Political Activism Wisconsin Style with Matt Batzel CW 30- Transcript

Political ActivistJohn Tsarpalas: Calling all candidates, organizers, and activists! You know what, all three of you need to work together to be successful. This podcast and my guest today talk about why they have been successful in Wisconsin and some of the things going on in the background, as well as candidates running for lower office that are providing support for the entire movement that’s sweeping across Wisconsin and making a real difference.

It’s Commonwealthy #30, political activism Wisconsin style with Matt Batzel. I guess that means it’s served with bratwurst, cheese, and beer. Lots of good stuff to eat in Wisconsin.

Today my guest on Commonwealthy is Matt Batzel. Matt is the national executive director of American Majority. Back in early September, we spoke with Ned Ryun from American Majority. We recommended that we talk to Matt because Matt has lots of grassroots, on the ground experience primarily in Wisconsin. Right, Matt?

Matt Batzel: That’s right. Thanks for having me on.

John Tsarpalas: Oh, my pleasure. You started back in 2010 in Wisconsin as the executive director of Wisconsin for American Majority, correct?

Matt Batzel: That’s correct.

John Tsarpalas: Wisconsin has been such a battleground. We all know about Scott Walker and all of the good that he has done. But there’s groups like American Majority there, working in the background. Not only working for his election, but also for the good of all of Wisconsin.

So let’s talk about some of the things you have done there. I know that you guys have worked with a lot of local candidates and had a lot of success. So let’s start with that since this is a program geared primarily for candidates. You had 128 that I remember. Tell me more.

Matt Batzel: There have been 128 individuals that have gone through American Majority’s training here in Wisconsin that have won either a state or local level election in the past five years. You mentioned I came onboard with American Majority in October of 2010. That’s when we opened up our Wisconsin office. Since then, which is about five years, we’ve trained just over two hundred individuals that have actually run for office. A number of others plan to run in the future.

128 of them have gone on and run for your city council, school board, county board, county clerk, and then a bunch in the state legislature as well. A few have run for judges as well. We have elected judges in Wisconsin.

So we have a lot of success in a lot of local races as well as the state races here in Wisconsin when people have gone through our training program and learned. Some of them are first time candidates. I’d say most of them are probably first time candidates.

But a lot of them have maybe run before and want to learn either what’s new in campaigning or what do they need to focus on for a new level race or a different type of race that they’ve experienced in the past. We are able to help them understand some of the basics and go through some of the cutting edge developments in campaigning that they need to be aware of.

John Tsarpalas: So what are the basics? Where do you guys start?

Matt Batzel: Local politics come down to name ID. What is your reputation in the community? What do people think of you? Do you have long term roots in that community? To be honest, some of the candidates can run for office and do nothing and win because they are so beloved in their community.

Now, we don’t tell them to just rust their laurels and count on their name ID alone. But that is a big part of it. If you have good name ID, you can run for everything from school board and up to higher levels. That name ID is going to carry you through.

If you don’t have any name ID (if you just moved to an area), that doesn’t necessarily prevent you from running and winning. But it means that you need to work to build that credibility. You need to do fundraising certainly to be able to get your message out and tell people who you are. Just because they haven’t heard of you doesn’t mean they won’t vote for you. But you need to develop a good name ID.

Another basic is getting your message out. The primary way in local races, and I’d say even state assembly races (state senate in Wisconsin becomes a little bit harder to do this because it’s harder to knock on enough doors in the community), is talking to voters door to door.

It’s going and working the shoe leather if you will and talking to voters and telling them who you are. It’s being open and asking them what they care about, what they are thinking about, and what their thoughts are about important issues of the day. It’s being able to spend the time in the community.

We encourage our candidates to put a picture of themselves up on Facebook and Twitter of them knocking on doors. No matter how many doors you knock on, people are going to see that and see that you are working for their vote. You are trying to get out and talk and meet folks. That can go along way.

The basics are really having good name ID, developing good name ID, getting out there and knocking on doors, talking to voters, and getting your message out. Obviously there’s a lot of other things that go into running for office. But those are kind of the two basic things, especially for school board up to state senate, that are integral to running successful campaigns.

John Tsarpalas: Right. I think that door knocking and getting out to go door to door is key to winning. I’ve never seen a campaign that won without doing that. I live in the Chicago area, and the Chicago machine is all about door knocking and getting their people to the polls. So for me, that’s number one. We’ve got lots of previous podcasts on how to figure out what doors to knock on, what to say, and how to do it.

Do you recruit candidates or do people come to you?

Matt Batzel: At American Majority, we identify candidates. There are often times that we know there is going to be an opening for an office or that there is a vulnerable liberal incumbent or something like that. Sometimes we will work to identify candidates ourselves.

But a lot of it is working with local grassroots leaders to encourage them to identify. They really can be very influential in the process. Certainly they are going to know their local community better than I am going to know all the communities across Wisconsin and elsewhere.

We kind of partner informally and sometimes formally with individuals who are going to know their communities and know the local issues that people are caring about. Then we will have a particular influence over those candidates, should they run or win local or state office, because they are the ones who encouraged them to get there.

So we are trying to help a lot of grassroots leaders realize that they can have a big say in this process of what policies are mad and how the votes are cast in office if they are the ones who ask a candidate to run for office.

Certainly there are times we’ve approached and identified individuals who could run from the network that we have. But a lot of it is talking with local leaders who already have an established network in a local community and are going to know that, “Hey, this local banker or this person just led a referendum initiative or stop spending initiative at the county level. Okay, this is a great person who could run for office.” I am not necessarily going to know that across the state.

John Tsarpalas: Okay. Do you get involved in referendums, by the way? I know this is slightly off track, but you made me think about that. Does American Majority?

Matt Batzel: American Majority generally equip individuals. We certainly have trained people who have been heavily involved in stopping referendums. But we don’t necessarily get involved in spending money on particular referendums, at least in Wisconsin. We may have elsewhere that is outside of my knowledge.

John Tsarpalas: Ok. But you do training and things. You also have the C4 Action side, right?

Matt Batzel: Yeah. I would say on the organizing side. So much of this is just organizing people to do actions that influence elections and make a difference. So it comes down to are you organized? Do you have a plan? Are you able to go out and accomplish your goals?

In Wisconsin, we’ve seen numerous recall elections, both of folks who fled (state senators back in 2011) to your state to avoid voting on the collective bargaining reform as well the other side of the unions trying to recall conservatives who voted for that and were standing up for the reforms and voted for those reforms back in 2012.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah. How active are the unions in the local races? I know they are active in the governor’s race and things like that.

Matt Batzel: It depends on the level. They are very active where they have an interest, where they are taking taxpayer money. So school board is a big one. A lot of the school boards had worked closely and had to negotiate with them. In the wake of Act 10, our collective bargaining reforms in Wisconsin, they now have less power. They are not formally there, but they still try to infiltrate the process.

In southeast Wisconsin, in Racine, I know there are some contentious issues going on this fall about the teachers’ handbooks. It takes the place of the collective bargaining agreements. So the school local level they have a tremendous influence.

And they do at the county level as well, where county employees had been apart of the unions and still can be apart of the unions. Obviously now, after Act 10, they have a choice to join those unions. They are able to still have some influence over the process.

But part of it is they just have a network of people who are left leaning, who will get out and vote, and who are encouraged by their union representative, whether it is formally or the former union they used to be apart of. They still have tremendous stray in a natural constituency that those on the right do not have in a lot of local races.

In state legislative races, too, we are seeing some of their money dry up. Certainly after Act 10, they don’t have as much money to spend in a lot of these races. That’s a good development. But they are still active in terms of getting their people out and messaging to them.

John Tsarpalas: Right. For those of us not from Wisconsin, Act 10 was what Right to Work?

Matt Batzel: No, Right to Work just passed. Act 10 was collective bargaining reforms for public sector employees. That was a 2011 reforms. Right to Work has since passed just this past spring session in Wisconsin for private sector unions. But for public sector unions, that was back in 2011.

There certainly was significant litigation. There were unions that negotiated their contracts and passed sweetheart deals last minute. They rammed them through. So we are still seeing even now some of those agreements finally expiring because they had signed them to extend them to lock in certain benefit packages and certain salaries.

So we are still seeing it (but less so now, especially the last few years) some of these teachers coming off union contracts and dealing with contentious issues. And with the union kind of reeling and trying to understand how they can have impact on the local process, on who is running for office, who is winning, and making sure they still are getting as good of a deal as they can.

John Tsarpalas: So you’ve got candidates running for local office who are up against union-backed, union-supported candidates with union operations behind them. How does someone take that on? How does a David deal with this Goliath?

Matt Batzel: It starts with building a network and building a grassroots operation or machine that can match them. Sometimes you can catch them sleeping. Sometimes you can out-organize. A lot of times the messaging works. Pick winning issues. Pick issues that have popular support.

In Wisconsin, we are talking about with the local elections, almost all spring elections. So that’s off year. It’s a lower turnout election. So the union machine is very powerful in terms of getting their people out. But the people who are turning out are kind of a higher, more educated type voter who are going to look into things.

Part of it is finding who those people are and finding a message that works that can motivate them. It’s finding the issues that can not just work to get people to vote for you, but get people to actually volunteer for your campaign.

So much of it at the local level is getting people to go and pay attention to local government. One of the blessings of Act 10 has been that it’s focused a lot of the energies of the conservative movement on the local level.

It’s been seeing that, “Hey, our teacher’s union has negotiated this sweetheart deal with our school board to basically get a union-backed health insurance company and get premium rates. The taxpayers are losing out on millions of dollars because of this.” So talk radio hosts like Mark Belling, Charlie Sykes, and others who have helped to expose some of these sweetheart deals. There are so many great news sites that have helped to expose some of these things.

But it drove attention to the local level, which has been very beneficial to finding and identifying candidates. If you are a commonsense conservative or Libertarian who sees what is going on and maybe involved in other levels at the state level in politics, say, “Hey in my backyard, we are losing out on millions of dollars because the unions have negotiated this deal with a union affiliated health insurance company. We can stop that if we run for school board and change the makeup of our local school board.”

John Tsarpalas: That’s fantastic. I am excited you’ve taken this on and you are doing it. It’s working and people are stepping up. I often get frustrated with people that always want to talk about the presidential race and perhaps the congressional race when there are so many other things going on.

I so worry about the grassroots level and our schools. Not only the message that needs to be contained and controlled in schools, but also the budgets are huge. There is so much money happening on the local level. People just don’t seem to get as excited about it.

I believe it has to start at the grassroots level for us to truly make America a wonderful place for everyone to live.

Matt Batzel: I agree. Most conservatives, Libertarians, and people center right if they go to a local school board meeting, county board meeting, county commission meeting, or city council meeting, they probably would be shocked. Sometimes if you have public access, you can watch these things on TV. You’d probably bore yourself to death if you actually did.

I suggest people go and look what’s happening. See how your tax dollars being spent. Better yet, find an accountant to come with you who can look at budgets and analyze the spending. Why are we spending so much money doing X, Y, and Z?

That oftentimes is where we find a lot of candidates. They look at what is going on. They’ve examined it and they are outraged that this stuff is happening. It’s the sort of thing where you have that organic, natural reaction of “Wow, our local government is wasting money doing X,Y, and Z when our roads in poor condition, our kids aren’t getting educated well enough, and they are raising our taxes.”

That really is a good message to be able to deliver to the voters that can (Again, in Wisconsin, these are nonpartisan races, so you don’t have a party affiliation) appeal to a lot of voters who are going to turn out in a spring election because they don’t want to have their taxes raised. They want to have the basic services of government done well but efficiently and not spending too much money on that. They don’t want sweetheart deals.

So you find this stuff and you can communicate that. People who go to these meetings and are outraged by what is going on perfectly translates into them running for office and having a strong message and a good way of communicating that to the voters.

John Tsarpalas: Perfect. That’s just perfect. First of all, you are in Wisconsin. So in Wisconsin, you offer periodic, face-to-face trainings in different locations, correct?

Matt Batzel: Yeah, we offer probably about twenty to thirty every year.

John Tsarpalas: Wow, that’s a lot! You do offer for other states if a group can put together twenty or thirty people in a room, then American Majority can come in and train, correct?

Matt Batzel: Yeah, especially in states that are close by. A lot of my job now is traveling to different places to do trainings. Some of them are a part of conferences where they want to have break out sections that cover a number of topics. Actually later this month, I am traveling to a few different states. It’s just an individual group that wanted to have some grassroots training. I am going to go do it.

John Tsarpalas: Okay, perfect. So people can get a hold of you. We’ll have all of that contact info at the end of this. I just wanted to mention that because I wanted to shift gears a little bit.

How much activism is happening where someone is not running specifically for a seat, but that you are getting people out in support of Walker or getting the message out in support of this Act 10 or other types of things like that? Is that happening through other groups? Are you just supporting those groups and giving them ideas and training? How does that work?

Matt Batzel: Yeah, the ongoing activism is a critical part of winning the overall messaging battle, winning hearts and minds, and keeping people engaged. We are training people on effective ways to message.

Let’s say you see there is some sort of spending or transparency problem happening at your local government. They are not responding to an open records request. We help to facilitate communication to groups like Media Trackers or MacIver Institute or Right Wisconsin, which are groups here in Wisconsin that help to put out stories that can put on talk radio and get discussed elsewhere and in mainstream media that kind of expose some of these things.

So those things are very important. One of the things we’ve seen success-wise is there is so much that undercuts the left’s narrative because they are so hypocritical. So we always are trying to empower citizens and activists to pay attention to what’s going on. If you see that there is a teacher who signed a recall petition seven times and is going out there and saying, “This is a legitimate recall of Governor Walker” and all of this stuff, highlight that recall fraud and things like that.

We trained a number of people to be able to communicate those things to the right people to get that out. A lot of stories got on not just mainstream media in Wisconsin, but national coverage because of being so hypocritical for the left to claim this is a locally driven, teacher driven recall effort, kind, gentle effort. We are showing that they are doing these kind of ridiculous things: protesting Special Olympic ceremonies, engaging in all of this voter fraud to make sure there is a recall.

That is part of the ongoing activism. Again, it’s been a little unique in Wisconsin because it’s been one perpetual campaign mode because of all of the recalls and elections we’ve had in the last five years. But even if there is no election going on, it’s important for activists to see it matters what people think of these ideas. The ideas matter.

When you have an issue (you may have a liberal presenting some policy like a minimum wage increase) if you can highlight something that tells a story and shows “I started out at a minimum wage job back when minimum wage was $6 an hour or $5 an hour” and were able to work your way, telling these stories can be helpful to the larger narrative in highlighting what’s important going forward in the policy making process.

John Tsarpalas: You touched on something there that made me think that I need to talk about something, and that is you mentioned MacIver. Here in Illinois, it’s Illinois Policy Institute. In every state in America, there is a State Policy Network, 501(c)3 think tank, people that write policy.

Way back when, when American Majority was first getting formed in 2007, Ned was part of a group that I was part of that were talking about how someone needs to write the policy and then someone needs to help people to get trained so that they can get elected to implement the policy. Another group needs to spread the word on the policy.

This was all a part of what we were talking about back then. How much do you work with a think tank in a state to know what’s happening in policy so that you can then spread that through your activism channels and to train people?

Matt Batzel: It really varies by the state. I’ve probably trained in about twenty different states in the past few years as I’ve been traveling more. We have very good relationships with the conservative think tanks. Some of them are very helpful.

Some of them kind of get the importance of the people who are getting elected, this new wave of leaders that will go in the state legislature or even local level right. They need to understand policy and they need to have ideas. They can implement these ideas once they get into office and have majorities to pass these ideas.

It’s something that is very much a work in progress, though. MacIver has been doing a good job, especially the past several years of highlighting some of these issues and telling a story. They do very, very good video work that helps to explain some of the policies and issues that are taking place.

But I don’t know that kind of what you were describing and kind of what was planned or discussed is happening as widespread as it should be happening.

John Tsarpalas: Right, no, it isn’t. It isn’t, but it wasn’t happening at all. Back when we were talking about all of this, almost every state and then within a few years every state had a think tank, thanks to the State Policy Network. Then we were talking about how it is one thing to have the policy, but then somebody has to do something with it. That was the discussion.

So I guess where I want to go with this right now is I urge everyone who is listening to go to StatePolicyNetwork.org, find your state think tank, and understand who they are and what they do. Look at some of their policy because it will help you to become more articulate and give you more ideas on things you can use as solutions in your communities.

Then look at AmericanMajority.org. They’ll give you ideas on how to run for office, how to become activists, and how to do something to implement some of these ideas and policies along with the ones you are going to come up with locally for what needs to happen in your community. I just wanted to throw that connection in there while we were touching on it.

Matt Batzel: Yeah, I’ll take it a step further. I would say if you are listening to this podcast and you are thinking of running for office, especially at state legislature, contact your think tank and ask them what are some of the policy ideas. What are some things we can do to reform government, to cut spending, to be innovative and attract businesses?

Ask them for the ideas they have and maybe that they have published. Certainly they’ll probably have articles, some white papers, that can help to educate you on some of the issues that you maybe wouldn’t think about naturally or have come across in the past.

Ideally, you’ll have a good message that would dovetail with what other groups are saying and voters are aware of. But you also can play a part in helping to educate the public on the need for reforms.

John Tsarpalas: Okay, so people can do lots of things to get more active. Say you’ve got a small local group put together. One of the things that has frustrated me with our side in the political world is we tend to ramp up for an election six months before the election, throw everything we can at it, and hope we win.

The left tends to always be campaigning and have organizations that go on 365 days out of the year, election year or non-election year. In my neighborhood, MoveOn.org comes through every summer with a slew of college kids knocking on every door that is moderate to liberal. They don’t knock on the hard-core conservatives.

They ask if people need to be registered and they spread the word. They do lots of IDing on different issues to find out what’s important. Are you guys doing any training for organizations so that organizations can get out there and be working continually so that we build databases and build support on issues?

Matt Batzel: Yeah, a part of what we do is help groups accomplish their political goals. So we provide the nuts and the bolts with the specifics of how they can accomplish them. The big thing, and we are seeing this with various groups, is we want them to set their goals and set lofty goals that are aggressive.

But understand that you can have a big impact if you are out there in a non-election year. Even in Wisconsin as I am sure as in Chicago, there’s a lot of bad weather in the winter. If you get out there and actually engage people when it is not so nice out, people will respect you and maybe even listen to you a little bit more because you are spending time out there.

There are a number of groups that get that and are realizing the opportunity. Some of the policy fights are very helpful for these things. It’s great to be involved in the fights in Washington, D.C., but especially in the state capitals, if you engage in some of these issues and talk to your legislatures, work with a third party group like a think tank and understand the issue more, write letters to the editor, and all of these other things, it helps to create a better conservative movement. It helps to have more people educated on the issues and understanding what’s going on and ideally talking to their friends and neighbors.

The more we can have efforts that are focused on issues that are not necessarily election-driven, the more people we are going to touch, the more hearts and minds we are going to change, the more people will realize it’s exactly what the left is doing of trying to identify voters and then be able to turn them back out.

There’s been a lot of stuff happening with the Planned Parenthood videos, for instance. We’ve encouraged pro-life groups that are very well organized to ask these questions: How are you organizing on these issues so that you are winning the battle long term? Are you organizing now and identifying people who are with you and who are shocked and outraged by these videos so that you are able to have a better operation obviously closer to election, but even throughout non-election years?

We want to help all the groups that are on the conservative side understand that there are great opportunities if we are engaging with tax payers, voters, or whatever they may be even in non-election years.

John Tsarpalas: Right. That’s good. I am glad to hear it is happening. I just hope more and more of it happens. I hope people listening to this podcast get in touch with one of us. I am happy to help any group with their organizing and grassroots efforts.

Again, I have seen the left doing it here forever. They are wise to come through every summer because it is so miserable in the winter. Gosh, I know I have been out in many situations where my pens are frozen and I can’t write any notes so I have to have a pencil with me instead.

Weather is a problem in these states up here. Why do we live here? Why do I live in Illinois? The state’s going broke. Taxes are high. And the weather is terrible. Oh, well. I keep fighting. It’s just part of the insanity of it all.

On the other hand, it’s been good to live in the belly of the beast and see just upfront and close how they do work, door knock, organize, and get people out. It’s impressive just how efficient they are and how effective are. And how intimidated people are.

People think because they’ve never even seen a Republican knock on their door or someone from a free market perspective talk to them, they think every thing is more government, the liberal way. They don’t even know any alternatives in a lot of places around here.

They don’t see or here because of the news. They are listening to CNN. The majority of mainstream media just isn’t giving them any other side to any issue. So they don’t even know it exists. It’s really strange how there is almost an information blackout in some big, well-educated areas. It isn’t about education. It isn’t about resources. They just don’t know anybody else or have never heard anybody else.

And it’s also interesting to find somebody knock on the door of a conservative and they are shocked that someone else is a conservative and is knocking on their door. They are overjoyed. They are pretty easy to recruit then, too, because they get so darn excited that someone else is out there. They aren’t alone in the wilderness.

Matt Batzel: Yeah, one of the things that we have seen, too, is the left, with all the recalls we have had, opened offices. Typically the left is focusing on urban areas where they have high density of their types of voters. But we saw in Wisconsin they pay a lot of lip service to 72 county (We have 72 counties in Wisconsin) strategy and making inroads in rural areas.

They have actually been doing that, even if it is only two out of ten of the doors, if you are knocking on every single door, would actually agree with the left wing perspective. It’s kind of the reverse of what you were just talking about, John. The left was trying to build relationships, go into the areas, find the progressives, find the moderates, and develop a message that would reach them and turn them out to vote for the left wing candidates.

But there’s a lot we can be doing in the cities, suburban areas, and rural areas. Everywhere we need to be spending time investing and reaching out to people we don’t know, but certainly also using the influence we have with our friends and family and then also on social media. I know you’ve had Aubrey Blankenship talking about organizing online.

That’s another area where we can be presenting information and presenting the message. We can be reaching out to folks. Even if they are only looking at the mainstream media, you can present news to people from a right wing website, from MacIver Institute, a conservative think tank, or from a Commonwealth Foundation, think tank in Pennsylvania. You can present the information, the news, from them directly to the voters via social media. So it’s another powerful tool we have.

But we have to be engaging. We have to spreading the word about free market ideas with folks all throughout the year.

John Tsarpalas: Yeah, and if you are a little bit old school, letters to the editor are still effective. We need people to be writing about different issues, responding, complaining about an editorial you didn’t like, and things like that. It’s not hard to do; it just takes a stamp or not even that, an email really. You can just email the newspaper.

There are so many simple ways that people can do big things in activism if you just take a few moments to do it and commit to stepping up. Just don’t let it pass you by. Speak up. That’s something I am big on and something I’ve had to work on.

My neighbors are ninety percent liberals, maybe five percent conservative, and five percent libertarian. I started speaking up at parties and things when they just start saying things that they figure or the liberals believe everyone believes it. It doesn’t make me popular, but it needs to be said. I do it respectfully. Maybe they need to think about it.

I actually got one thinking the other day. They were prochoice. I said, “Well, my problem is I don’t believe in government having the right to kill anyone. So I am opposed to capital punishment. I don’t think anyone has the right to take a life. So I am opposed to capital punishment and I am opposed to abortion.”

About a week later, the one very hardcore liberal said to me, “You know, you really got me thinking about that.” I was like whoa! It was amazing to me. I don’t know if I’ve changed their mind, but at least I got them to think about it. It’s like wow.

Speak up! And find some support.

Matt Batzel: And speak up on social. It’s powerful. Let me just tell a quick story about one of the things we helped to do to organize conservatives on the ground in Wisconsin during all the protests. Collective bargaining reforms 2011 were taking place and the unions were dominating.

So they had this hashtag. Twitter, the social media platform, have what are called hashtags. It’s ways of just organizing conversations. If you want certain people to see it, they’ll sometimes be following these hashtags. It’s a number sign and then a word or phrase.

So #WIunion was a hashtag that was used dominantly. You had media coming in, looking to see what was happening, and get a feel for what was happening with these protestors. So they would go on that hashtag and write up stories about the teacher who was tweeting about this and at the capital protesting. They were trying to tell their side of the story.

We realized that we were getting beat handily on social media. So then even during the recalls, #WIrecall was a left wing dominated hashtag that was used. Myself, Brian Fraley at MacIver Institute, and Brian Sikma at Media Trackers said, “Hey, we need to organizing online, especially on Twitter, and push back on this.”

So we started the hashtag #WIright back in the summer of 2011. It was really a way to kind of organize what was happening on Twitter. It was a way to get our messages out. And then we told media that we would meet and interact with, “Hey, if you want to get a feel for what’s happening on the right side and from the grassroots, look what’s happening and what’s being shared on this hashtag. Don’t just look at the left wing ones.”

We saw that was very, very popular. We would mention it everywhere we trained. We talked to folks and we helped spread the word. Even to this day, you have national reporters using that if they have a story about Scott Walker and/or what’s happening in Wisconsin.

So we had tremendous success by seeing what the left was doing, kind of copying it, but putting our own spin on it. We were able to help get out some free market stories and expose some of the shenanigans the left was engaged in to force the recalls and other things.

We can look to see how the left is speaking out and copy of some of their tricks and look for ways to be innovative on our side.

John Tsarpalas: You also make an interesting point in that there are reporters out there that want to do a balanced story or try or at least look like they are trying. If they have an easy way to find that information, that’s really helpful to them because then they will use it.

I’ve found in that in my experience that if you help them to find what’s going on in the right that they will report some of it. I’m not saying it’s going to be fair and balanced completely, but it does help.

That was a great idea to have your hashtag for #WIright. I think people need to think about that in their own states as well.

Matt, boy, we’ve been on a lot of topics really! We’ve been kind of all over. I hope that we’ve sparked some thoughts on activism for people and also gave them some ideas for where they can look for information.

AmericanMajority.org is a great place to start. There’s lots of trainings there. When we talked with Ned back in early September about American Majority, we talked about the webinars that are there and they can sign up for trainings. If people have specific questions, how can they reach you?

Matt Batzel: You can send me an email at mattb@americanmajority.org. You can follow me on Twitter, which is @MattBatzel. Connect with me on there. I love to give tips on even how to be more effective on Twitter and other things like that.

But send me an email, whether it is helping to organize your group or something else. Even if we don’t necessarily come in and do a training, we are happy to just talk with you and give you some perspective and ideas on how you can be more effective in your communities.

John Tsarpalas: Well, thank you, Matt. We really appreciate you taking the time. Continued success both nationally and in Wisconsin. We’ll do this again sometime I hope.

Matt Batzel: Sounds great, John. Thanks for having me on.

John Tsarpalas: Thank you, Matt. Matt and I covered a lot of topics, from how American Majority can help you as a candidate or an activist to what’s going on the ground in Wisconsin, how activists are making a difference, how people are stepping up to run for school boards.

One of the things I would like to know from you is what do you need to hear more about. I know people in all different avenues of politics and I am happy to get on experts and specialists in their area. So feel free to leave a comment in the comments on Commonwealthy.com underneath the podcast. Let me know what you’d like to know more about, what you are thinking, and what you don’t like.

I am trying to help and build this community so that we can support each other. I am more than happy to gear it to things you need. Thanks for listening!

Matt Batzel: If you are a common sense conservative or Libertarian who sees what is going on and maybe involved in other levels at the state level in politics, say, “Hey in my backyard, we are losing out on millions of dollars because the unions have negotiated this deal with a union affiliated health insurance company. We can stop that if we run for school board and change the makeup of our local school board.”

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