Most people in America know that Gov. Scott Walker will run for president in 2016. If he formally announces his candidacy, wins a grueling Republican primary and defeats the unannounced but presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, in 2016, he will become the first president of the United States to hail from the state of Wisconsin.
Since he was inaugurated as governor in 2011, Walker has garnered national attention from the Act 10 protests and being hailed as hero among Republican circles. During his term so far he has put a stronghold on the unions in Wisconsin, reportedly turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a surplus and stayed strong to many of his conservative principles.
He was one of the only governors to reject the Medicaid expansion that would have netted Wisconsin millions of federal dollars, despite Republican governors in Ohio, New Jersey and Texas taking the funds. He has also proposed drastic cuts to the UW System to the tune of $300 million, while reducing property and income taxes for Wisconsinites.
Walker became the first governor to win a recall in American history and has also won three elections in four years in 2010, 2012 and 2014. From the outside looking in, conservatives in other states believe he has what it takes to become president and has the inside track to the Republican nomination in 2016 because of his “success” in Wisconsin to take on many policy issues other states have tried but failed in most cases. It can be safely assumed that Walker would probably prefer to not endure running so many times in a four year span to stay in his first term in office.
The last time Wisconsin had a presidential candidate was progressive Bob LaFollette, commonly known as “Fighting Bob.” Lafollette was known as a leader of the progressive movement and advocate on the national level for tax reform, corporation regulation and political democracy according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. He ended up finishing third in the 1924 presidential election behind Calvin Coolidge and John Davis. During his political career, Lafollette was a member of Congress, the 20th Governor of Wisconsin and a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, but was unable to capture what many aspire to, the White House.
Wisconsin was also put in the spotlight during the 2012 presidential election when former presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan as the vice presidential candidate. Ryan came short on becoming the first vice president from Wisconsin after losing to incumbent President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Despite Ryan being on the Republican presidential ticket, he failed to deliver Wisconsin into the red column, giving Democrats their sixth consecutive presidential election win in the state.
With the 2016 presidential election a little over a year away, there is plenty to look forward to with other candidates on the Republican side, including Walker, declaring their candidacy and the talk of America having its first Wisconsinite president. Students should care about this because over the course of a presidential election, there will be many things about Walker’s past that will be disclosed.
The national press will be conducting deeper investigations into the family of Walker that typically would have remained private. This is the price many politicians must come to grips with when vying for the nation’s highest office. Nevertheless, history could be made for Wisconsin if America elects the first president of the United States from Wisconsin. But of course, this is all in theory until an announcement is made. Stay tuned.