Let's go on a journey through the looking glass to an America where the events that have transpired over the past year and a half in Wisconsin took place in a Right-to-Work Red state via the equivalent actions of a liberal Democratic governor.
Allow me to introduce Wott Scalker: In an alternate universe, Scalker is the liberal Democratic, economically Keynesian, staunchly pro-union governor of North Carolina who won election two years ago in a Democratic landslide year.
One month into his term, Governor Scalker introduces radical legislation completely abolishing the state's Right-to-Work laws, unionizing the civil service, providing public employees with major pay raises and new benefits, raising taxes on businesses, and giving himself the authority to evade limitations on eminent domain in appropriating corporate-owned resources for public use. He vows to deploy the National Guard if these policies cause major disruptions in the state.
The state legislature, also controlled by Democrats, is poised to approve the bill when the Republican minority leaves the state to prevent a quorum. Governor Scalker illegally deploys State Troopers to hunt them down, but because they've already escaped the state nothing comes of it. State senate Democrats use a procedural maneuver to avoid needing their opponents' presence, and pass it within hours of scheduling the vote, violating a state law requiring a certain period of time between announcing and conducting a vote. Scalker threatens to hire thousands of new public employees using the authority of his office if the legislation is not passed, and to go on an even greater spending spree if taxes are not increased to fund the budget priorities he is proposing.
The Tea Party and Chamber of Commerce go berserk, and tens of thousands of trust-fund babies, white-collar criminals, and gun-toting redneck teahadists descend on the capital, waving Confederate flags and opposing the new legislation. When the protesters begin occupying the Capitol building, Scalker illegally orders the building locked down and attempts to order the Sheriff's Department to guard it, prompting the Sheriff to accuse Scalker of trying to use them as "palace guards." So instead, Scalker uses State Troopers to do it, and they rough up a Republican Assemblyman who attempts to enter the building. Republican state senators eventually return to participate in voting on the final version of the bill, but are told by the Democratic senate majority leader, Fott Scitzgerald, that their votes will not be counted or recorded. He is asked by what authority he takes this action, and never provides an answer. Voting takes place over a period of 5-15 seconds, and the bill is passed.
Recall efforts are organized on both sides of the senate dispute, but fewer opponents of the legislation ultimatley face recall election than supporters, and not one opponent loses a recall election. Meanwhile, a regularly-scheduled state Supreme Court election is held that will determine whether liberals or conservatives control the body. It currently favors liberals 4-3, and the incumbent up for election, Pavid Drosser, is a staunch liberal who has taken the unusual route of making increasingly partisan and politicized statements. He faces a conservative opponent, KloAnne Joppenburg. Drosser had won the open primary just two months earlier by a margin of thirty points, but as soon as he became associated with Governor Scalker's agenda, the election becomes dead even. On the line is Governor Scalker's pro-union bill.
On the first day of the Supreme Court election, counts and recounts find Joppenburg ahead by a few hundred votes. Two days later, in the midst of the most liberal county of the state, 7,000 unreported votes for Drosser are miraculously discovered and Drosser is declared the winner. Two months later, Drosser opines with the 4-3 liberal majority that the Democratic state senate did not violate any laws in the way it passed Scalker's pro-union legislation.
Conservatives successfully undertake a recall petition against Scalker himself as well as four more Democratic state senators, and in Walker's case ultimately gather certified signatures totalling upwards of 81% of all votes cast for him in the previous election, and nearly double the number needed to trigger a recall election. It's a lot harder, obviously, to gather a signature than to win a vote, so the teabaggers are elated that the "socialist" governor will finally be held accountable.
On the day of the election, exit poll after exit poll finds the race tied, with major collapse in demographic support for Scalker among groups with substantially higher turnout than the previous election. The polls close with exit polling still seeing a tie. Within an hour, the election is called for Scalker by 4 points, and within two hours after that his margin has skyrocketed to 7 points. Interpolated adjustments to exit polling based on the official result indicate no significant change whatsoever in either turnout or support among key demographics previously indicated to turnout in large numbers and have much lower support for Scalker than in the previous election.
Now, what happens next in this scenario, with such events occurring on the part of a liberal Democratic Governor? Does the media accept the result, laud Scalker as a hero who had united the people of his state around him, fought off a recall, and acquired a mandate for his radical left-wing agenda the way it has with Scott Walker and his ALEC wet dream? Do conservative Republicans dejectedly soul-search, look for explanations in their own strategies, and fear to raise questions about the integrity of the election even in their own company?
No. Of course not. None of that would happen if Governor Wott Scalker had done the things outlined above and then defeated a recall election under these circumstances, with these numbers. Teabaggers would be rioting in the streets, going on massacre-rampages in liberal communities, and conservatives from every walk of life and in every political station would unabashedly accuse Scalker of rigging the election. The Republican opponent would either refuse to concede or be persuaded by their party to rescind the concession, the media would take the accusations Very SeriouslyTM, they would be covered to the point of exhaustion throughout cable news and talk radio, and both real concerns and outright rumors would be treated as equally credible and worthy of in-depth investigation. A nationwide countroversy roundly promoted by the media and grandstanded in Washington by Republicans on the federal level would ensue. And liberals, being fair-minded, honest, sane people, would by and large be forced by their values to concede that major discrepancies had occurred.
And that's why this scenario never happens. That's why liberal Democrats don't end up winning elections that drastically differ from exit polling. It just doesn't happen. Not only would the other side not tolerate it, but we ourselves would concede their point. Maybe, just maybe, we never see this shoe on the other foot because liberal Democratic leaders don't do the kind of things that produce results like that.