politics

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If you watched this election season's first presidential debate, or any of the debates over the course of the campaign season, you may agree these events do not represent the ideal of measured, respectful political discourse. This election cycle is not unique in the direction that political debate has taken. But a Milwaukee initiative is trying to change the tone, one dinner party at a time.

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There’s been a lot of attention given – both nationally and locally – to the race for Congress in Wisconsin’s first district. The seat is currently held by the Speaker of the House, Republican Paul Ryan, and much of the attention has been focused on Ryan's primary campaign against challenger Paul Nehlen. That race has been seen as a proxy in some ways for a broader divide among Republicans over Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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It was an historic Democratic National Convention this week in Philadelphia. Presidential nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton, took the stage last night as the first woman nominated to a major party. But the week-long event had some rough spots, with protestors and supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders interrupting speeches with boos and shouting.

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It’s been a little over a month since voters in the United Kingdom passed a referendum calling for the country to withdraw from the European Union. The Brexit vote shook British politics to its core – among other things it caused rapid declines in the value of the pound and prompted seismic shifts in the two major political parties – the Conservatives and Labour.

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Wisconsin was known for years as a prototypically “purple” state, with a rich tradition of political debate and a veritable pendulum of power in the Governor’s seat.  That has changed a great deal in the last six years.

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This interview originally aired, March 24, 2016. 

Former Democratic State Senator Tim Cullen has had a close-up view of Wisconsin politics for a longtime. The Janesville native worked in politics for many years.

Originally, Cullen had hoped to become a high school social studies teacher, but once he started working for former Congressman Les Aspen, he found himself drawn to politics. After jobs ranging from congressional staff to State Senate Majority Leader to Republican Governor Tommy Thompson's cabinet, Cullen worked outside of politics for 20 years.

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On June 23, citizens of the United Kingdom will cast ballots in a referendum to determine whether or not they’ll remain in the European Union. It’s a tense time, with passions running high on both sides of the issue. 

It's a complex issue with roots in Britain's historical reluctance to ally itself with mainland Europe, despite their continued reliance on trade with other countries in the EU. Still, Lake Effect foreign policy contributor Art Cyr, says that leaving the EU could be a decidedly bad business move for the UK. 

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Primary voters in five more states brought the primary season closer to its conclusion yesterday.  Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are still the most likely nominees of their parties for the presidency. 

The popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump this spring is an indication that retail politics are still important, according to contributor Art Cyr.

Emerge Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, just 25.8% of state lawmakers are women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

However, when women run for public office, they win in the same percentages as men. So, why are there so few women in positions of political power?

Well, it turns out that not that many actually run for office in the first place. But, there two groups in Wisconsin trying to change that - Emerge Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women.

If it seems to you that political tensions are always hot in Wisconsin, your grandparents might have thought the same thing.

Politics here have frequently been volatile and sometimes formative.

They range from the origins of the Republican Party to Progressive politics to Socialists running Milwaukee.

And residents have long split their votes along interesting lines.

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After three years of negotiating, Colombia’s government is set to sign a peace agreement with the FARC rebels later this month. The treaty could put an end to the armed conflict in the country, which has been going on for more than 50 years.

As of 2000, Colombia was in danger of becoming a narco-state, a country controlled by drug lords.

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The Democratic candidates for president have long moved on from Wisconsin since debate at UW-Milwaukee. But while they – and the Republican candidates - vie for votes in Nevada and South Carolina, the campaign lives on - nationally, in the news and on social media.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders sparred over a variety of issues last night at UW-Milwaukee. It was their first debate since Sanders’s big win in the New Hampshire primary.

The debate covered issues ranging from mass incarceration to regime change. But throughout, Sanders tried to stick to his message about taking on Wall Street, while Clinton pointed to her broad agenda as the more fiscally responsible one.

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President Obama delivered what will be the final State of the Union address of his presidency Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress.  There was much build-up to the speech, both in the national media, but also from the White House itself, which advertised the address as diverging from how previous speeches to the nation have gone.

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Controversy continues to swirl around Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States in the wake of the violence in Paris and in Southern California.  

Some GOP leaders, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have condemned Trump’s idea. But Ryan and others have stopped short of saying the comments should disqualify Trump from holding the highest office in the country.

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