Why Does Nate Hate Bob La Follette? (A History Lesson)

In a post on his blog, Nate of the Nate Report said:

There is no excuse for the amount of money spent locally and by political parties on unneeded primaries. Now, if the Democratic or Republican parties want a primary that’s just fine with me, but it should not be done on the public dole.

Nathan, Nathan, Nathan....

This is one of the lasting reforms ann legacies of La Follette and the Wiscosnin Idea. Why do you want to ruin our legacy?

From Fightin' Bob:

Declaring that "the spirit of democracy is abroad in the land," La Follette successfully pushed the legislature to double taxes on the railroads, to break up monopolies, to preserve the state's forests, to protect labor rights, to defend the interests of small farmers, to regulate lobbying, to end patronage politics, and to weaken the grip of political bosses by creating an open-primary system.


La Follette returned to Wisconsin where he refused a bribe offered by a powerful Wisconsin Republican, Philetus Sawyer, to influence a judge. Outraged by the bribery attempt, he became a vocal critic of machine politics and a leader of the "Progressive" faction of the Republican Party then vying for power with the "Stalwart" party establishment. He returned to office as Governor in 1900, after two unsuccessful attempts, by campaigning for direct election of nominees in party primaries.

From MIT:

Outside the South, primary elections were the cornerstone of progressive reforms. States that adopted the direct primary early, such as Wisconsin, California, and North Dakota, were strongholds of the Progressive movement within the Republican Party.11 (The package of political reforms called the "Wisconsin idea," including the direct primary, was the handiwork of progressive Republican senator Robert M. LaFollette.) The direct primary, its advocates argued, promised to turn out of o±ce politicians long out of touch with the typical voter and to renew the Republican Party with a healthy dose of competition. In the South too,
progressives called for direct primaries as a means of weakening the hold of particular factions or organizations over state politics. Where the target of reform in the North was the business plutocracy and immigrant machines, in the South the target was courthouse cliques and plantation bosses.

Come on, Nate. Don't ruin our legacy. Candidates should not be decided in back rooms, they should be decided in the light of election.

I know you love your IRV, but don't let that blind you.

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