8 Ways Delusional Right-Wingers Are Blowing Wisconsin Out of Proportion
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Nobody can know whether Barack Obama would have had an impact on the race had he chosen to campaign for Barrett. He didn't. If he had, one might have some reason to suggest that this race was a harbinger of things to come in Wisconsin in November.
As it stands, 51 percent of those voters polled said they'd vote for Obama if the election were held today, compared with 44 percent who'd cast their ballot for Romney. Walker won 18 percent of likely Obama voters.
8. Don't Forget 2011
None of this is to suggest that Tuesday wasn't a painful defeat for the forces of progress in Wisconsin. It was. But much of the coverage has focused on Tuesday's races in isolation, and that's a mistake.
The picture looks a lot rosier when one considers the entire 16 months Scott Walker has been in office. Since Walker's draconian union-busting measure passed, Democrats have collected the scalps of four sitting state senators, flipping the upper chamber to their control.
Three Democrats defended themselves against Republican recall efforts in 2011, while defeating two of their opponents. Then, back in March, another Republican targeted for recall, Pam Galloway, abruptly resigned, leaving the senate evenly split between the two parties. At the time, she said she was stepping down to deal with “family issues,” but it was widely believed that she didn't have the desire to face a tough recall fight. All nine races in 2011 had been carried by Walker in 2010, but Democrats won five of them.
Then, on Tuesday, Democrat John Lehman appears to have picked up a senate seat in Racine County, swinging the chamber to Democratic control (there may be a recount, but he has a fairly solid lead of around 800 votes). Some have painted this as merely a symbolic victory, as it only means that Dems are guaranteed control of one chamber for the next five months, until the November elections. But it is unprecedented for a grassroots movement to unseat three sitting state senators in little over a year, and the movement has had an impact on the state's governance. As John Nichols told AlterNet, “The significant thing is the recalls of last summer actually prevented some really atrocious things from happening.”
The recalls sent an incredibly powerful signal that a majority in Republican-leaning districts had opted against the policies of the government. What that did when a new Senate was constituted after the recalls was that it convinced a moderate Republican to begin to side with the Democrats on some fundamental environmental issues as well as voting rights issues.
The battle with Scott Walker, a recently elected sitting governor with almost unlimited resources, was always a David vs. Goliath affair. Progressives didn't pull out a shocking victory, but they have still accomplished something pretty amazing in Wisconsin.
More importantly, the fight isn't over yet.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. He is the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy: And Everything else the Right Doesn't Want You to Know About Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America . Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter.