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Progressive Movement Rises Up But Can't Oust Walker From Wisconsin Governorship

Walker outspent Barrett 8-to-1, but Democrats may have regained control of the state senate.

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Pundits and news analysts at mainstream national news organizations sought to tie the vote to the wider 2012 electoral landscape, but their analysis mostly concerned the impact on the presidential vote—not the underlying issues that provoked the recall. They noted Obama did not campaign in the state—until sending a tweet supporting Barrett on Tuesday. Mitt Romney also stayed away, not campaigning with Walker. On Tuesday night, Romney belatedly sent his congratulations to Walker.

However, it would be a mistake to underestimate the stakes that have unfolded in Wisconsin. The RNC chair comes from Wisconsin, as does Rep. Paul Ryan, the House’s leader on cutting government services. These men know how radical Gov. Walker has been, coming from a state with a longtime consensus on labor and workplace issues. They also know this battle is not going away now that the recall is settled.

If anything, these issues, as well as national debates on healthcare reform, entitlements, student loans, bank bailouts, and a host of other economic issues, are simply moving to a larger stage. And while the GOP multi-millionaires who bankrolled Scott Walker’s campaign may be willing to write more seven-figure checks, there also will be many veterans of the Wisconsin recall who will work even harder to win in November.   


Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet and is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

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