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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Is Scott Walker REALLY Presidential Material?

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 11/21/14 16:58

by Dave Mindeman

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is ruminating a run for President. And what is to stop him? He has won three (count 'em three) elections for Governor since 2010. Sounds like an electoral juggernaut.

But as with most "big ideas" from Republicans, it has some flaws.

Here are the election results from the 3 runs:


Walker 1,128,941 52.3%
Barrett 1,004,303 46.5% Turnout = 49.7%

2012 June 5, 2012 Recall

Walker 1,335,585 53%
Barrett 1,164,480 46% Turnout = 57.8%


Walker 1,259,031 52.3%
Burke 1,121,490 46.6% Turnout = 56.9%

First observation. The results are remarkably similar in each case. Walker wins by 6 to 7 points in each case.

Each election is an off-year type. The 2012 recall was held in June. And you may ask, who decides that? Well, in Wisconsin, that decision is done by the Government Accountability Board....a panel of 6 judges. And, surprise, surprise...4 of the 6 judges were appointed by Scott Walker. The other two by his predecessor Gov. Jim Doyle.

During the recall there were 931,053 signatures turned in to meet the statutory requirement. It seems a bit strange that 931,000 people were motivated enough to sign for the recall effort, but only about 230,000 additional people voted for the Democratic candidate. I offer no explanations but I do consider it a bit odd.

A more dominant point is that Walker won these elections with 50+% of the electorate voting. In the 2012 Presidential election, Wisconsin got 70% of its people to the polls.

Would Scott Walker even carry Wisconsin in a Presidential election?

I think that is a fair point worth considering. But let me give you a bit more about the recall. When the signatures for the recall were received, the GAB put the signatures on line with a searchable database (at a cost of $150,000 to the taxpayers) showing their signature. Your name was on the public record.

It took some time for the GAB to certify the election as they verified signatures....which had a certain additional Walker advantage....

Normally, candidates must follow strict limits on how much they can raise from any individual, but those restrictions are not in effect from the time recall petitions are first circulated until the accountability board decides whether a recall election must be held.

Republicans used that quirk of the law from November until Friday to their advantage, with Walker raising as much as $500,000 from one businessman - 50 times the usual $10,000 limit. Democrats had to adhere to the normal limits during those four and a half months, putting them at a fundraising disadvantage.

Walker raised an unprecedented amount of money heading into the recall.
He has manipulated his state to his advantage. And he has managed to get large sums of money from the usual national sources.

Those sources might support him for President, but can he extrapolate his "off-year" successes and state manipulation into a national campaign?

That doesn't sound like a strong national Presidential candidate to me. But then I'm not a Republican primary voter.
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Scott Walker Defends A Bad Voter ID Law

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 10/11/14 14:07, Edited: 10/11/14 14:26

by Dave Mindeman

In a debate last night, Scott Walker defended the Wisconsin voter ID law that was just blocked by the Supreme Court....

"It doesn't matter if there's one, 100, or 1,000," Walker said during the debate.... "Amongst us, who would be that one person who would like to have our vote canceled out by a vote that was cast illegally?"

The response to that is this. If a voter is denied his right to vote because of a discriminatory law, then I guess that voter doesn't have to worry about being cancelled out by an illegal vote.

I also do not care if one, 100, or 1,000 people are denied their legitimate right to vote by a dubious law. Any number is too many. And if Scott Walker thinks that making it harder for legitimate people to exercise their right to vote is more important than catching a few illegitimate votes, then he needs to go down to defeat.

He may think that any number of illegally cast votes are too many, but please explain that to the 10's of thousands that you are disenfranchising with a law that can only be explained as having the partisan purpose of blocking the voters of the opposite party.

Let's debate that.
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Analyzing the Recall Election

Category: Scott Walker
Posted: 06/06/12 18:22

by Dave Mindeman

Having gone over everything I could about the Wisconsin recall election, I have some conclusions I'd like to discuss:

1) Voters Rejected the Idea of the Recall Itself.

I alluded to the idea that voters did not like the recall in a post on May 26th, but it looks like it might have been a bigger factor than I thought. It certainly doesn't explain the loss itself, but it benefitted Walker. Another advantage to the type of money that Walker had backing him was that multiple messages could be reenforced. The perfect thing for outside money to do for Walker was to spread the word that recalls should only be used for criminal behavior...and that message resonated.

From E.J. Dione at the Washington Post:

Perhaps the most significant exit poll finding was this one: Only about a quarter of those who went to the polls on Tuesday said that a recall was appropriate for any reason. Roughly six in 10 said a recall should be used only in the case of official misconduct. And another tenth thought a recall was never appropriate. Most voters, in other words, rejected the very premise of the election in which they were casting ballots. This proved to be a hurdle too high for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's opponent.

2) Democrats regain Senate but it is a hollow victory.

Some progressives have taken some solace in the fact that one of the Republican Senators was defeated in the recall elections and that gives the Democrats control of the State Senate. Although this is significant generally, it doesn't really have any political significance. The Wisconsin legislature is part time like Minnesota's and they are out of session till next year. Only a call for a special session by Walker or the head of the state House could bring them back...and you know that is not going to happen.

In addition, the Republican controlled legislature drew the maps for redistricting during the regular session and that means that retaining control of the Senate for next year will be a tall order. If they can manage that, then they will be able to temper Walker's initiatives. But that is unlikely.

3) Republicans will, as usual, overplay their hand.

The exit polling from the recall indicated that the record electorate turnout favored Obama as much as Walker. This is a definite plus factor for Democrats overall. It gives more weight to the idea that more voters were unhappy with the idea of perpertual elections rather than any particular love of Scott Walker. Still, if Obama has some measure of popularity in Wisconsin, where the heck was he? He was in Chicago and the Twin Cities during the campaign and refused to set foot in the Badger State. Democrats are asking why?

Still, the GOP is crowing a little too much about this victory....and although it is certainly a huge win, there are too many other factors for them to extrapolate too far with this. The main concern is that other GOP governors may be emboldened to mimic the Walker method. They may do so at their peril because we already have the Ohio referendum to point to if the issue is strictly about collective bargaining.

4) No matter how we analyze it, this hurts labor.

It would seem that the public can be persuaded that union benefits, that have been fairly bargained for, are excessive. It is hard for people with little job security and declining wages to sympathize with unions and their collective bargaining rights. People have forgotten how hard it has been for unions to make it this far. Non-union voters have little personal experience to draw on and seem to be willing to be convinced that the union's hard earned rights to bargain are unfair to the taxpayer.

Walker played it to perfection. With expensive multiple messaging and manipulation of jobs data, he was able to put unions on the defensive from the beginning.

I, for one, do not see this as a mistake by unions. They absolutely had to stand on principle. Funny how Republicans are told to admire principled stands, but Democrats look at it as a mistake.


This was a hard loss to take. No question. But it is time to regroup. Bind the wounds and fight on. We will learn from this and we will continue.

Walker can have his day....but there are other days to come.

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