Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

Enough With The Polling! Get On The Bus!

The recall of six Republican State Senators in Wisconsin takes place tomorrow. The country will be fixated on the outcome, with the TV and Internet (ever heard of it?) providing raucous and divergent interpretations of what it means for the future of the state and the nation.

The recall efforts, which grew out of the discontent of protesters — tens of thousands of whom lined the streets of Madison during the cold of winter — may come to fruition on Tuesday as polls show Democrats could take control of the State Senate which currently leans Republican by a 19-14 majority. What’s at stake is more than just the individual seats of the politicians. Many view tomorrow’s battles as a referendum on the entire Tea party driven agenda which has shown to benefit no one but those who funded it in the first place. Governor Scott Walker’s approval rate is at 35 percent in the state and if the recall elections show a sweeping change in political ideology in Wisconsin, he may find himself on the losing side of his own recall next year.


According to DailyKos, several of the races are too close to call. In SD18, Democrat Jessica King is in a dead heat with incumbent Randy Hopper, as is the case in SD14 where Democrat Fred Clark and incumbent Luther Olsen find themselves even. Republican incumbent Sheila Harsdorf has a lead in SD10, but nearly five percent of those polled are still undecided and challenger Shelly Moore has been gaining ground. Democratic challenger Jennifer Shilling has more than a 10 point lead over incumbent Dan Kapanke in SD32.

Democrats need to win 3 of 6 seats to regain control of the State Senate and halt the current agenda being pushed through Madison.

Many media personalities, including Ed Schultz, see the SD14 race as the one that could swing favor to the Democrats. Olsen has gone unopposed by Democratic challengers for the past 16 years, but that has now changed. Many voters still like Olsen but are willing to vote against him because they support the idea, generally, of change in Wisconsin.

Steve Madsen of Portage says, “If the Senate goes to the other side, that should facilitate more thoughtfulness and compromise,” said Madsen, a 58-year-old gas station manager. “I don’t have some deep-seated grudge against Luther Olsen. The big change that I’m looking for is to slow the bus down.”

One of the recall races not polled in the article is the election in SD8 where Democratic challenger Sandy Pasch looks to take out former liberal pro-choicer Alberta Darling. Darling is the leader of the Joint Finance Committee. She has used her position of power to sign off on Governor Walker’s extreme agenda. Her constituents are having great difficulty figuring out exactly what Darling stands for as she continually flip flops on issues. Womens’ health is the area in which Darling’s stated beliefs have shown the most dramatic transformation.

Perhaps no flip-flop is more personal than Darling’s votes on women’s health. In her early years as a legislator, Darling’s pro-choice stand—and her history as a board member of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin—were an asset…

…Darling has shifted so far to the right that she earned a qualified endorsement from Wisconsin Right to Life in the 2008 election.

Darling seemed to take out her wrath on her former pro-choice allies in this year’s budget. Darling personally drafted a motion that ended state support for Planned Parenthood centers. These nine centers can no longer participate in the state’s family planning program, which provides sexually transmitted disease treatment, cancer screenings and contraceptive services.

But Darling’s anti-woman votes didn’t stop there. She voted to restrict eligibility for BadgerCare’s family planning program, which was created by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson. The program not only helps low-income men and women receive quality, comprehensive health care, but it saves the state a lot of money—about $140 million in 2008 alone—and thousands of unintended pregnancies.

As Darling’s record continues to show, she is out of touch with her constituents’ needs. Pasch has been gaining volunteers by the day and hopes that they can all help voters find their way to the polls.


Interest in contributing time and energy to the recall effort is coming from within Wisconsin as well as outside the state lines.

In Minnesota, the AFL-CIO is organizing busses for those who want to volunteer to go door to door. From the MNAFL-CIO website:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011: Bus will leave the Minnesota AFL-CIO office (175 Aurora Ave., St. Paul 55103) at 1 PM, and head to Hudson, WI where volunteers will join teams for Get out the Vote door to door canvassing with the We Are Wisconsin campaign. Sign up!

You can also volunteer to help out at the SEIU phone banks. All sessions will take place at the SEIU Minnesota State Council Office, 2233 University Ave W, Suite 422, St. Paul

Remaining opportunities:

Monday, August 8, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 2:00 to 5:00 PM, & 5:00 to 8:00PM
Tuesday, August 9, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, 2:00 to 5:00 PM, & 5:00 to 8:00PM

For more information on phone banks, please contact Amy Bodnar at 651-203-0401, 763-458-0021, or [email protected]

Other events, such as this one, are being organized through social media.


Tomorrow’s recall elections represent an exciting gauge of how the average American views the current political pendulum. Perhaps Josh Eidelson said it best in his article “All is Fair in Love and Class Warfare”

Several factors have brought us to this moment in Wisconsin: recall laws, a persistently poor economy, a unified and emboldened right-wing state government, an unprecedented protest movement, and the willingness of progressive activists and Democrats to make common cause. Tomorrow, if Democrats take back the three seats necessary (along with defending two of their own incumbents against recall next week) to flip the Wisconsin Senate, it will be a victory for a movement and a party but also for a way of approaching other citizens and doing progressive politics.


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