It wasn’t even close. Gov. Scott Walker holds off Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by somewhere near 11 points (at last check), but yet polls indicate President Obama holds Wisconsin lean blue. After this election, things may change.
Is there something wrong with exit polls? At first, CNN and other news groups reported that there was a dead heat. And strangely, from a dead network, their exit polls are still somewhat accurate. Then, reflecting the high conservative turnout tonight, the movement of exit polling seemed shift to Walker (or at least the exit pollers morphed their results).
And from normal election night watchers, the results from Wisconsin are actually not physically known past unofficial results leaked to the press in various sorts and forms. The AP, NBC, etc., all called quick for Walker, even as exit polls seemed to indicate something different.
Is Wisconsin full-red, at least according to the pile of conservatives who seem to have taken this victory more to their heart than Dems to the recall? Or are the conservatives in Wisconsin a mix of folks who understand the process of fiscal conservatism, that while there are disagreements, there’s no reason to simply cast aside a public official for emotion?
Gov. Walker owns this state now, and likely re-election if he chooses. The gamut of attacks on the airwaves were stunning, because the WIGOP attack ads were basically bashing the state and major city that Tom Barrett ran, and he was the County Executive of the same place. And while cheers for keeping your job are good to have, the real question is whether or not Dems and GOPers can ever work together again.
Or perhaps there’s a different electorate that has come out tonight, one that seems to understand that there is a balance between the two views, and also the effectiveness of money in politics. Regardless of the positions in reality, the idealism of politics can bring out the liberal in anyone. And in specific technical sense, the liberal is the conservative this time around.
Change was what Gov. Walker wanted. And while I disagreed with the elimination of collective bargaining, I didn’t expect the alternative to throw him out of his elected position. And for more moderate governors who understand the balance (as in here in Michigan), watching the more progressive political pundits draw Gov. Snyder into the fire was unfair. And I think that’s part of the reason why Gov. Walker won with so much more gumption than expected. The logic simply dissolved as the arguments ran into each other.
At this point the vote is about 1.1 million to 900,000 in the state, and that’s about 9%. This is also the expected turnout in November, and honestly, with the win for the WIGOP, the turnout might be larger on the heels of this test run.
And with 2 million voters of 3.7 million voting-age residents, it’s a sign that we’re finally becoming an electorate. It’s a temper to the mob rule, where significant numbers of rabble-rousers are silenced by the majority. It’s the foil to those who wish for limits to voting, of stringent regulations for voting while they bask in their naive free market dreamland.
For Dems, it’s a big loss. But at the same time, the numbers show that President Obama has the state. So here’s the question for Wisconsin Dems tonight:
What’s wrong with your platform on the Walker/Barrett fiasco? President Obama didn’t step into Wisconsin, because he seemed to sense the disconnect that you didn’t. And heck, a lot of people didn’t expect the thwonk of +9%. I reckoned Dane and Milwaukee County would’ve kept it closer.
Why did +30% of union households vote Gov. Walker? Was Barrett just not a good candidate, and people voted the person rather the ideologue? That Mayor Barrett lost by 4 more points than he did in 2010 not register with the Dems?
Here in Troy, where embattled Mayor Janice Daniels has created epic failures across the board, the idea of a recall is simply a vote of no confidence, and a reminder to do one’s job. Signatures are being gathered for a recall in the city, but even when we get to that bridge, I think most of us would rather our public officials serve the whole term, in good or bad times.
While many decry the term is already too long, the real truth is that nothing much has changed here in town. There’s still some construction, a few sidewalks getting unearthed, and the city hasn’t burnt to the ground.
In Wisconsin, it’s pretty much the same thing. Unemployment is proportionally lower, jobs aren’t shedding, and some reforms that the WIGOP have passed are pretty decent. Some were sorta cheap shots, but in the end, the process is solid, and the budget is remarkably tamed without horror and chaos.
And when the election returns show an even better turnout than the midterms, Wisconsin Dems might want to realize the next step has national implications. While the polls still put President Obama ahead, tonight’s elections may have permanently shifted the winds of Wisconsin back to the right. And the winds may stay high through November, because there’s a gap where President Obama can’t come to Madison or Milwaukee without getting considerable flack.
Wisconsin conservatives should thank the Dems on this. Everyone wants a piece of the savior of the Republic, and we should see talk of Wisconsin leaning red in the next few weeks. And that wasn’t part of the wager, was it, Wisconsin Dems?
**Morning update** Seems in the Wisconsin State Senate, of 4 races that were in the recall election, one Democrat has actually won. Challenger John Lehman was up against Wisconsin State Senator Van H. Wanggaard, and won by 800 votes. While FoxNews won’t admit it, the Wisconsin State Senate is now controlled by the WIDems. Too close to call means it’s actually too close to call. And to be honest, Gov. Walker won. let the Dems have the gridlock, eh? Mako out.