Scott Walker kept his job in the Wisconsin recall fight yesterday. He won with about 53 percent of the vote. This will hurt both the Democratic Party and the union movement, in Wisconsin and nationwide.
Wisconsin recall results
Scott Walker is the third governor in history to face a recall, and the first governor in history to survive one. The final tally, according to Fox News: 53 percent to 46 percent, with almost all precincts reporting.
Ironies in the Wisconsin recall story abound. Wisconsin invented recall elections, as part of the Progressive movement. Wisconsin also invented public-employee unions and strikes. Scott Walker has taken away the right to strike from most of his State’s public-employee unions.
The Wisconsin recall results go beyond numbers and proportion of votes. Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, boasted about the results, according to Alicia Cohn of The Hill. “Absolute disaster,” he said. And:
The Democrats lost an election of their own making.
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, his Democratic counterpart, defied the Wisconsin recall results last night.
[Scott Walker]‘s brand of divisive politics is offensive and wrong. Thousands of Wisconsinites mounted [the Wisconsin recall] effort in the face of a flood of out of state, secret and corporate special interest money.
Stone barn in Chase, Wisconsin. Photo: User KKNiteOwl (Wikipedia); public domain release
Wasserman-Schultz can’t seem to blush. The recall had help from an equal flood of out-of-State, secret and union special-interest money. And more than money: warm bodies. Those bodies flocked to Wisconsin to do more than knock on doors to “get out the vote.” One witness called a radio talk show to say that some of them were driving in to cast the vote as well:
We’re going to Wisconsin. We’re from Michigan. Right outside Detroit and… they got four buses up here, Chris. I dont know if they got other buses coming from other directions but it’s four buses and we’re going to Wisconsin to vote.
Chris Plante, the host, later said that the caller hung up and left no call-back number. But if the caller was telling the truth, perhaps he couldn’t call back, or leave a number.
At 4:00 p.m. yesterday, the city clerk of Madison, WI, told the Center for American Progress that turnout might reach “119 percent.” (The CAP seemed to think that was a legitimate result when people register to vote on the same day.) Politico.com called the clerk back, and the clerk revised that down to 96 percent.
Wisconsin recall, the day after, and the future
The shockwave from the Wisconsin recall results is still reverberating. Mike Flynn at Breitbart.com said at once why Scott Walker kept his job: his policies worked. They worked for Wisconsin, so that several cities and counties balanced their budgets without laying anyone off. They worked for the workers themselves, so that more than half of them quit their unions. And they worked for Scott Walker, because grateful taxpayers, and those same workers who quit their unions, voted for him.
John Gizzi at Human Eventssays that other States will follow Wisconsin’s lead. These States have a common and dire problem: they over-promised on public-employee pensions, and those bills are now due, or overdue. Because Scott Walker kept his job, other governors will gladly risk theirs to make the pension system affordable again.