The are a lot of declared Democratic contenders for governor of Wisconsin in 2018, but Republican Gov. Scott Walker thinks they’re all pretty much the same.
"For me, it really doesn't matter who comes out of that primary; it’ll be more of the same," he said right before announcing his run for re-election.
Phil Anderson, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and another gubernatorial candidate, agrees. But he thinks voters will get "more of the same" whether they vote for a Democrat or Walker.
“People know what the two-party system is. They resign themselves to it, but they know that it’s corrupt. They know that no matter who’s the governor, a Democrat or Republican, spending goes up and up and up and up,” he said. “More intrusion into our lives increases all the time. And they’re really, really tired of it.”
Anderson appeared on the Sunday political talk show “Capital City Sunday,” to talk about his bid for governor. As a libertarian, he advocated for small government, small spending and a big emphasis on local control.
“We want to give the state of Wisconsin back to the people of Wisconsin,” he said.
Anderson ran for U.S. Senate in 2016 against Russ Feingold and Sen. Ron Johnson, losing with just 3 percent of the vote.
But earlier in the summer, he was polling at 8 percent of registered voters. As it got closer to election day, voters “fell in line” with the major parties out of fear of the other candidate winning, he said.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s the political reality for third parties, especially for Libertarians, because we’re not a good investment for people who want to give money to candidates hoping to have access or influence when they’re in office,” he said.
But Anderson was still encouraged by the summer polls, and said the Libertarian message was resonating with Wisconsinites. He decided to run as governor because he doesn’t want to lose that momentum, he said.
He hopes to “steer our discourse toward something more civil and more constructive rather than the two-party arguing.”
As a an example of that two-party arguing, he pointed to Roy Moore, a candidate for United States Senate in Alabama who is facing allegations that he started relationships and initiated sexual contact with several girls, one who was 14 at the time.
Some Republicans, like Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have said Moore should step down from the campaign, but others question the timing and credibility of the story.
Anderson said the latter category of Republicans are victims of identity politics.
“In truth, there’s been a lot of things Republicans and Democrats have done underhandedly to each other,” he said.
But he said in this situation, they need to set that aside “when it’s something so heinous, a crime so terrible.”
“The worst part of human nature is being fed, and that’s this idea that they should be sticking to their guns and be suspicious, as opposed to just accepting this story for what it is: a sad story of an adult man taking advantage of several underage girls,” he said.
Looking forward to what he wants for Wisconsin, Anderson painted a picture of a Libertarian government with strong local control.
“We don’t need to send people to Madison to be experts on things and make decisions for us. That's a recipe for cronyism and corruption,” he said.
Instead, when the people of the community make their own decisions about how to spend their tax dollars, it’s a more fair, transparent, and effective system, he said.
Anderson said that, if elected, he would repeal the state’s personal income tax. Making up for that lost revenue would mean cutting back in other areas, particularly the Department of Corrections. Anderson would reform the criminal justice system, which would mean legalizing marijuana, getting rid of mandatory minimum sentencing, and “pardoning people who are in jail for victimless crimes.”
These measures would keep “honest, innocent” people out of jail and return them to their families and the tax base, he said.
He advocated for low taxes and regulations on business, and was not impressed with the recently completed Foxconn deal to install a factory for the Taiwanese LCD manufacturer in Mount Pleasant.
“The whole deal is a mess,” he said.
He criticized the nearly $3 billion incentive package going to a foreign company. He said the technology industry changes rapidly, which he believes casts doubt on the idea that Foxconn will be able to pay back the investment over the years.
“I also believe that the citizens and business in Wisconsin could supply that economic growth and more if just the tax, regulatory burden were lowered and they were allowed to do what they do best: create, work, sell, do business, all the things that Wisconsin is really good at,” Anderson said.
Neumann pointed out that to have a hope of winning, Anderson will need to participate in the debates. Anderson said that he believed the debates, run by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, require that a candidate have $250,000 on hand and be polling at 10 percent.
Anderson said he “didn’t think we’re going to have a problem polling at 10 percent,” again pointing to the summer polls. He said that, “as long as we campaign well and learn from our previous experience,” 10 percent should be attainable.