Walker v. Baldwin Twitter war could mark beginning of new era in - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Walker v. Baldwin Twitter war could mark beginning of new era in Wisconsin's political discourse

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Somewhere on the way to nominating a new U.S. Supreme Court justice a Twitter war broke out right here in Wisconsin.

The state's top Republican and top Democrat skewered each other over more than a 24 hour period in a back and forth that would have made President Donald Trump proud.

It begs the question - is this the level of discourse we can now expect to see from our state leaders?

On Tuesday night, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) tweeted out a statement that included a line about her plan to meet with Judge Neil Gorsuch before deciding whether to support his nomination.

But less than 48 hours later, Sen. Baldwin said she would vote against Gorsuch, despite never taking that meeting.
    
Governor Scott Walker - or someone else on his campaign team - pounced, tweeting: "Senator Baldwin is out of the mainstream - refuses to meet with judge whose experience is nearly identical to Judge Garland."

That is a reference to Judge Merrick Garland, an Obama Supreme Court nominee who Republicans refused to confirm for the final 11 months of 2016 - a fact Baldwin called GOP senators out for repeatedly.

Sen. Baldwin - or someone from her campaign - fired back.

"Your opportunity to weigh in on Gorsuch ended with your short-lived presidential campaign. Focus on fixing Wisconsin's roads and bridges. #priorities" - read the response tweeted back.

Walker fired the next shot: "Maybe that plays well in Madison - but the rest of the state would like a senator."

"I think in Wisconsin it may be surprising to see the ratcheting up of intensity on Twitter in this way," said Professor Mike Wagner, a political journalism expert at UW-Madison.

Professor Wagner said Twitter has allowed politicians - like other people - to speak to another in ways they likely never would when talking to each other in person.

"This Wisconsin Senator is standing up for the people of Wisconsin, not powerful interests in DC," Baldwin tweeted back at Walker, making that her final salvo directed at the Governor.

But Gov. Walker kept going - firing off a total of 17 tweets from his campaign account at Baldwin - all slamming her for the upcoming "no" vote on Judge Gorsuch.

Prof. Wagner said it's an exchange we certainly wouldn't have seen just a few years ago, but is likely the new normal thanks to President Trump.

"It's certainly the case that the cat is out of the bag, that the genie is out of the bottle," said Wagner. "This is going to be something that happens more and more in Wisconsin and across the country."

This likely won't be the last time either.

Both Gov. Walker and Sen. Baldwin will be up for reelection in 2018, with their races at the very top of the ticket.

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