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8 Ways Delusional Right-Wingers Are Blowing Wisconsin Out of Proportion

The triumphalism is more a manifestation of conservatives' wishful thinking than a reflection of any objective reality.

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Did unions fail to turn out the vote? No, a third of the electorate belonged to a “union household” – the biggest share in any gubernatorial or presidential race since 2004.

But much has been made about the fact that Walker won 38 percent among that group. It's a sad reality, but a little too much is being made of it, when you dig into the numbers. As the Washington Post noted, union members voted overwhelmingly for Barrett – by a 71-29 margin. But members of “union households” who don't belong to a union only supported Barret by a 51-48 margin – not enough to make a difference.

That means that people who have a family member who belongs to a union didn't feel their loved ones were under attack. Which brings us to...

4. How Could it Be a Referendum on Union Rights When Nobody Ran on Union Rights?

A slim majority of voters approved of Walker stripping the rights of public sector unions. But a final nail in the coffin for the narrative that Walker won on that issue is the simple fact that Barrett chose not to campaign on it. In fact, Barrett touted the fact that he wasn't labor's first choice (unions had backed Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, whom Barrett defeated in a primary) and bragged on the campaign trail about how he had been a tough negotiator with public employee unions as mayor of Milwaukee. He presented himself as the centrist who can “make tough choices” – basically parroting the case that Walker made in 2010.

That may have been a huge tactical error – hindsight is 50/50 – but it is the case, and suggesting that this election was all about Walker's union-busting is simply divorced from the reality of the campaign.

5. This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like

It's not accurate to say that money made all the difference in this race. The two candidates, facing off for the second time in two years, were both well-known by the electorate and the overwhelming majority of voters had made up their minds before the battle commenced.

But it's also a mistake to dismiss the Walker camp's ability to outspend their opponents by a 10 to 1 margin. According to the National Journal, the result was that “Walker and his Republican allies have outspent Democrat Tom Barrett and supportive groups more than 3-1 on TV ad buys during the three months leading up to the June 5 recall election.” This is likely the new normal in the age of Citizens United .

6. Very Little Changed From 2010, Except the Number of Voters

Pundits have to blather about what a big contest means, but the reality is that there wasn't much difference between this contest and the last one between the two men in 2010.

Barrett's financial disadvantage made it harder for him to get his arguments out, and again, he chose not to run on the very issue that led to the recall in the first place. As a result, the election was a mirror image of 2010, only with more voters going to the polls. Both Walker and Barrett won virtually the same share of the demographics they each held in 2010.

7. A Wisconsin Race That Tells Us Virtually Nothing About November

Immediately after the vote, CNN's John King wondered whether Wisconsin, a pretty solidly “blue” state, should be moved from the “lean Obama” category to “up for grabs.” Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said Walker's win “helps to put Wisconsin in play.”

 
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