders who stepped up, including a letter from former mayors opposing the recall effort.

I think earned media was also key. Exposing that thinly veiled agenda was important. Half of the candidates had crazy stuff on their social media that they didn’t think to lock down prior to running.

The [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel] was really on it in that last month. The AP article (Tea Party 2.0?) was pivotal in getting further attention – including eventually NYT and Stephanie Saul.

There was so much disinformation. We had a small team of folks on social media who would correct disinformation when they saw it and hammer it home, including the inform Facebook group.

We didn’t allow the Democrats anywhere near this. They reached out to candidates and everyone declined. They dangled their voter software – we said no. (You can apparently buy data software as a 3rd party) – I think they may have mobilized their voters in their end. It required unifying fully against the recall.

The coalition is made up of folks who just last year were on opposite sides of in person vs. virtual debate…. We have varying political beliefs. We had to work together.

Redirecting folks with their own agendas back to the bigger threat was very important. At one point a few more liberal-leaning parents wanted to get involved in that Brewing Co class action lawsuits over masks. They were strongly urged by everyone else to stop.

I think the general demographics of our community helped too. We have resources. While conservative, most folks are not MAGA. Even those who did vote for Trump in 2020, did so holding their nose because they wanted tax cuts, etc…. That certainly did not equate to wanting Trump-like clowns near our district.


We canvassed (local parents) vs. the recall who used out-of -county young Republicans… I think having your neighbor tell you something is more effective than outsourcing to a college student who doesn’t even know how to spell Thiensville…

When the right-wing populists come for a place, residents who are diligent and industrious can push them back. The kind of energy that sensible residents showed in Mequon-Thiensville is rare in Whitewater. Aspiring — wishin’ and hopin’— won’t meet the challenge.

Whale-cams reveal how much they really eat:

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2 years ago

[…]  There have been, and will be, intense contests for school boards across America in the coming year. Wisconsin had a nationally-noted battle over a school board recall in November, and upcoming spring elections in parts of the state are likely to be as acrimonious.  See Mequon-Thiensville School District Rejects Recall and How Mequon-Thiensville Residents Saved Their Schools. […]

2 years ago

[…] a lack of both strategy (what issues?) and tactics (how to fight on those issues?).  See How Mequon-Thiensville Residents Saved Their Schools. She’ll find it harder to carry on if GOP donors, who’ll be able to spend as much as […]

2 years ago

[…] have seen (Fall 2021) and still see (Spring 2022) energized electorates (posts on this topic: 1, 2, 3). (In M-T, the tensions has been between kinds of Republicans, but in other places red or blue […]

2 years ago

[…] the strength of motivated opponents. See Mequon-Thiensville School District Rejects Recall and How Mequon-Thiensville Residents Saved Their Schools. (This spring, residents of that district again rejected two candidates who were in favor of last […]