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Due to a wave of online support—much of it from you guys—the Democratic Party committees in Wisconsin are starting the recall elections with a large cash advantage on their Republican counterparts. Here are the fundraising totals in the most recent reports, which show activity through March 21st:


Some quick notes on these numbers:

—Almost all of the Democratic money came from small donors on Act Blue. Check out the Act Blue stats for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin here, and the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic committee here.

—The Democratic Party of Wisconsin spent a large amount of money because they are the central organizing hub for the recall petition gathering effort.

—The amount of money the Democratic committees have on hand exceeds the total amount of money all of the incumbent Senators facing recall have on hand:

* Hopper has $9,844 in debts
* Amount raised from January 1 through April 22
* These numbers reflect activity from March 22 through April 18, and thus are more recent than the numbers for the state committees listed above. Also, numbers for Republican Robert Cowles are not currently available.

Overall, the Democratic advantage is solid but far from decisive. This is because outside expenditures are likely to dominate spending during recall elections, just as they did in the Supreme Court election. In that election, JoAnne Kloppenburg and David Prosser received a combined total of $600,000 in public financing for the general election, while six times that amount was spent by outside groups. The ratio of candidate money to outside money could be similar during the recall elections.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Still caught in the electoral trap? (6+ / 0-)

    It might be time to try a broader approach that included direct action.  After all, nobody would even have been aware of Wisconsin if people had not occupied the Capitol building and teachers and students had not struck.

    LibCom had a worthwhile article evaluating what has happened in Wisconsin.  It's worth a read if you've come to the conclusion that this "more and better" myopia isn't getting us very far.


    We all know that the budget repair bill is only the beginning of a calculated attack on the middle and lower class. In preparation, we would do well to revisit the movements and campaigns from both the recent and distant past that mixed lobbying, protest, and media work with strikes, occupations, and civil disobedience. These include struggles like the 2008 Republic Windows and Doors factory and the 2010 Whittier Elementary School field house occupations in Chicago, and the Ojibwe fishing rights movement and the campaign that killed the proposed Crandon Mine, both from Wisconsin in the 1990s. Any number of past struggles, such as the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968, or the San Francisco General Strike in 1934, or the Flint Sit-Down Strike in 1936-37, still inspire and instruct. As we move forward we need to examine why overly cautious labor leaders and unimaginative Democrats took the reins of a movement that held such promise, and how we let them. In closing, we urge our fellow citizens and activists in the grassroots to reserve our power separately from the “leadership” and prepare for the next uprising, the one that will erupt in a day, a week, a month, or years down the road—the one in which we do not let the opportunity slip away.
    •  Sigh, here we go with the strike-talk again. (6+ / 0-)

      I'll re-post here the comment I left on the original article:

      In order for a general strike to succeed, the strike has to have specific demands, a reasonable chance of forcing those demands to be met, and a way to know that you've won so you can victoriously call an end to the strike.

      And that's the big gaping hole in all the general-strike-talk that I've heard, either in February or since: What exactly would you want a general strike in Madison -- or Wisconsin as a whole -- to achieve, and how will you know when you've gotten it?

      In addition, in the absence of a clear and achievable objective, a general strike would have played right into Walker's hands.  As it is, the protesters are still the good guys.  And we're going to win at the ballot box -- whereas if there had been a general strike with insufficient clarity and support (and we had neither in abundance), our electoral chances would have gone down the toilet.


      If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

      by AnnieJo on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:01:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why don't you check out the article? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        An Affirming Flame

        There are cogent answers to your questions in it.

        And while I'm at it, maybe it's time to repeat Howard Zinn's 2008 prescient point about how "two minutes in a voting booth" isn't going to accomplish real change.  It never has in this society.

        None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties and the Sixties. We should not expect that a victory at the ballot box in November will even begin to budge the nation from its twin fundamental illnesses: capitalist greed and militarism.

        So we need to free ourselves from the election madness engulfing the entire society, including the left.

        Yes, two minutes. Before that, and after that, we should be taking direct action against the obstacles to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness....

        Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities, until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war.
        Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.

        •  Voting without activism is about as useless (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pHunbalanced, Odysseus

          as activism without voting. Zinn is right (as usual) but IMO the take away message is wrong. Unless you think Republicans will magically start voting for issues you care about.

          As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

          by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:17:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When will Democrats start magically voting... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TofG, An Affirming Flame

            for issues of importance to workers?

            They aren't doing it in Massachusetts, are they?

            •  Yeah, both side are equal -- NOT (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aquarius40, TofG

              Sorry, you want to spout that nonsense you can start your own blog. Democrats aren't perfect but Republicans are the perfect enemy.

              As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

              by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:33:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Can you explain the differences... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                An Affirming Flame

                between what the MA House of Delegate Dems passed and what the Wisconsin Republicans enacted?

                I'd be especially interested in the differences in how the workers are affected by the two bills.

                •  And? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  In case you hadn't noticed (and apparently you haven't) the Wisconsin Democrats did something about it. You keep looking for the worst in the Democrats and, unfortunately, you can find it. Now flip that around, try to find some good in the Republicans.

                  As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

                  by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:48:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are entirely caught in the box. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    An Affirming Flame, pHunbalanced

                    You act as if there were only two options in the history of the world: Rs and Ds.

                    Read around a little.  Expand your horizons a little.  (Re)read A People's History and get some perspective on this.  You're approaching politics like you're at the supermarket trying to decide between Coke and Pepsi while operating under the delusion that drinking one brand or the other is necessary to maintain life.  You're ceding all your power to the people who buy, sell and package the politicians from both parties.

                    From what I've read, the Democrats in the Wisconsin House and Senate were all ready to enact draconian cuts on those Wisconsin public workers when they realized they were going to lose control of both houses.  So they tabled everything so the Rs would get the blame.  Of course, they weren't going to eliminate collective bargaining formally nor dues checkoff.  That would have been shooting themselves in the fund raising foot.  But otherwise, they were as ready to screw these workers as the Rs.

                    As long as you remain caught in that little R/D box, you'll never find a solution because there isn't one in that dark place.

                    •  You're lecturing me on politics? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Wow, that's rich. Of course you're also in the Kucinich diary applauding him. It's more AND better. Not more OR better. I'm not choosing Coke or Pepsi, hell, I'm trying to CHANGE what the one I'm forced to buy is made of.

                      As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

                      by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 09:07:24 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Recycling the old "but the Rs are terrible" (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        An Affirming Flame

                        canard is sure a poor way of accomplishing that.

                        •  And regurgitating "The Dems are the same" (0+ / 0-)

                          helps? I applaud your activism. But the system is rigged. The founding fathers didn't really have a good model for voting and the resulting "winner take all" system has turned into a quagmire. You want to work to change that, fine. That's a great goal. But it's not one that's likely to happen in my lifetime (or even my children's). Call it fatalist if you want, but I'm working with the system we have to make things better.

                          As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

                          by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 09:16:30 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  No. No, the article does not answer my question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What would have been the SPECIFIC DEMAND of a general strike, at any one of the time-points mentioned?

          Big lofty goals like the ones stated at the end of the article (like, "A visionary safety net founded on a universal basic income for all, rich and poor alike, young and old, employed and unemployed") are great movement-fodder -- of course, I'd love to see that come about! --  but make for lousy strike demands.

          If nobody can tell folks what EXACTLY what they're to risk livelihood and family for, and convince them that the specific demand worth the risk, and show them that there's some realistic hope of having that specific demand met as a result of a strike... there's no way in the world you're going to get enough people to take such drastic personal risks.

          If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

          by AnnieJo on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:51:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The article does address that. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            An Affirming Flame, pHunbalanced

            The author advocated for a protest strike of a day or two, not a prolonged strike to be held until specific demands were met.  The strike would have been held in immediate response to the Walker/Fitzgerald runaround of Senate procedure and the public meetings notice law.

            The point of the strike would have been to hit the ball back into Walker's court and challenge him to follow through with his pledge to fire striking workers.  The author's approach, in line with direct action generally, would be to force the other side to escalate to a point where their illegitimacy was completely exposed, and they were forced to make concessions.

            In other words, on March 9, rather than back down Walker raised the ante yet again, and to a level for which there could only have been one kind of escalation in response: a strike across sectors and occupations. Talk of a general strike, both fanciful and serious, existed during the first three weeks of the struggle. It was visible in flyers and signs, the conversations happening around the square, and most particularly from the IWW and the South Central Federation of Labor (a Wisconsin federation of nearly one hundred labor organizations representing 45,000 workers.) By February 21, the beginning of the second week, the SCFL had endorsed a one-day general strike but did not have the authority to call one. From the point of view of the raging non-unionized grassroots, and much of the rank and file, a one-day strike should have been called on the day that Walker signed the anti-union bill at the very least. The hot potato then would have been thrown back in Walker’s hands, confronting him with the queasiness of having to carry out his stated threats to fire public workers. But it did not happen. The union leadership responded with words, not actions, thereby severing the chain of escalations, and accepted a defeat. By this time the movement had for all practical purposes become identified, including from within, as union-led, leaving the non-union grassroots with nowhere to channel their outrage, energy, and willingness to share risk. A precious historic opportunity was lost.
            •  Ah, that's why I didn't see a demand. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              There wasn't one.  People would have been expected to risk termination for the purposes of an escalation whose next step wouldn't have been clear.

              That's not the way Wisconsin tends to roll -- but you're not from around here, are you?

              If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. - Bishop Desmond Tutu

              by AnnieJo on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 09:30:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Workers have never gained anything... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                An Affirming Flame, pHunbalanced

                without risking a lot.  That's the way it works in a Capitalist system.

                The "leadership" of the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO have taken a bottom-up movement and turned it over, yet again, to the lawyers, the politicians, the fundraisers and the political consultants.  The outcome is quite predictable--and sad.  The result will be yet more cynicism and despair.  The Kloppenburg defeat was a preview.

                Workers will eventually learn that their "leaders" have a vested interest in the status quo and will always try to "lead" them in ways that serve those vested interests, interests that are at odds with the workers' wants and needs.  If you want to see why bureaucratic unions are in such decline in this country, their behavior in Wisconsin is a good example of why.  They've forgotten how workers' gains were won by picket lines and plant occupations, not serving as free labor for politicians.

                The good news is that there are organizations that really believe in bottom up and are rightfully skeptical about electoral politics.  They are the wave of the future as confidence in established institutions continues to crater.

  •  I'd love to hear the thoughts inside one (9+ / 0-)

    of the Koch Bros heads. "What?! Wisconsin?! Didn't we just buy that place last November? Why won't those people do what we tell them?!"

    As soon as you have people telling other people how to live/think/behave because "god gave them authority" you effectively get dictators in funny looking hats.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:44:15 AM PDT

  •  What's the Republican advantage after (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tari, blue aardvark, planmeister, Matt Z

    you figure in the Koch brothers?

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:46:36 AM PDT

  •  Koch brothers will change this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, AnnieJo, arpear

    reminds me that I need to donate more. Lets do this!

  •  No link to donate? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    feebog, Notreadytobenice

    I'm a little surprised--seems like hyperlinking "Act Blue" would be easy enough.

  •  I will take a wild guess (8+ / 0-)

    Based on the GOP relying on paid petition collectors while the Democrats used volunteers to collect far more total signatures - the volunteer gap will be at least a 5-1 ratio in favor of the Democrats. And those volunteers don't show up in your table, but they are worth their weight in Wisconsin Cheddar.

    Prediction: we'll flip 4, they'll flip 1, and the aardvark happy dance will scar the eyes of all who behold it.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 07:59:18 AM PDT

  •  There is a story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (6+ / 0-)

    that reports Alberta Darling has raised substantially more than the numbers you reported:

    State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) has raised some $422,000 so far this year, according to a campaign spending report that shows she's well-armed for the recall challenge being prepared against her.

    Her campaign report, filed with the state Government Accountability Board, also lists $206,000 in campaign spending so far -- much of it for design and mailing of campaign literature, and radio ads.

    This article appeared yesterday. I have already received several flyers and several robocalls--Darling is already in full-fledged campaign mode.

    I can't wait until a Democrat announces for this recall race--I am going to contribute as much as I can. It's not just her policies that annoy me--it is also her arrogance and complete lack of communication with her constituents.  Her office no longer answers emails or responds to letters. If you don't have money Alberta doesn't want to hear from you.

  •  Loud, direct action and person to person (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    contact is the only thing that can overcome the flood of outside money we know is coming in the recall elections.  

    The only way to beat the outside money is to discredit it.  If people recognize the ads for the con game they are, all the money in the world will not be able to buy an election.  Wisconsin is on the front lines for how to get that done.

    "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

    by ahumbleopinion on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:14:37 AM PDT

  •  These numbers seem to say to me that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    there are a lot of dem supporters out there. How will the repubs counter their funding deficit? Probably rely on a few deep pocket donors. They will then hire marketing firms to do their best to muddy the issue waters.

    Am I wrong on this that the sleeping tiger in most any election has always been sleeping democrats?

  •  Wait a minute - didn't Walker go to (0+ / 0-)

    DC a few weeks ago if only in part to raise money for his people?  You mean, not much interest there?

  •  GOPers are flushed... (0+ / 0-)

    do you think Koch would let his pinions go down without a fight?

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

    by tuma on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 08:42:02 AM PDT

  •  What is going to happen if the Dems win? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't see how they can undo this bill with a small majority in the senate..

    •  We flip three now (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pHunbalanced, Matt Z, arpear, scribeboy

      And stop Walker's agenda dead in its tracks. Then we flip senate and assembly seats in Democratic districts back home, then we change the law. Won't matter for Walker, he's toast by Christmas when we recall him too.

      This is an ambitious two year project Wisconsin Democrats are dedicated to now, and we're not going to stop.

      I just voted for the next President of the United States, Barack Obama

      by harrylimelives on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we win, we can stop... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Restricting voting rights
      Redistricting Democrats out of existence
      Emergency Fiscal Management (how's that working in MI?)
      Decimating private-sector unions ("right-to-work")
      Dismantling the University of Wisconsin
      Destroying the public schools

      and a whole list of other draconian crap that Walker's got ginned up.  

      The restrictions on public-sector unions are only the start.  An insignificant little drop in the bucket compared with the rest of the agenda.


      by stcroix cheesehead on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 10:38:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am SO glad to hear this news - This is a chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for Wisconsin to get new voters registered and their Democratic voters to have their voice heard across this country.  I'm inspired to make another contribution because of this.  I want them to win BIG!!!!

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~Albert Einstein

    by ParkRanger on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 12:41:52 PM PDT

  •  corporate money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't think our advantage here is anything once you throw in the outside expenditures. You know millions are going to come in from outside sources (corporations and righty groups with deep pockets) they are likely to outspend us by gigantic margins. Honestly I don't know how to overcome their money. I don't know how to compete against that.

    Mighty Proud Of My Liberal Heritage

    by mighty on Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 03:05:50 PM PDT

    •  Beat me to, it sadly (0+ / 0-)

      After Citizens United (and it was plenty bad before that decision) the candidate organizations, party treasuries, and "Insert-Party-Here Campaign Committees" are no longer where the money is.  The money that's in there is peanuts compared to the essentially infinite amounts corporations can pour into "issue ads" and the like.  Others have made the same points upthread.  I don't know what to do either.  Certainly word of mouth, canvassing, talking to neighbors helps a lot.  But those billion$$ can offset a whole lot of doors knocked on :(

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