Spring 2016

Wisconsin could lead the way again

Let us take a moment to celebrate our unique political culture here in Wisconsin. In early April, the Badger State erected a firewall of rationality in the madness of the 2016 presidential race. And it did so by emphasizing its traditions of civility, decency and conservative principle.

In the wake of the April 5 GOP primary, Grover Norquist and others noted that the result was a rousing endorsement of the conservative reform movement here.  “What (Gov. Scott) Walker and his allies have done is a home run for taxpayers,” Norquist told National Review.  “People all over the country should be studying it because it proves that smart policies also make for smart politics.”

But, of course, we are not done yet. One of the next big ideas may be the reform of the bloated leviathan of higher education. Again, Wisconsin could take the lead.

In this edition of Wisconsin Interest, we take a deep dive into the issue, examining both the climate of ideological intolerance and the rising cost. WPRI President Mike Nichols and I sat down with a group of University of Wisconsin System students to find out what it’s like to be a conservative on campus these days. (Click here to watch video of the round-table discussion.) And I sketch out some ideas that could remake colleges and universities and transform the undergraduate credential. Be sure to also check out Nichols’ column on how liberal professors are indoctrinating students and Richard Vedder’s Guest Opinion on making college more affordable.

Also: Richard Esenberg examines the phenomenon of Trumpism; Betsy Thatcher profiles Dean Strang, the now world-famous attorney of Steven Avery; Dave Daley raises provocative questions about Milwaukee’s declining homicide clearance rate; and Dan Benson looks at a classic government boondoggle on Milwaukee’s lakefront.

On, Wisconsin.

— Charles J. Sykes

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Spring Dispatches

Marquette University and WIAA apply muzzles.
By Charles J. Sykes


What professors don’t want to hear

Conservative students forfeit freedoms to survive in a liberal environment.
By Mike Nichols


Culture Con

The Trump phenomenon: How did we get here?
By Richard Esenberg


Higher ed reform: The next big idea

How Wisconsin could lead the way in transforming the modern university.
By Charles J. Sykes


The federal grant to nowhere

They built the Downtown Transit Center in Milwaukee, and nobody came.
By Dan Benson


Making college more affordable

With tuition skyrocketing, we need bold changes to improve access.
By Richard Vedder


On the Frontlines with Dean Strang

From Steven Avery case to John Doe, lawyer challenges government power.
By Betsy Thatcher


Getting away with murder

Killers remain on the streets in 4 of 10 Milwaukee cases.
By Dave Daley


Life as a campus conservative

UW System students recount their challenges bucking the liberal trend.
Excerpts from round table