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Scott Walker's Lead Is Not Just About Him

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 05/26/12 14:36

by Dave Mindeman

Although it is certainly not over by any stretch, the Wisconsin recall election currently gives Scott Walker a good shot at retaining his seat. Democrats are increasingly frustrated by this and though the state of Wisconsin is very evenly divided, progressives have felt all along that the issues of the election are so clear that Walker's defeat was inevitable.

Having followed this election from the beginning, I share that frustration but have a couple of points to make that may explain some of Walker's advantage.

Although the partisan divide is clear and the 50-50 nature of the polling confirms this, independents in Wisconsin seem to be looking at this differently.

I believe it is with the recall election itself.

Independent voters don't seem to be happy with an endless election cycle. When the voting is completed they expect government to function with the winners and their ideas until deciding the next election. In addition, it is hard for indy voters to understand the attack on unions that Walker imposed. In the current economic climate unions jobs and their bargaining position benefit someone else, not them.

But even beyond that, the Wisconsin recall election law has some serious flaws. I even have to agree with Walker in one aspect. There will be a full examination of the recall law and changes that need to be made.

This law allows the potentially recalled candidate to have unlimiting fund raising advantages until his or her opponent is named. Walker took full advantage of that and went on a national circuit to pile up a $20 million war chest. Democrats were subject to regular limitations and, with the contested primary, were cut short on time as well.

Also, the "fake" candidates which Republicans used to force Democratic primaries was also a sham. Why the Republicans did not get a backlash from that is a bit of a mystery, but it probably stems from the whole election fatigue that has plagued independent voters.

It could very well be that some independents are voting, not for Scott Walker and his policies, but rather against the very idea of recall elections. Removing a sitting politician in the middle of a term is a quirk of Wisconsin law and the perception seems to be that it is a deeply flawed one.

It is unfortunate that Democrats are having difficulty getting the people of Wisconsin to understand the injustice that unions are being saddled with. Scott Walker manipulates words and the data to confuse the electorate. He has been successful in his "divide and conquer" strategy....at least it looks that way now.

But it's not over. There is still time to get the people focused back on policy and not on a flawed process.

And let's not forget that there are other elections in place. The Democrats only need to win one of four recalled Republican Senate seats to control that body. This will thwart Walker policies until November at least. That is still important. And, there is a real possibility that the Lt. Governor could also become a Democrat as well. There are still positives that can be achieved.

I have not given up...I am just trying to outline why this has been so difficult. There is about 10 days to go and a lot can happen.. Walker's lead is still within the margin that a strong, coordinated get out the vote campaign can still win.

A Walker win would make union rights more difficult to protect but those rights are still worth fighting for.....everywhere.

Never give up.

comments (2) permalink
05/28/12 22:33
One would assume that those who oppose recalls didn't sign the petition to recall Walker. If those who did sign the recall petition would just go to the polls on 6/5, Walker would lose this election. For me, it is not enough the Dems are likely to control the state legislature, I want to see that this man is out of office.
05/26/12 23:14
Conventional wisdom, and I think it's actually based on research, is 10% of voters oppose recalls under all circumstances. Perhaps that's higher without a clear scandal that has already broken, not a scandal that could, but hasn't yet, reached the recalled candidate. Movement in the polls indicates the "divide and conquer" video moved the election closer, but the fake jobs statistics probably just seem like normal spin. Unfortunately, any recall has to overcome not just the supporters of the recalled incumbent, but the people who oppose recalls on principle. If the outcome is as tight as predicted, that resistance to recalls will have saved Walker.


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