The victories of Brandon Johnson in Chicago and Janet Protasiewicz in Wisconsin are the latest signs that the upper Midwest, after a long period of trending right, is now the home of a liberal and left resurgence. Chris Lehmann, who surveyed the region in a recent column for The Nation, joins the podcast to talk about this development. We look at the history of how the “blue firewall” that helped Obama win in 2012 became a cornerstone of Trump’s victory in 2016, the disastrous impact of the 2010 midterms, the GOP campaign (aided by Koch-family money) to create permanent Republican power in the region using gerrymandering, and the counterattack led by grassroots activism and union organizing.
In discussing the recent liberal resurgence, we examine the impact of social issues (notably abortion and trans rights) and economic issues (notably workers’ rights and trade). We also contrast the politics of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan (where the Democrats are finding their footing) with Iowa (where the right continues to be ascendant).
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