Author

Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Her book "Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers" won the 2022 Studs and Ida Terkel Award from The New Press.

COMMENTARY
Wisconsin farm | Screenshot from the film “Get Loud: The Fight for the Soul of Agriculture” on YouTube

Vanity Fair’s ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’: A horror movie version of rural America

By: - December 9, 2022

I first heard about the new “Wisconsin Death Trip” story from a friend in North Carolina. “After reading this Vanity Fair piece, not so sure I wanna come visit y’all,” she wrote.  Wisconsin winters often scare away visitors from the South. But a Nov. 30 glossy magazine feature by journalist, best-selling author and Dartmouth professor […]

COMMENTARY
Michael Monthey, an apprentice in the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program, moves a herd of grazing cows to a new grazing area on Scott Mericka's farm in Dodgeville.

Farmers and workers vs. Big Food

By: - December 7, 2022

During a Tuesday forum sponsored by a coalition of farmers, community leaders and sustainable agriculture experts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dennis Olson, a researcher with the United Food & Commercial Workers union, laid out a vision for changes to our food system that would address the needs of farmers, workers and everyone concerned about […]

COMMENTARY
A beat up, battered US flag hanging on a baseball backstop

The war on democracy isn’t over

By: - December 2, 2022

Let’s celebrate the good news: When the Republican chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission quietly certified the results of the 2022 election this week, the Big Lie fizzled, along with doomsday scenarios involving GOP candidates refusing to accept the results and armed militia members waging a campaign of intimidation — or worse — against voters. […]

COMMENTARY
Little girl (two years old) is sitting on the floor and playing with her building blocks. She is building a high tower and are just about to put another block to it. She is sitting with her back against the viewer, totally lost in her play.

Stability or disruption for Wisconsin schools?

By: - November 23, 2022

Parent-teacher conferences just ended — a process akin to speed-dating, during which my husband and I met with our high school sophomore’s teachers in a flurry of quick, 10-minute Zoom sessions. As frenetic as the process was, it was reassuring to talk to the grownups who are teaching our daughter and to hear what she’s […]

COMMENTARY
WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 05: Former President Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Former President Trump endorsed Republican candidate Tim Michels in the governor's race against candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, who is supported by former Vice President Mike Pence. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Republicans step back from Trump, but Trumpism is alive and well

By: - November 17, 2022

Wisconsin Republicans are moving away from Trump. Who can blame them? Trump-endorsed candidates, among them GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, sustained heavy losses in the midterm elections. And Trump’s rambling, petulant speech announcing that he is running for president in 2024 was not exactly inspiring. “Two years ago, we were a great nation,” Trump declared, […]

COMMENTARY
Question Mark Wood Cube on Blue Background

What you don’t know about the UW System’s new charter schools should worry you

By: - November 15, 2022

The UW System’s Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO), created by the Wisconsin Legislature in 2015,  is well on its way to overseeing more K-12 schools than the superintendents of most of Wisconsin’s 423 school districts. Currently, the OEO, the UW System’s charter school authorizer, lists 10 independent charter schools it has authorized on its website. […]

COMMENTARY
Gov. Tony Evers taking photos with UW-Madison students on State Street on Election Day, Nov. 8 2022 | Photo by Baylor Spears

Five top takeaways from the midterms in Wisconsin

By: - November 10, 2022

This week’s midterm elections were most notable for what didn’t happen. There was no “shellacking” of Democrats. The much-talked-about red wave failed to materialize. Armed vigilantes did not descend in force on polling places to harass and intimidate voters. Neither, for the most part, did a flood of baseless accusations of fraud derail Democratic victories, […]

COMMENTARY
Student of color raising his hand showing only the hand holding a pencil in a classroom background

Why is the UW System working with the controversial Hillsdale charter school network?

By: - November 5, 2022

Controversy surrounding Hillsdale charter schools led the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University in Wisconsin to threaten to sever ties last month with Lake Country Classical Academy — Wisconsin’s first Hillsdale-affiliated charter school. The tribe cited “inflammatory, derogatory, and racist comments captured by hidden camera” by the president of Hillsdale College, Larry Arnn. Arnn’s comments, which […]

Wisconsin Senate candidates Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis) and Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes in met for their first debate in Milwaukee on Oct. 7, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association | Screenshot via YouTube

New Marquette Poll shows races for Senate, governor are toss-ups

By: - November 2, 2022

One week out from the Nov. 8 midterm election, the latest Marquette University Law School poll shows both the Wisconsin Senate race and the race for governor are extremely tight. Among likely voters in the Senate election, incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has 50% support compared with 48% support for Barnes. “That’s obviously inside the […]

Screenshot from Hillsdale's 'Teaching for Virtue | K-12 Classical Education' video on the Lake Country Classical Academy website | YouTube

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University to sever relationship with Hillsdale charter school

By: - October 26, 2022

The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University (LCOOU) Authorizing Board says it will end its affiliation with an Oconomowoc charter school affiliated with Hillsdale College unless the school renounces reported racist and derogatory comments made  by Hillsdale’s president, Larry Arnn. The tribal university notified leaders of Lake Country Classical Academy (LCCA) that unless the charter school […]

COMMENTARY
Student of color raising his hand showing only the hand holding a pencil in a classroom background

Beware skewed numbers on school funding 

By: - October 25, 2022

The Badger Institute, a conservative Wisconsin think tank, touts its “instrumental” role in “successes ranging from implementation of school choice to the passage of right-to-work legislation to the repeal of prevailing wage and overly onerous occupational licensure laws.”  Last week it came out with a new report, “Mandate for Madison: Policy Recommendations for a More […]

COMMENTARY
CAMBRIDGE, WI - APRIL 25: Cows walk from a barn after being milked on Hinchley's Dairy Farm on April 25, 2017 near Cambridge, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Getting past toxic partisanship: Dairy farmers and undocumented workers

By: - October 24, 2022

Throughout the late summer and early fall I’ve been traveling, giving talks at bookstores, libraries and university classrooms in various cities about my new book  “Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers.” The subject of my book — the deep economic and personal relationships between dairy farmers and the […]