You may have heard there was a political rally this past weekend with Patriots who have strong opinions on the Republican Party and the future direction the party should take. The Patriots’ event actually sold out and tickets for entry had to be cut off the day before the event because the capacity of the venue had been maxed out! Attendees cheered and applauded as speakers talked about taking back their government. Have you seen the social media and news coverage of this rally? No, you haven’t!
The rally I speak of was a rally of the members and supporters of Wisconsin Young Republicans, also known as the YR’s for short. You probably haven’t heard about this rally because this rally was about unifying and helping Republicans win elected office, not recalling one of their own. There were no costumes, gimmicks, or people in masks that feed the narrative of a divided party. The opposition, in the eyes of the YR’s and the speakers at the rally, aren’t fellow Republicans or the Republican Party itself but Democrats who are turning Wisconsin and the Nation into a liberal wasteland.
As former Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman and Whitehouse Chief of Staff under President Trump, Reince Preibus told ABC on Jan. 14, “Division is pure profit. It makes you popular. So if you’re dividing you make money and you’re popular.” This isn’t what the YR’s are about.
Young Republican members range in age from 18 to 40 years of age. The Wisconsin YR charter, part of the National YRs, has become a very active group. The membership has grown in recent years after its initial charter in 2016 under Chairman Jake Margis, followed by past Chairman and current National Vice Chairman, Wisconsin State Representative Nik Rettinger and now under the leadership of the current Chairman Kyle Schroeder.
In the past, YRs have volunteered to help candidates for local office – I was out with them as they did doors for candidates for the school board in Burlington – to judicial races, State Representative and Senate races, Congress, U.S. Senate and President. Wisconsin YRs made 3.2 million voter contacts in the 2020 election, 60,000 voter contacts in the Spring 2021 election, 2 million contacts in 2022 and 50,000 contacts in the Spring 2023 election.
YR’s have volunteered to travel to help elect candidates where needed. A group of YR’s traveled to LaCrosse to help Congressman Derrick Van Orden win his election in Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. Many YRs are also running for political office and WINNING! These include YRs at the local level in school board races, state representative races and even judicial races.
One of the speakers at the rally on Saturday was State Representative Barbara Dittrich. She spoke of the razor thin margins that have separated Wisconsin statewide elections over the past seven years.
Dittrich said we need to come together and get our message out to those persuadable voters; younger voters saying this is a key strength of YR’s as they are uniquely positioned to engage young voters and can win those voters over and be the difference in close elections. Other Speakers included Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and Republican Majority Leader Tyler August who both brought humor and encouragement echoing the need to work hard and be united, leaving the crowd feeling hopeful about the future. It was refreshing to see Republicans united helping Republicans to win and not listen to finger-pointing and excuses of past elections.
The youth of our country are our future. It is good to know there are patriots who are active with the Young Republicans in shaping the future of our state and Nation. There are lessons we can learn from the Young Republicans and Speakers at this rally. We win elections by coming together – not being divided. None of us are going to agree on 100% of everything. The key to winning elections is being engaged with voters. I take solace knowing young patriots are stepping up to run for office, helping others win elected office and are working bring to Republicans together. Perhaps these Patriots, these Young Republicans can be the model for how we as a Republican Party can win going forward. Who knows, maybe one of them may even invent a better pillow?