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View Diary: Walker did not win because of money. Period. (167 comments)

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  •  You are dead wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    A Recall election is significantly different from a normal election in one very big way that is highly relevant to your claims.  That way is this:

    In a normal election the voter is thinking, "It's the normal time for that regular contest our democracy needs to have every so often to pick the future direction of governance.  I have to pick one of these, which one do I think has the better platform?  Hey look this candidate takes too much time to say his opponent is bad and not enough time to tell me why he's good.  That makes me suspicious.  Hmm."  

    In other words, in a NORMAL election it works like you say.  A positive campaign works better than a negative one.

    But this is not a normal election.  This was a recall election.

    In a recall election the voter is thinking, "People are telling me this is a special exception case where the incumbent did something so horrible that it warrants unseating him before his normal term is up.  Is he really that bad?  I might not like the guy's policies and I might prefer the other guy's policies, but does that really warrant kicking him out prematurely like this?  That seems extreme.  How bad was what he did?  Was it bad enough for a recall?  Oh look, his opponent isn't really talking about what the incumbent did wrong to deserve recall!  All he does is talk himself up as being great and awesome and having such better policies... yeah... but... this isn't about him.  It's about unseating the incumbent.  And he's not telling me what was so horrible about what the incumbent did.... I'm suspicious."

    In a recall election it's reversed.  Going negative works better than going positive because a recall IS all about the incumbent.  It really is.  You must overcome the hurdle in the voter's mind that "recalls are supposed to be exceptions.  The incumbent has to be more than merely someone I disagree with.  It has to be far far more severe than that."  And THAT is where the Barret campaign failed.

    The recall-worthy things that happened under Walker were the way he and his cronies put his policies through without due process and repeatedly bypassed democratic (small "d') procedures.  Basically a recall is like an impeachment by the people when the senate is in the pocket of the governor and won't do it.

    The fact that Walker busted the unions and destroyed Wisconsin's traditions of liberal power is disgusting, but not gross misconduct, and not worthy of an impeachment by the people.  What WAS worthy of an impeachment by the people was the methods by which he did it - violating open meetings laws (keeping deliberations secret from the public kills democracy) - using his position as boss and head rule-maker of state public works buildings like the capitol grounds in order to stifle his opposition's voice, blatantly lying, and so on.

    The problem wasn't that the challenger's ads went negative about the incumbent.  That's the correct thing to do, both tactically and morally, in a recall election.  The problems was that they went negative on the wrong issues.  By making it about "do you or don't you like the anti-union policies of the tea party?" it became left vs right politics and everybody just voted the same way they voted before, instead of being about "do you prefer a democracy or a dictatorship?", which might make some people mad at Walker because they voted for him.

    I suspect if Wisconsin had the same recall system as California, Walker would have been kicked out.  In California, you have a two-step election.  FIRST you vote a simple yes or no to kick out the incumbent WITHOUT KNOWING YET who the new replacement will be, and then if that vote says "yes kick out the incumbent", THEN you have a second election a little bit later to pick who the replacement will be (an election in which the incumbent isn't allowed to run but other members of the same party are allowed to run.)

    I think there'd be a lot more Republican "defectors" if they thought they had a way to replace Walker while still holding out hope that the replacement wouldn't necessarily be a Democrat.

    Recalls can, and SHOULD be about the incumbent first and foremost, not the challenger.

    Going negative is exactly the correct thing to do because if the incumbent didn't do anything wrong, there shouldn't BE a recall.  Barret's campaign didn't do it enough about the right sorts of things.

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