Who is Janet Protasiewicz and what does her Wisconsin Supreme Court victory mean for the state, and possibly the nation?
Janet Protasiewicz is an American attorney and Milwaukee county judge who was elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court bench on April 4. This state Supreme Court election was distinct from other local and state elections in several ways:
To start, while these lower-level elections are usually low-key and low-money, according to the New York Times, the Wisconsin Supreme Court election ended up being the “most expensive judicial race in American history”.
Additionally, most local and state elections are often nonpartisan in nature and impact only the constituents within the jurisdiction. However, in the case of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, the candidates, Janet Protasiewicz and Daniel Kelly, and their respective values and policies have the potential to transform the political climate of Wisconsin and affect the state’s role in the 2024 Presidential Election.
This is because Wisconsin, which used to be a major swing state, has become a “radical experiment in Republican party rule” after the Republicans won majority seats in the Legislature in 2010. The Republican party’s power was exacerbated by redistricting, restrictive voting policies, and the 4-3 Republican-majority Supreme Court. As a result, over the last decade, the state has passed numerous Conservative policies even when unsupported by its constituents. These policies affect key issues including abortion, redistricting, and voting policies.
So how did Liberal Janet Protasiewicz beat her opponent Daniel Kelly and end the Republican “hammer lock on power” in Wisconsin?
By mobilizing eligible constituents who are less likely to vote in local and state elections.
The critical nature of this election led People First to partner with grassroots, nonprofit organizations to educate constituents on the key issues affected by the outcome of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election and encourage them to get out and vote.
We organized digital advocacy campaigns during both the Primary and General elections in Wisconsin and used microinfluencers to raise awareness of the importance of researching the candidates and voting in this election. Our mobilization efforts focused on young voters, we partnered with many college athletes and students to ensure reliability and authenticity in the messaging.
The Primary was centered on encouraging voters to research candidates and their specific views on women’s rights and abortion, to spread the word about the importance of protecting women’s rights in the upcoming election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
After the primary the campaign went into get out the vote mode, encouraging people to learn about the issues and get out the vote in the Election! The issues included: abortion rights, voting rights, public safety, state redistricting, and marijuana laws.
The key was spreading awareness around the impact this election had on issues that young people care most about.
Thanks to our hardworking and passionate creators, thousands of young people in Wisconsin got to the polls and exercised their right to vote. In a state where a couple of points have the ability to shape the election, Janet Protasiewicz, crushed her opponent with a margin of 10%.
So what does this mean for Wisconsin, and the rest of the country?
Now that Janet Protasiewicz has won the election, there is great potential for major progressive changes in the state of Wisconsin.
Not only can we expect an overturning of the 1849 law that banned abortion, we may also see a complete redistricting of the state and expanded voting rights. By imposing policies that undo the Republican reign in Wisconsin, the addition of Protasiewicz on the bench could define Wisconsin’s role in the 2024 Presidential election.
By empowering real people to share their authentic stories and mobilize their peers, People First hopes to continue supporting candidates to reach their campaign objectives.