Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Deja Vu In Wisconsin

I feel like I've already written this entry before...

My autopsy of the failed attempt to recall Scott Walker in Wisconsin is very similar to my autopsy of the legislative recalls in Wisconsin last year. 

1.  As was the case last year, Big Labor allowed the Democratic Party to run the show.  This is somewhat understandable because unlike Senate Bill 5 in Ohio, this was an election with candidates, not an issue election.  But with so much at stake for labor in Wisconsin - AFSCME has just lost the right to represent workers in the state in which it was founded - one would think that labor would have taken the reins from the DNC.

2.  Labor and the Democrats relied on the same outdated ground game that fell short last year.  I wrote about this at length in the entry linked above. 

3.  President Obama's lack of involvement will undoubtedly be scrutinized, and for good reason.  Labor is still waiting for Candidate Obama who promised to walk the picket line with us to make good on his promise.  This is one of the main reasons The Virtual Picket Line has endorsed Stewart Alexander for President in 2012.

While Big Labor will attempt to deflect criticisms such as the ones I mentioned earlier by pointing the finger to the Citizens United decision rendered by the Supreme Court, I reject this argument as a cheap cop-out.  While Citizens United makes a mockery of our democracy, it is hardly the reason Labor and the Democrats fell short yesterday. 

Yes, Barrett was outspent by a 7-to-1 margin by Walker.  In any other case, I would probably agree that the disparate spending levels heavily influenced the outcome.  I don't believe that to be the case in this election.  When I was on the ground in Wisconsin for last year's round of recalls, it became very clear to me that the the level of undecided voters was virtually zero.  People had not only made up their minds about the candidates up for recall at the time, but on Scott Walker as well. 

Now if Scott Walker had been up for recall last summer, he likely would have lost by a wide margin.  But as we know in politics, timing is everything.  Huffington Post had a very good post explaining that exit polls showed that the Walker campaign simply did a better job turning out its vote than Labor and the Democrats did.  This goes back to explanation of the outdated ground game of Labor and the Democrats on Number 2.

If Labor does not learn from this lesson, things could start to get really rough in other states, especially states that are not as moderate as Wisconsin.

In Solidarity,


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