Wisconsin GOP candidate's parents max out donations to his opponent
Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson's parents have donated the maximum allowable under law – to his Democratic opponent.
The campaign of incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin released its FEC filings, which show that Donna and Michael Nicholson each donated $2,700 to her re-election committee.
Mr. Nicholson has long acknowledged coming from a family of Democrats and said in a statement to CNN that the donations are unsurprising.
"My parents have a different worldview than I do, and it is not surprising that they would support a candidate like Tammy Baldwin who shares their perspective," he said.
The current Republican-primary candidate was a Democrat himself as a younger man, being the president of the College Democrats of America in 2000.
But "I'm a conservative today not because I was born one, but because of the experience I earned as a Marine in combat, my experience as a husband and father, my choice to be a Christian, the schools I chose to attend[,] and the decision to pursue the career that I have," he told CNN.
When the issue of his political conversion came up last fall, he told Politico that he definitively left the Democratic Party as a result of its conduct during the occupation of Iraq, which he said left him "livid."
"I knew what we were doing there," he said of his 2007 deployment to Iraq. "We were stabilizing that country. We made incredible amounts of progress. And what I was hearing back home was a complete and absolute lie, as politicians were running around calling it a failure."
I can identify with the younger Mr. Nicholson entirely. I come from a family of FDR Democrats. My parents, Chicago Democrats, never voted Republican in their lives. My nine siblings are all, to one degree or another, liberal Democrats.
But the summer after I graduated from college, my father presented me with a copy of Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind. I don't recall why, except he and my mother were determined to raise independent thinkers. My dad's huge library featured works by Marx, Adam Smith, and Bishop Sheen.
Reading Kirk made me realize I was far more conservative than others in my family, and I became a Reagan Republican.
If I had ever run for office, my parents would have voted for the Democrat. That's why this story is a bogus hit piece. Politics is not love. My family and I might have had some loud arguments at the dinner table about politics, but that never got in the way of how we felt about each other. In fact, we probably would have joked about their support for my opponent if I had run.
The suggestion with these stories of Nicholson's parents supporting the Democrat is that there is something wrong with their child, which is why they are voting against him. That's nuts, and Nicholson set the record straight with his statement.
As for his "conversion," there have been three seminal moments for conservatism in my lifetime that forced many liberals to rethink their ideology. The first was the run for president by George McGovern in 1972, which put the "New Democrats" in power for the first time. These were radicals who rejected American leadership in the world and turned the Democratic Party into a far-left swamp – a "riot of conceits," as R. Emmett Tyrell called it.
The second seminal moment occurred when Ronald Reagan was elected president. Reagan drew working-class Democrats – of which there were a lot more back then than now – because of his support for traditional values.
The last moment in time that "woke" liberals was 9/11. The response of Democrats to that act of war convinced many liberals that they were backing a suicidal ideology. This is one of the things that apparently forced Mr. Nicholson to abandon his flirtation with liberalism and become a conservative.
If anything, Mr. Nicholson's conversion shows a streak of independent thinking that would be more than welcome in the U.S. Senate.