A Case Study Of A Career Politician

One of the many things wrong with our current political landscape, is that it is littered with numerous career politicians. Our founding fathers hadn't planned on people making a life out of going to Washington DC and becoming immersed in government and politics. It was supposed to be a brief moment of servitude, and then back home to your family and workplace. Unfortunately, we have morphed into an elective despotism with many instances of people enjoying the power and money of a self-aggrandizing political system. One such example is Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. This is a case study in politics as usual with a bit of hypocrisy thrown in for good measure. It highlights the core reason why Donald Trump rode a wave of anger and discontent from a fed-up electorate.

Many in Wisconsin are well aware of the Russ Feingold story, but for those who aren't, it is worth a brief summary. He is a lawyer by trade and served for ten years in the Wisconsin state legislature before deciding to throw his hat in the ring for the United States Senate seat in 1992. Feingold was the outsider in the Democratic Party race in the primary that year. He was polling in single-digits and far behind Congressman Jim Moody and businessman Joe Checota. They had the money and name recognition, so Feingold took his garage door and wrote a pledge to Wisconsin voters on it in his political ad campaign. He made quirky ads and showed off his modest house, including the fact that he had no skeletons in his closet. One of his pledges was to take the majority of his campaign donations from Wisconsinites and combat the dirty money of politics. His marketing and quirky campaign paid off, and he not only won the Democratic Party nomination that year, but rolled on to defeat the incumbent, Republican Bob Kasten.

So Mr. Feingold went to Washington and proceeded to stay there for eighteen years. His biggest accomplishment was joining up with Senator John McCain, and writing the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002. It was intended to limit contributions and get the dark money out of politics. He was Mr. Clean and Captain Campaign Finance Reform and wore it with pride throughout his career in Washington DC. He continued to stand by his pledge of taking the majority of his campaign donations from Wisconsinites, even through his defeat in 2010 by Republican Ron Johnson. In defeat, Feingold said he was leaving politics for awhile.

Fast forward to 2016, and like a bad nightmare, Russ Feingold is back to reclaim his Senate seat. But, this time, he is more than willing to do whatever it takes to get back to Washington, including selling his soul to win. Mr. Clean has turned his back on his longtime pledge of taking the majority of his campaign donations from Wisconsinites, and has over 70% of his donations from outside of Wisconsin. The top three states donating to his campaign are Illinois, New York, and California. So what do those states have in common? They are all deeply entrenched Democratic Party states that have a plethora of rich Democrats eager to give lots of money to Mr. Feingold for his US Senate race against incumbent Republican Ron Johnson. More damning, Feingold tops $700,000 in bundled contributions from lobbyists, and has turned to the dark side for political gain and power. He is dripping wet in the river of hypocrisy. This was an undercover video taken by Project Veritas at a fundraising event for Mr. Feingold in California, of all places, and highlights his knack of saying one thing to Wisconsinites, but saying something a bit different behind closed doors with campaign donors.

What Russ Feingold shows us, is not just unique to Wisconsin. Every state of our republic has at least one or more of these career politicians at every level of government. The voters of Wisconsin will have the ultimate voice and last word on Mr. Feingold. They can send a loud message this election season by denying him a return to Washington, or they can continue to succumb to politics as usual and give other politicians confidence that they are in no real danger of being stripped of political power. If people are truly fed-up with the politicians and the political system, then the outcome of this United States Senate campaign in Wisconsin will be well worth watching.


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