Don't worry, you can still root for the Packers. (
by Aaron Klemz
Jun 12, 2012, 2:00 PM

The huddled masses of Wisconsin

Are you from Wisconsin? Are you tired of the right wing and Governor Walker taking your collective bargaining rights, attacking the hospital visitation rights of gay couples, and privatizing public lakes and land? Does it seem like you don’t even recognize your own state anymore?

Come to Minnesota. We want you here.

Wisconsin’s war on public workers, public land and, well, the public has come at a significant cost to Fitzwalkerstan’s progressive creative class. Minnesota should capitalize and aggressively reach out with an advertising campaign to encourage them to relocate.

They are vulnerable. The last 25 months have taken their toll on the psyche of Wisconsinites as teachers, public employees, and progressives of all stripes have been told in no uncertain terms that they are job destroyers. Ironically, the knowledge workers of Wisconsin’s economy are its greatest asset. Let’s try to bring some of them across the St. Louis, St. Croix, and Mississippi Rivers.

The pitch might go something like this:

Here in Minnesota, we’ve preserved collective bargaining rights. Job growth in Minnesota continues to outpace Wisconsin, despite Governor Walker’s endless shilling for corporate tax breaks. We’re working hard to become the first state to repudiate marriage discrimination in a statewide vote. We value public land and lakes. All that’s missing is you, Wisconsin progressives!

It won’t be that jarring of a transition. We have a similar climate, a similar accent, and love beer and cheese too. You have Robert La Follette, we have Floyd B. Olson. We had Senator Paul Wellstone, you had Senator Russ Feingold.

Don’t worry, you can still root for the Packers. There are a lot of other expatriate Wisconsinites here that root for the hated Pack. Even some hardcore Vikings fans grudgingly admire the socialist ownership of the Packers. Heck, some of us even respect your unionized players speaking in favor of the recall effort. Here in Minnesota, our team is owned by a millionaire from Jersey, we’ve just paid out the nose for a new stadium, and former players are campaigning for Voter ID.  So maybe you could even recruit some new fans.

There are a few things that will take a bit of adaptation. First, the liquor stores are closed on Sunday, so stock up on Saturday. Second, the good fireworks are over there in Hudson. You might have to think ahead a bit.

Sure, we have Republicans too. Some really bad ones. If you drive across the border on Highway 25 into Wabasha, you’re entering Steve Drazkowski’s corner of Minnesota. He thinks we should destroy public sector unions and log the state parks. If your route takes you across the Stillwater lift bridge, you’re in Matt Dean territory. He hates Neil Gaiman.

It’s not all roses here. Our righties have a majority in the legislature, but they’ve been unable to implement their regressive agenda thanks to Governor Dayton. The bottom line is this – we’re building a progressive state over here, not tearing it down.

Think it’s out of bounds to recruit disaffected Wisconsin progressives? Think again. Neighboring states have aggressively courted Minnesota’s businesses and residents for years. South Dakota, specifically Sioux Falls, regularly runs ads on right wing talk radio attempting to woo business owners to their bustling Metropolis on the Prairie. Not only do these ads try to encourage relocation, they are targeted based on political beliefs, and tout the benefits of relocation.

Are you listening, Positively Minnesota?

Let’s start with a slate of radio ads in Dane County. And let’s fire back in the sign war. Somewhere, deep in a State of Minnesota warehouse, covered in 22 years of dust, is a sign reading “Minnesota: the Brainpower State.” It’s time to put it back up. Or, perhaps, “Minnesota: Open for People.”

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

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