Inaugural ‘shoestring politics’ workshop a success, more in the works

November 9, 2015

More than 30 people from across Wisconsin took part in a November 7 workshop by the citizen movement Blue Jean Nation aimed at encouraging citizens to think outside the box politically and empowering them to make use of unconventional approaches in civic life and the political arena.

The training session, “Shoestring Politics: How to win without being rich or mortgaging your soul,” was held in Madison. Workshop participants came from such places as Appleton, Brookfield, Darlington, Dodgeville, East Troy, Fitchburg, Fond du Lac, Janesville, Middleton, Milwaukee, Oregon, Orfordville, Oshkosh, Pewaukee, Plain, Portage, Racine, Sun Prairie, Two Rivers and Waunakee.

“Today’s conventional wisdom in politics is anything but wise,” Blue Jean Nation founder and president Mike McCabe said. “It only works for those with huge sums of money. For everyone else, it is disempowering, demoralizing and debilitating. Playing the game by the political professionals’ rules means certain defeat for regular folks. Those rules need to be broken and new ones established.”

The three-hour program focused on how to practice the “jiu-jitsu of shoestring politics.” Jiu-jitsu is a martial art where practitioners defend themselves without the use of weapons by using the strength and weight of opponents to disable them.

Workshop themes included:

  • What’s more powerful than money
  • What’s more important than a good message
  • One asset anyone campaigning on a shoestring absolutely must have
  • Ingredients that can be substituted for substantial sums of money in a recipe for a winning campaign
  • How to maximize limited resources while opponents are burning through cash

McCabe said the group now wants to take the program on the road and is looking for community groups to host workshops in their areas.