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Jimmy, I think I can answer your question about the elections in WI (Walker’s vs Baldwin’s). To begin, I’m proud to say that if you compare the two state-wide elections, Baldwin’s senate campaign received over 200,000 more votes than Walker did in the recall election. That’s a good sign for the future. However, there are several reasons why Walker won the second time.
First of all, after we had collected enough signatures to get Walker recalled, we had a Democratic primary. During this primary, the mobilized base (teachers, state workers, environmentalists, parents whose kids are in the public school system, etc.) picked Kathleen Falk as their candidate.
However, the Democratic party was too scared to run a “Madison liberal” in a state-wide election. They decided to back Tom Barret (the guy who had just lost to Walker in the last election). This act threw cold water on the fired-up base, who had fought long and hard for the recall.
When Barrett won the primary, he did a horrible job in the recall election. He never once explained why the recall was happening in the first place. In fact, he couldn’t because he had used Walker’s ‘budget tools” himself to screw over city workers in Milwaukee. WI voters, many who were not fans of Walker, ended up voting for him anyway because they saw the recall as unfair and partisan. This belief was echoed in Walker’s campaign ads, all $30 million or so’s worth.
As a guy who stood out in sub-zero temperatures to attend the protests and collect the recall election, it was an absolutely devastatingly heart-breaking end (even though we did flip a few state senate seats). I am heartened, however, by the fact that we just elected an openly-gay “Madison liberal” in the senate.
A a state, we are still screwed though because Walker and his cohorts had control when redistricting took place in 2010. Now, even though we had more Democratic votes overall in this last election, the Republican maintained control of the state senate and the assembly, giving Walker full control over the state once again. My only hope is that the Republicans will have to take responsibility for their horrible policies now that they can not blame the Dems or the recall elections. Unfortunately, I fear we will have to suffer through a few difficult years before we will have any progress.
Anyway, that’s how it looks from my vantage point. You asked the question, and it’s a good one. Hopefully this gives you some insights. Thanks for the great show.
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