Last night in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker survived the recall election. In exchange, Democrats gained control of the State Senate providing some symbolic balance in the legislature. But this wasn’t the victory progressives hoped for.
Turnout and peer-to-peer mobilization were through the roof but what remains indefensible in the Citizens United States is the power of money. Walker’s 7 point margin of victory indicates that Wisconsin is ultimately a red state.
Progressives and left-leaning trade unionists — who must be differentiated considering 36% of union households voted for Walker last night according to exit polling — will have to hold out for the “John Doe” Investigation to potentially unseat Walker. It is ongoing with enhanced “Walker is guilty” chatter and sentiment in certain circles.
Election night provided an unexpected video highlight/lowlight. A woman slapped Tom Barrett in the face when he conceded the election before all the votes had been counted:
Not exactly an Evander Holyfield caliber blow, but wacky nonethless.
Early analysis of the Democrats’ Senate seat victory suggests it might not have much of an impact, adding insult to injury:
But vote counting stretched on through the night on a fourth seat, in Racine, and by Wednesday morning, an unofficial count showed the Democratic candidate, John Lehman, ahead by fewer than 800 votes of Senator Van Wanggaard, the Republican incumbent.
Democrats declared Mr. Lehman the winner, saying that gives them a 17-to-16 majority in the Senate, which would make it the only chamber in Madison that Democrats control. But a recount also seemed conceivable, and Mr. Wanggaard had not conceded by morning. (Under state law, a losing candidate may request a recount, though who pays for it depends on the size of the margin between the candidates.)
If Democrats ultimately succeed in winning control of the chamber, even some among them have acknowledged that the victory may be more symbolic than anything. The Legislature is not scheduled to meet before November, when regular elections are scheduled for about half of the Senate seats, using new state district boundaries favored by Republicans.