Six Months of This Stuff

If you’re like me, a moderate Democrat, how many times have you thought to yourself, ‘that’s just bat-shit crazy,’ and yet you said nothing out of fear of being thought of as, or actually called, something awful?

That’s the heart of why I started this site at the first of the year: to embolden left-center Democrats to just say what’s on their minds, to reassure them that it’s okay to disagree with the orthodoxies of the left, to let them know that they’re not alone.

And, six months into it, I think it’s fair to say that it has been a middling success.

Here are the numbers.

  • We’ve had just under 30,000 views and just over 10,000 visitors from 49 countries.
  • We cranked out 168 posts and a total of 118,000 words with an average post of about 700 words. We haven’t missed a post since February 18th, making this the 135th consecutive day of posts.
  • On average, we get about 150 visitors a day. Overall, the trend in readership was sharply up in January, February and March and then more gently down in April, May and June. The June readership was only slightly less than May, so it’s possible that we’ll settle in at around 4,700 total views a month.
  • And those ads you see on the site? So far, they’ve paid a handsome $3.70, only Word Press doesn’t actually cut a check until you reach $100. So, at this rate, I’m counting on that $100 for my Christmas fund in 2035.

So, how should we feel about all this? I’m not sure. I think characterizing it as a “middling success” might be fairly accurate. There are about 32 million bloggers in America — 10% of the total population, so there’s a lot of competition out there.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

But those bloggers spend, on average, four hours writing an average of 2,500 words while I spend about an hour writing 700. I can’t imagine what there is to say in 2,500 words. I like writing that is short, crisp, clear, to the point. The blogging advice websites tell me that posts over 2,000 words get the most views. I don’t care. I’m never going to write a 2,000 word blog.

Only 8% of bloggers make enough money to support their families off the blog. I never intended to make money doing this, so that’s not much of an issue. On the other hand, I like money. I am pro-money.

But what I really want to know, I haven’t been able to discover. Is 150 readers a day good, bad or average? I have not been able to track down numbers on average traffic volumes, so if you’ve seen those numbers, please send them my way.

Nevertheless, I am undaunted. I like writing and so, it’s its own reward. And, I think, I’m filling a niche that needs filling. As I mentioned at the top, I’ve noticed that my fellow center-left Democrats are feeling on the defensive and even a little cowed these days. A number of readers have told me that I’m saying things they think all the time, but would never say out loud.

That’s a problem in a number of ways. First, we like to think we live in a country where freedom of speech is part of the culture. If people are feeling nervous about saying what they think, we have to question whether that’s still true.

Second, if ideas go unchallenged the purveyors of those ideas are emboldened and they don’t get the benefits of the critical feedback that would actually strengthen their arguments. This is a big problem right now in the Democratic Party. Because moderate Democrats are afraid to push back on a host of ideas and a lot of language that comes out of the hard-left, that language gets pushed out there only to be used as fodder by Republicans.

I’m absolutely convinced that Democrats could be the long-term majority party in this country — with tremendous benefits to American society, the environment and the world as a whole — if only they would be smarter and more disciplined about the issues they choose to emphasize and the language they use to talk about those issues.

And, most fundamentally, I believe Democrats need to go beyond issues to talk about values — things like hard work, personal responsibility, fairness and what we owe each other in a civil society.

Finally, while there are plenty of other national sites out there with the same idea, this is the only one in Madison — the very belly of the beast for college town style leftist politics. So, where it comes from — literally — is one thing that makes it significant.

So, regardless of whether YSDA is a quantifiable success, it’s work that I enjoy and that I think is important. I’ll keep writing as long as you keep reading. Thanks for being here.

Welcome to the 135th day of consecutive posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

3 thoughts on “Six Months of This Stuff

  1. Perhaps the discipline of writing every day is an admirable pursuit, but can you explain your argument that this niche of political moderation requires filling? What do you classify all these other opinions available in Madison if not as “moderate” (rarely remarkable for proposing innovations, creative ideas or changing minds, but instead hewing to the predictable status quo of not wanting to upset the apple cart that brought us systemic racism and a widening wealth gap)? Neil Heinen, Paul Fanlund, John Roach, Christian Schneider, Scott Milfred, Tom Still are all very like you: Interested in scolding the radicals (historically responsible for all the good change and trouble driving our society forward) for not buying in to a fixed system that rewards men of a certain age and color. The president and governor are moderates. Yawn.


    1. Neil is retired and I don’t know what’s become of Schneider after he lost his column with the Journal Sentinel. Still writes on tech pretty much exclusively now. As far as I know, Roach just writes the piece in Madison Magazine and that’s usually on a soft topic. Fanlund is bought in to the woke point of view. It is a fair point that my views are more or less consistent with the State Journal editorial board, but I contrast sharply with the Cap Times.


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