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Politics & Government

Historian John Gurda: A Look Back At Wisconsin's Unique Politics

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If it seems to you that political tensions are always hot in Wisconsin, your grandparents might have thought the same thing.

Politics here have frequently been volatile and sometimes formative.

They range from the origins of the Republican Party to Progressive politics to Socialists running Milwaukee.

And residents have long split their votes along interesting lines.

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U.S. Senator and Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson

"A state that could elect Ron Johnson, a conservative businessman and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly lesbian Senator in the country - in the same election cycle, it’s just remarkable. Who does that?,” historian John Gurda asks.

It wasn't the first time. Within the span of a few years, voters here sent to the U.S. Senate Rep. Joseph McCarthy, who spearheaded the Great American Red Scare, and Dem. Gaylord Nelson, who started Earth Day.

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