Dividing Lines: Political Polarization and What it Means for Campaigns, Public Policy, and Political Engagement


Thank you for your interest in the Dividing Lines Conference. Please note that we are no longer taking on-line reservations for the event. You are welcome to show up the day of the event and watch the event from the live-feed room.  Currently, the event is sold-out. We will add guests to the main room based on cancellations or no-shows the day of the event.



Join us for a one-day conference, sponsored by Marquette University Law School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as we address the growing political divide in southeast Wisconsin and America …

Dividing Lines:  political polarization and what it means for campaigns, public policy, and political engagement   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

  • 8am, registration
  • 8:30am, welcome
  • Noon, lunch will be provided
  • 2pm, program ends

Marquette Law School, Eckstein Hall, Appellate Courtroom

There is no charge; however, registration is required.

Last fall, Journal Sentinel Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert began a six month Lubar Fellowship at Marquette Law School.  Working closely with Professor Charles Franklin, Gilbert conducted an exhaustive study of voting trends in metropolitan Milwaukee.  His conclusion:  the region is now “one of America’s most polarized places.”  And, Gilbert reports, what’s happening here is illustrative. “Metro Milwaukee is a microcosm of the hardening of partisan lines across the country,” he writes, “the decline of ticket splitting, the sorting of places into red and blue enclaves, and the two parties’ reliance on increasingly divergent demographic and geographic bases.”  Our conference will explore the implications of these dividing lines, in southeast Wisconsin, and nationally.  What do they mean for campaigns, public policy and political engagement? 


Dividing Lines:  political polarization and what it means for campaigns, public policy, and political engagement   

8:00 a.m.

Registration and coffee

8:30 a.m.


8:35 a.m.

Dividing Lines: The Project and What We Learned

Craig Gilbert, Washington Bureau Chief, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Lubar Fellow for Public Policy Research, Marquette Law School                              

9:20 a.m.

The Wisconsin Political Landscape and the Structure of Division

Charles Franklin, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Marquette Law School, Director of the Marquette Law School Poll

9:50 a.m.   


10:00 a.m. 

Divided Regions:  Racial Inequality, Political Segregation, and the Splintering of Metropolitan America

Katherine Levine Einstein, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Boston University

10:20 a.m. 

Why Partisans Rarely Sort:  How Neighborhood Quality Concerns Trump Americans’ Preferences for Like-Minded Neighbors

Clayton Nall, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

11:00 a.m.  Dividing Lines:  Political Polarization and How It Affects Campaigns and Political Engagement

Moderator:  Mike Gousha, Distinguished Fellow in Law and Public Policy, Marquette Law School

Mark Graul, Founder and President of Arena Strategy Group, Republican Strategist

Paul Maslin, Principal at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates (FM3), Democratic Strategist



12:40 a.m. 

Dividing Lines:  Political Polarization and the Impact on Public Policy 

Given our differences, how does SE Wisconsin move forward?

Moderator:  Mike Gousha

Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Executive

State Rep. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee

Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Mayor

State Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills

Tom Meaux, Ozaukee County Administrator

Cory Nettles, Managing Director, Generation Growth Capital

Shawn Reilly, Waukesha Mayor

State Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend

2:00 p.m.   



  • Eckstein Hall
  • 1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233
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