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NJ: You've been chairman for all of Scott Walker's time as governor. What's it been like?
Tate: It's been a wild ride. It's probably some of the most historic times Wisconsin has ever seen. I take the long view. Obviously, there's been some tough losses. But if you told people six years ago that Tammy Baldwin would be in the United States Senate, they wouldn't have believed it. I'm proud of the role we played in helping reelect the president; I think that's a really key thing. Especially if you realize that came just a few months after we lost that recall election to Scott Walker.
But clearly we've had some tough defeats.
What's it been like in a state like Wisconsin?
Obviously we've seen this, and I think it's always easy to say this in the moment, but I don't know that there's ever been a more vitriolic reaction to a sitting president. Obviously, you go back to President Clinton, and you know, there was all this, 'Oh, the Republicans hate him' and everything else. And with President George W. Bush, 'Oh, the Democrats hate him,' and there's all this antipathy and everything else.
I just feel like this is a different level. And maybe history will render a different judgment on that, but I think that we've really seen this sort of reactionary pushback to the president. And look, on some level, it's absolutely racially motivated. Without question. But I think it is too shortsighted for that to be the only answer, the easy answer.
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Is it as simple as racism on the part of some people who oppose the president?
Let me be really clear: I don't think there is anyone in America that would or should disagree that racial tension plays a role in the antipathy we see toward the president. But I think that's almost too easy an answer. I really do.
I remember back to '09 when he got sworn in. I knew people, there were stories about this at the time, people who were Republicans at that time, people who voted for John McCain, who felt a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment, that, 'Hey, you know what, this may not be my guy or my party, but we made history here, this is a step forward for this country.' A lot of those people have gone on to be very vitriolic toward the president, and I don't think it's because of his skin color.
The changing demographics of this country have a lot to do with it. There's sometime in the very near future, where we're going to a majority minority country. As much you could read racial tension in there, I think it's more people are always afraid of change.
How did Scott Walker keep winning in Wisconsin?
I'll preface this by saying that there are Republicans who I just disagree with, but who I think are good people, patriots, and get up every day and do what they think is the right thing. I think Paul Ryan has a strong moral compass. It may point in the opposite direction as mine, but I believe he gets up every day and does what he thinks is best.