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View Diary: The Wisconsin Blues (152 comments)

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  •  I Get It, But (2+ / 0-)
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    Leftcandid, mkor7
    The Wisconsin recall vote should be put in a larger context. What happened in Wisconsin started well before Scott Walker became governor and will continue as long as progressives let it continue. The general issues transcend unions, teachers, pensions, deficits, and even wealthy conservatives and Citizens United.
    You can stop there. Here's what happened and why:
    The Walker recall effort would, in fact, splinter the masses of anti-Walker protesters. Many progressives and most of the state's labor unions rallied behind former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk who, in January 2012, announced her intent to challenge Walker. Tom Barrett, who had lost the governor’s race to Walker in 2010, didn't announce his candidacy until late March, his entry pitting Democrat against Democrat, his handful of union endorsements pitting labor against labor. Unions pumped $4 million into helping Falk clinch the Democratic nomination. In the end, though, it wasn't close: Barrett stomped her in the May 8th primary by 24 percentage points.

    By now, the Madison movement was the captive of ordinary Democratic politics in the state. After all, Barrett was hardly a candidate of the uprising. People who had protested in the streets and slept in the capitol groused about his uninspired record on workers' rights and public education. He never inspired or unified the movement that had made a recall possible -- and it showed on Election Day: Walker beat Barrett by seven percentage points, almost his exact margin of victory in 2010. Democrats and their union allies needed to win over new voters and old enemies; by all accounts they failed.

    And had Barrett by some miracle won, after a few days of celebration and self-congratulation, those in the Madison movement would have found themselves in the same box, in the same broken system, with little sense of what to do and, in a Barrett governorship, little hope. Win or lose, there was loss written all over the recall decision.

    This gets to my earlier point: in crucial elections, the democrats have a habit of going with the wrong candidate, which makes the already difficult task of getting out the vote even more difficult.

    "The private economy is doing fine". President Obama 6.8.2012

    by Superpole on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 06:03:53 AM PDT

    •  Falk would have lost by even more (10+ / 0-)

      First of all, the fact that the article quoted refers to the "Madison movement" shows that that author has no idea what he is talking about.  It was a Wisconsin movement-- not a Madison movement.

      Second of all, while it is true that Barrett was not the candidate of the movement, neither was Falk.  Falk was the candidate of the union leadership.  She had no more organic connection to the movement than did Barrett.  The chief difference between them is that Falk was willing to commit herself publicly to vetoing any state budget that did not restore public sector collective bargaining rights-- a pledge that would have doomed her to catastrophic defeat in the general election.

      That particular pledge is an example of the type of politics that Lakoff is condemning.  Rather than offering a moral vision of the public good that is inclusive (which is what Lakoff is calling for), Falk framed herself as the candidate of the "self-serving government workers."  There are virtually no Walker voters who would have voted for Falk, but there are plenty of Barrett voters who would have not voted for Falk.

      As I reflect on all this, I become convinced that we lost the messaging war in the fall and winter, and that there's little that either Falk or Barrett could have done to have turned that around in the context of the truncated campaign.

    •  Um...turnout was at a record high (3+ / 0-)
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      Cardinal96, Superpole, New Rule

      The grassroots came out en masse to support Barrett...

      I don't think your argument flies.  

      People saying that Barrett was outspent also miss the mark.   True there was a ton of money on Walker's side...but the fact of the matter is that Barrett lost the messaging battle LONG before that.   Walker's side framed the debate exactly because the public has gotten disenchanted with the unions, "high pension payouts, etc..."

      The vast majority of people had made up their minds before the recall election...that's why Barrett didn't close the gap.

      The people who voted for Walker last time...voted for him this time.   None of the people who voted for Walker last time, voted for Barrett this time.

      There was a TON of money...but in the end...they were preaching to the choir.   All of the canvassing, all of the $millions of dollars in ad...had a net effect of ... zero.

      The money wasn't the issue, the messenger wasn't the issue...

      The message was the issue.

      •  Barrett lost votes in rural Wisconsin (7+ / 0-)

        Barrett got blown out in rural Wisconsin-- even in counties where Democrats often do well.  He ran several percentage points behind his 2010 showing throughout rural Wisconsin.  That's where we lost the election-- and that is where we lost the messaging battle.  I do agree, though, that we lost the messaging battle in rural Wisconsin well before the election.

        •  Dems don't do well in rural counties...period. (0+ / 0-)

          Now, I'm from the left coast and admit I don't know much about the demographics in Wisconsin.   Have Democrats had much success in the past in rural counties in Wisconsin?

          But in my frame of mind...I still remember the vastness of red throughout the country when looking at the 2000 and 2004 presidential election results mapped out.   Blue were in urban pockets and along the coasts.  It was red from sea to shining sea...

          I can't imagine a progressive message being well-received in a rural county.

          •  Northern and Western WI are ancestrally Dem (0+ / 0-)

            There are a lot of rural progressives in the northern and western parts of Wisconsin. Ron Kind is a Democrat who represents WI-3 in Congress; his district includes Eau Claire and LaCrosse.

            "We don't have government anymore, we have an auction." -Lori Compas

            by DownstateDemocrat on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 06:21:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  They do in Wisconsin-- or they lose (0+ / 0-)

            Take a look at a county level map of either the 2000 or 2004 presidential elections in Wisconsin.  The Democrats narrowly carried Wisconsin in both years.  You'll notice that a whole bunch of rural counties in western Wisconsin, largely along the Mississippi River, went Democratic in both years.  If the Democrats can't carry the swing rural counties in western Wisconsin, they can't carry the state.

      •  R'd But (1+ / 0-)
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        Voter turnout was "record high".

        Correct, but you're forgetting our pathetic voter turnout overall-- around fifty percent for POTUS elections, and what? 25% for midterms-- 2010 midterms by the way saw nine democratic governor seats flipped to repuglican; including WI, MI, and OH.

        Russia has higher voter turnout.

        We needed 65-68% turnout for a Barrett win. Nearly everyone here is in total denial regarding the millions of marginalized people who don't show up on election day, and how this harms dems more than repugs.

        The democratic party's move to right under Clinton has been a gigantic fail. This essentially worked once: for Clinton in 1996. You can't out-conservative the
        conservatives. Forget it.

        This failed in 2000, and it's been failing since.

        The people who voted for Walker last time...voted for him this time.   None of the people who voted for Walker last time, voted for Barrett this time.

        There was a TON of money...but in the end...they were preaching to the choir.   All of the canvassing, all of the $millions of dollars in ad...had a net effect of ... zero.

        Beengo! The notion the dem candidate just has to stay in the box, spend millions on pointless, negative advertising-- is nonsense.  it's the old way of thinking, and means continued fail for the dems.

        "The private economy is doing fine". President Obama 6.8.2012

        by Superpole on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 08:56:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  70%+ turnout... (0+ / 0-)

          Guess what?


          2nd highest turnout in the COUNTRY even though it wasn't even a presidential election.

          I tell you again (not to be obnoxious)...turnout was not the issue.

          Even messaging wasn't the issue to an extent...

          When Walker made his stand, Democrat state senators fleed the state...everyone and their mother in Wisconsin got the message.   Public unions came out en masse, Walker had the podium...both sides got their message out.

          The high turnout this past election was evidence that the message on both sides got out.   That is unusual.  Usually, one side gets their message out and it squashes the turnout for the other party.   This time...both sides got their message out... and the public clearly believed not only in Walker's message ...but perhaps, the results of Walker's actions.   Now maybe the current economic climate in Wisconsin had nothing to do with Walker's actions...but budgets are more in balance, and employment in the state has risen.

          I think people are looking for a political leader who can bring about these results - reign in the budget crisis, decrease unemployment, get the state/country back on the "right" track.

          If Walker and Wisconsin continue to see improvement in the months bodes poorly for Obama and public employee unions because that rumbling you're hearing could be a tsunami of anti union sentiment as evidenced to date by Walker holding on to his governorship, San Jose (CA) and San Diego (CA) rolling back pension benefits for current AND past employees.

      •  Money wasn't the issue, but people made up their (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        minds based on Walker's ads from January thru May, or maybe already had their minds made up. But it is true that Walker began attacking Barrett (in ads) before Barrett was even running.

      •  Walker's message was pounded into (1+ / 0-)
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        The public consciousness over and over again before most Wisconsinites knew diddly-squat about Barrett.

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