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There have been some major policy issues debated in Wisconsin over the past few months – from changes to the board that oversees elections, to the future of the education and the state’s role in economic development. Most, if not all, of the changes coming from Madison have been made along partisan lines, as Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s seat.

That makes for a challenging period for Democrats in the legislature, including Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, who represents La Crosse and other parts of western Wisconsin.

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The second scheduled debate among the Democratic candidates for president is scheduled for this Friday in South Carolina. 

Many political analysts have said that former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeals to the broadest spectrum of Democratic voters, but Rick Perlstein, a national political reporter, says many of his colleagues have missed the part of the story surrounding Bernie Sanders.

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Why has the selection process for speaker of the House as well as the Republican Presidential race been so heated when so many Republicans agree on so many issues? 

"I see this as sort of a division over purity. And also a kind of emphasis on using the primary process to kind circumvent party elite," says Marquette University political science professor Julia Azari.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ended his campaign for President yesterday.  Walker had until recently polled at or near the top among GOP hopefuls, both nationally and in key states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, and had attracted international media attention.  But after some missteps and limited success in two Republican debates, Walker’s poll numbers had fallen to near zero in the last few days.

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While the large field of Republican candidates for President is grabbing most of the headlines, it will be one of the Democratic hopefuls making a case to voters in Milwaukee today. Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, former U.S. Senator and former First Lady, will speak at an event at UW-Milwaukee late this afternoon.

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One candidate who was not a part of last night’s debate was James Webb.  That makes sense, since he’s a Democrat.  The DNC announced its primary debate schedule yesterday, which includes a total of six debates, including one in Wisconsin.  Webb announced his candidacy just before Independence Day, which Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr thinks is significant:

Webb’s Vietnam War novel “Fields of Fire,” published in 1978, is generally recognized as one of the best to result from that war.

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Political analysts describe Wisconsin as purple – neither liberalism’s traditional blue, nor conservatism’s typical red.  The state’s deep political divides are well-documented, but often in terms of political party or philosophy.

A Wisconsin researcher is looking at a divide of a different kind. Kathy Cramer, a political science professor at UW-Madison, has been researching the rural-urban gap and how it affects Wisconsin politics.

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A lot has happened in foreign policy this past month. The Greek economic crisis continues and the International Monetary Fund is warning of a gloomy outlook for the Eurozone; the Iran nuclear arms deal has been accepted by all parties; and the United States and Cuba continue to move ever closer to normal diplomatic relations after decades.

In addition, President Obama has been on a state visit to Africa since last Friday. Foreign policy contributor Art Cyr comments on the President's message to Africa and the many other recent events underway across the Atlantic:

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Over the course of the budget process that was recently completed, questions were asked about whether Governor Walker’s presumptive Presidential campaign affected the negotiation process.

Now that Walker’s campaign is no longer just presumptive, more questions are being asked about the campaign’s implications for public policy in Wisconsin.

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Governor Scott Walker's official presidential campaign announcement is receiving plenty of national attention - including from National Public Radio.

While NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley was in Wisconsin to cover the announcement, he stopped by Lake Effect to chat about Walker's presidential run.