Wisconsin's governor wants to implement a liberal agenda. He's having a tough time doing it.

VICE News sat down with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin is not running for president. In the current climate, it seems like a necessary point to make when talking about a red-state, Democratic governor. But he is getting into the 2020 act, because his state will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

He thinks that’s important when it comes to dealing with the electoral problems Democrats had during the 2016 election. “I think it will help Democrats win the presidential election going forward. It's going to go through the Midwest. The Midwest kind of fell apart that last election. So that's all important,” Evers said when he sat down with VICE News in D.C.


While a lot of the Midwest just wasn’t into Hillary Clinton in 2016, the state of Wisconsin decided they weren’t into their Republican governor in 2018, and Evers rode the blue wave into the governor’s mansion.

But that wave didn’t really affect the makeup of the state Legislature, so Evers is facing what many new Democratic governors are: a conservative legislature. It started with the lame-duck session, before he took office when the GOP-controlled legislature decided to yank back some gubernatorial powers before a Democrat could take the seat.

And out of the gate, Evers was blamed for changes to the massive deal his predecessor cut with high-tech manufacturer Foxconn. Evers never liked the deal but now seems committed to trying to make it work, even if he believes the company will not create as many jobs for the state as it originally touted.

“I get it that they’re a private company and I get it that they have to make decisions based on the market and their analysis of that — the information from them has to be more consistent. More transparent.” Evers said.” We need to have detailed plans of what they’re going to do.”

The Legislature also sent him a tax plan that ended up being his first veto, before he had released his budget plan. So trying to figure out how the two parties, a blue governor and a red Legislature, can work together hasn’t gotten off to a great start.

But Evers doesn’t think it’s his job to figure out how to make just any deal with the state Legislature.

“I was elected to ensure we have a better education system, better transportation system, better health care system. All of those things are important to Democrats and Republicans. I don't think I would have won just because of my good looks. And so I'm excited about it. Of course there is going to be political fighting, but at the end of the day, if we sit here together a year from now, we will have accomplished some things.”

This segment originally aired March 7, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.