The main candidates of the Democratic Party in the Senate call for the termination of the filibuster, the expansion of health care in a virtual forum

Leading candidates in the Democratic Senate primary presented their cases against Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson on the right to vote and other topics in a virtual forum on Thursday.

The Jewish Democratic Council of America hosted the forum. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks CEO Alex Lasry, Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Outagami County Executive Director Tom Nelson ran as leading candidates in the August primary. They all hope to take down Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in November.

With a rule in place that prevents candidates from engaging, turning to, or referring to each other, candidates have largely focused their attacks on Johnson.

“While Ron Johnson wants to separate us, the thing he doesn’t understand is that we all have a lot more in common than each of us with a selfish multimillionaire like him,” Barnes said.

All four candidates called for the removal of the filibuster, the 60-vote threshold for most Senate legislation. Candidates discussed it in the context of expanding voting rights, as voting rights legislation passed by the US House of Representatives faced heavy fighting in the face of the filibuster.

“It’s an outdated, racist rule that should have been dropped a long time ago,” Nelson said. “The only question is, do Democrats get rid of him and do good things, or do Republicans get rid of him and do some horribly bad things after you get rid of the filibuster?”

Godlewski said removing the filibuster was the first step towards expanding voting rights.

“If we don’t have democracy, we don’t have anything,” Godlewski said. “We can talk about health, we can talk about the environment, but for me this is the main problem we are all fighting for.”

Lasry called the right to vote “one of the defining issues of our generation”. Barnes, meanwhile, said the problem continued to become more urgent. He called for an increase in postal voting and voter registration on the same day.

“Our democracy is still at stake,” Barnes said. “We need to protect the right to vote with everything we have.”

Candidates are turning to growing anti-Semitism

Candidates in the forum were asked how they would work to combat right-wing extremism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism. An audit by the Anti-Defamation League earlier this year found that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States had reached record levels in 2021.

Barnes said he supported the passage of legislation to prevent gun violence and domestic terrorism.

“We absolutely have to fight anti-Semitism with everything we have, we have to call it out when we see it by force, and we have to fight disinformation,” Barnes said.

Lasry has raised bipartisan legislation signed last year by Gov. Tony Evers, which requires schools to provide education on the Holocaust and other genocides.

“Education will to be one of the most important things we can do to ensure we don’t see what has happened in the past, “Lasry said.” I think it’s an incredibly serious and sensitive issue. “

Sign up for daily news!

Stay informed with the WPR email newsletter.

Godlewski called the increase in violence and anti-Semitic actions “appalling.”

“Let me be clear, there is no room for hatred in this country,” Godlewski said. “We need to be able to fund these non-profit organizations that are working hard to develop leaders in our communities who are fighting this hatred and working to educate the next generation.

Nelson said anti-Semitism and other interrelated issues need to be identified quickly, stressing his support for enforcing hate crime laws.

“Anti-Semitism has been here for a long time,” Nelson said. “We have to admit that this is not something that is unfortunately new and that we can learn from history and know that it is absolutely urgent to take action on it.

Calls for expanded access to healthcare

Democrats in Wisconsin have long called for expanded access to Medicaid, something the Republican-controlled legislature is blocking. Democrats in the forum on Thursday focused on ways to make health care more accessible to Wisconsin residents and all Americans. Johnson has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, created under former President Barack Obama. Johnson said earlier this year that Republicans must be prepared to repeal and replace him if they win the presidency and Congress in 2024.

Lasry said healthcare “It must be a universal right for all.” He advocated the existence of a “public option”.

“It’s not just a moral issue, it’s an economic one,” Lasry said. The lack of universal health care in the United States, he said, “It’s really hard for us to stimulate innovation.”

Barnes said he supports Medicare for all, in addition to intermediate options such as reducing the age of eligibility for Medicare.

“Healthcare the system just doesn’t work for working people, “Barnes said.

Nelson says Medicare will take care of many of the problems Americans face in healthcare system.

“Half of the county’s spending is on health and human services,” Nelson said. “If everyone had access to health coverage some time ago, it would have reduced a lot of pressure from these services and with … more and more cuts from the federal government and less support from the state, we see that we need to save these resources . “

Godlewski said he supported the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, in addition to offering paid family leave.

“I remember a moment in my 20s where I said that my car has better health insurance than me and I do not want to go back to those days, “said Godlewski.

A Marquette poll released Wednesday found Barnes at the forefront of the crowded democratic field, as 25 percent of Democrat respondents said they would vote for him in the Senate race. Lasry came in second with 21 per cent, while 9 per cent of those polled said they would vote for Godlewski. Nelson ranked fourth, with 7 percent saying they would vote for him.

However, a significant proportion of voters remain undecided. The survey found that 36% of respondents said they had not made a decision.

Leave a Comment