Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall Election to Preview National Election

Get Ready for An Ugly, Bitter, Drowning in Money, Divisive State Election Before the Coming Ugly, Bitter, Drowning in Money Divisive Federal Election

The slightly over one year history of the state of Wisconsin can be summarized this way.  In November 2010 the voters turned the government of the state over to Republicans.  The new governor and his colleagues immediately decided to reduce government worker compensation and benefits, which was not unexpected.  They also voted to substantially reduce the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, which was totally unexpected.

The public employee unions did the responsible thing.  They accepted the cuts as a necessary condition resulting from the recession, but they did not understand why elimination of collective bargaining rights and other changes that effectively destroyed the unions were necessary or even what the voters wanted.  As a result they tried to recall enough legislators to give the Democrats back control of the state senate, and barely failed.  Now they are taking on the Governor.

So what happens now?  Essentially there will be a new election for Governor this spring or early in the summer.

Under Wisconsin’s rules, Mr. Walker would appear on a recall ballot against an opponent. There would not merely be, as in some of the other 18 states with recall laws, an up-or-down vote on retention and then another election later.

Several names, including those of Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, who lost to Mr. Walker in 2010, and Kathleen Falk, a former Dane County executive, have been mentioned, but a Democratic primary appears possible. At least some of the most widely known Democrats, including Russell D. Feingold, a former senator, have said they are not running.

The major characteristic of this coming election is that there will be an almost unlimited amount of money from Conservative activist groups in support of the Governor.  Because of his anti-union stance, all of the wealthy Conservative opponents of public employee unions will be players.  Expect them to pour $20 million or more into the race.  And make no mistake about it, these players are people that play hard ball.  The lies, distortions and misleading ads will come from both sides, but far more so from the Conservative side, because they believe theirs is a holy cause, and that allows them to say or do anything.

A number of questions will be partially answered by this race.

  1. Do Democrats even comprehend the power and money that will be opposing them?

  1. Will voters react negatively against the negative ads, will there be enough of a backlash to make the outside money counter-productive?

  1. Can Democrats really raise the money they need to be competitive?

  1. Are unpopular ultra-Conservative Governors like Mr. Walker so disliked that they can be dislodged in a recall election?  This is an extremely rare event.

Stay tuned, these questions and much more will be answered in the next episode.

1 comment:

  1. everybody should write Walker in on the democratic ticket write-in slot on the May 8th primary