Free Markets, Free People
There’s a report out that Wisconsin Democrats are furious with the DNC for not supporting their efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker, the target of unions since he tried to curtail their power in the state, is in a runoff election with the former mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett. This is a race the unions have made a “national election”. They’ve poured money, time and effort into this recall election that has been unmatched in recent electoral history. But it seems it isn’t enough. At this point, with 3 weeks to go, Walker leads Barrett by 9 points.
Some of the strength of the base supporting Walker was evident in the primary. Ace fills us in with some numbers:
You know those 626,000 Republicans who turned out in Wisconsin yesterday? Go higher. A LOT higher.
Big number, but if the Marquette Law poll released last Wednesday is to be believed . . . that number is actually low.
MU found that of the voters confirming they would be voting in the Democratic primary, 17% were Republicans.
We will never know the actual numbers per party since there was no exit polling.
Assuming that even HALF of that number stuck by their decision to cross over to cause some mayhem, that means that over 50,000 votes on the Democratic side were just devilish Republicans, bringing the total turnout to over 676k for our side.
If you go by the Marquette number, those "hidden Rs" swell to an additional 110k, bringing total turnout to 736,000: nearly matching Prosser’s share in 2011 for a primary.
There is no way to spin turnout Tuesday in the Democrat’s favor. . . .
Dane County gave the Democrats a massive edge in votes of about 80,000, but proportionally that did not materialize in Milwaukee, which is a big concern for anyone trying to unseat Walker. If you remember earlier discussions here at the AOSHQDD, depressed Democratic turnout in Milwaukee county relative to the rest of the state actually saved Justice Prosser. The Madison vote will show up. The pro-Walker vote will show up from the Milwaukee burbs. Will traditional Presidential-race Democrats in Wisconsin’s largest city bother for a special election, even one as hyped as this? So far, the little evidence we have points to a big fat nuh-uh.
Walker won the largest uncontested share of a primary vote for governor last night in 40 years. His base is behind him when they really didn’t need to show up at all.
If you don’t recognize the name “Prosser”, he was a Republican justice who most felt would fall to a pro-union Democrat. But the election results most desired by the union didn’t materialize. Prosser won. The key graf in Ace’s analysis is the last one. Walker was uncontested. Yet, his base demonstrated their strength and intent. And, if the Marquette poll is to be believed, you can add up to 17% more in June.
It looks like union effort is faltering. How badly? Well, they couldn’t even get their preferred candidate elected in the Democratic primary:
Kathleen Falk’s drubbing in Tuesday’s Democratic primary has some political insiders questioning the decisions, and influence, of the state’s major public labor unions.
Falk, 60, was the first Democrat to enter the recall election, announcing her candidacy even before the race was official. Major labor unions, including AFSCME and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, quickly endorsed her and then went on to spend nearly $5 million to help her win the nomination.
But on Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett — a candidate for whom the unions initially showed very little love — defeated the former Dane County executive by 24 percentage points; a margin of victory all the more startling given that he entered the race late and was outspent 5-to-1. Barrett’s victory was even more pronounced in Dane County, Falk’s backyard, where he won by 30 points.
As Jim Geraghty asks:
So if the AFSCME and the Wisconsin Education Association Council couldn’t move votes in a Democratic primary, why should we expect them to move more votes in the general election?
That’s why they’re now whining about the DNC. My guess is if they lose, the DNC will be the fall guy, the “if but for the DNC’s failure to throw good money after bad, we’d have won” assertions. It’s time to become a victim. Gov. Walker has returned Wisconsin to at least a semblance of fiscal sanity with a budget surplus this year. His program of changes is working. The voters in Wisconsin aren’t blind or stupid. So victimhood is about all the recall proponents have left at this point.
In a last desperate attempt to salvage the effort, Wisconsin Democrats are trying to rewrite a little history:
“Scott Walker has made this a national election,” the Wisconsin Dem tells me. “If he wins, he will turn his victory into a national referendum on his ideas about the middle class. It will hurt Democrats nationally. The fact that [national Dems] are sitting on their hands now is so frustrating. The whole ticket stands to lose.”
Scott Walker had nothing to do with initiating a recall election, throwing collective temper tantrums in the state capitol or bussing in union members (and buckets of money) in from out of state. Democrats and unions did. It is they who have been appealing nationally. It is they who have elevated the Wisconsin recall election a “national election”. And, to this point, it is they who are fumbling the ball.
But they’re right about one thing. Thanks to them, it has been turned into a national referendum of the sort they don’t want to lose. And, unfortunately for them, at this point, they are.
As the great philosopher Monty Python once said, "Always look on the bright side of life". That’s what Democrats are doing today in response to the Wisconsin recall elections.
“The fact of the matter remains that, fighting on Republican turf, we have begun the work of stopping the Scott Walker agenda,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate.
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, said voters sent a message that there is a growing movement to reclaim the middle class.
“Let’s be clear, anyway you slice it, this is an unprecedented victory,” he said.
Well, it certainly appears to have been a moral victory. Which is exactly like a real victory, except that it lacks, you know, victory. Republicans still control both houses of the legislature, as well as the governor’s mansion. And, with two Democrat senators coming up for recall votes next week, losing either of those two seats—or both of them—will make their moral victory somewhat less relevant than it already is.
At the moment, though, not only does this mean that all of Gov. Walker’s previous reforms will remain intact, the Democrats cannot—except by fleeing the state again, I suppose—prevent further fiscal reforms in the state. At the end of the day, the unions dumped something like $30 million into the recall elections, and they failed to wrest control of the state senate from republicans. The most expensive single effort, the $8 million effort against Alberta Darling, failed.
One of the Democrats "successes" was against a state senator that left his wife for a 25 year-old staffer, then moved out of his district. You really had to be politically sharp to win that one.
But, I have no problems with the unions and their allies enjoying their moral victory. Perhaps Markos Moulitsos said it best: "But let me just say, if tonight was a loss, I hope we have many more such "losses" in 2012."
Me, too, Kos. Me, too.
Today was the day of the recall elections in Wisconsin that government unions and their allied thugs and lefties set up to wrest control of the state senate from Republicans, in order to keep the taxpayer supported gravy train rolling. Sadly, they were largely successful in their attempt to overturn the last general election, and return reliable union pawns to the statehouse.
Of the six Republican state senators recalled, only three are now projected to defeat the recall, while two democrats are projected to win, and, at the time of this writing, one seat is undecided, but with the Republican with a slight lead. Even if that seat flips to the
Democrats unions, the resulting Senate composition will be tied 16-16 between Democrats and Republicans.The most likely result at this point, however, is that it will end up 17-15 Republican in the state Senate.
In either event, that essentially means that Gov. Walker’s reforms will remain in place. As a policy matter, irrespective of the results for the individual senators, the final result is tons of union money spent to accomplish nothing of substance. I hope that at least spending that $20-30 million felt good. I certainly feel good knowing that the unions no longer have it in their coffers.
It should go without saying that government employee unions are an anathema to a free society, and should be universally banned. Free market unions, of course, are an entirely different story. It’s funny to remember that in my lifetime, both the Left and the Right—and unions, for that matter—were opposed to government employee unions. Of course, that was before government unions became wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party.
In the larger sense, of course, this is all pointless posturing, as the welfare state is essentially dead, or will be soon enough. That ride is pulling into the terminal, as I have explained in some detail previously.