When I lived in Slidell, LA (suburb of New Orleans) I can still recall the time when Todd and I were horsing around in the spare bedroom in a mixture of wrestling and bed jumping I believe. Anyway, nature called and, as 4 to 6 year old boys tend to reckon, going to the bathroom to relieve ourselves was just too far. So, we decided to pee out the window. Another thing about young boys, their aim aint so good. Before two shakes of lambs tail there was more urine on the wall than out the window. A wall with an outlet. Sparks ensued as both Todd and I lept away (proving false the myth that a stream of urine can conduct electricity).
Why do I mention this urination debacle? The lesson learned. All experiences lead to gains in wisdom. In this case, don’t pee out a window. With that in mind I think we should look at the 12+ month journey in WI attempting to recall our governor. What did we learn?
- Echo Chambers (BAD). You can’t change your thinking if everyone you ‘listen’ to thinks like you. Before the election the Democrats felt attacking Walker was enough to swing votes. Personally I felt the negative campaign would not address the core issue the swing voters seemed to be worrying about (the economy). Perhaps if the DEMS had listened to some of the GOP platform and embraced parts (reducing government, admitting pensions need fixing, etc.) the vote might have been different. As it was the DEMS came off as protecting existing programs that the majority, it seems, feel is bloated.
- Independents Are The Key (INTERESTING). Never has a vote been so polarized. What was interesting however was that even with all the clouds hanging over Walker (and there are some) more people voted for him than his original run for office. Why? It seems since then more independent voters have decided warts and all they will take a person hell bent to shrink government over one protecting programs. Lets not kid ourselves those that typically vote DEM or GOP didn’t change their mind over the last 12 months. It was the independents that flipped.
- GOP Win = Double Loss for DEMS (?). I suspect that Walker will now get re-elected as the base has been galvanized. The recall process may have played into the GOP’s hands. Took their core issue (size of government) and put it up against the DEM flagpole (Social Programs, Rights) and won. What is going to disrupt a repeat in 12 months? Not much I expect.
Another interesting factoid, while 400,000 more voted in the recall (2.5M vs 2.1M) than back in 2010, Walker widened his gap over Barrett in most districts. Strange. You would think that the gap would at least narrow due to various foul play angles on Walker. Drives my points on #2 and #3 above. My favorite graph showing this is the 2nd link in the Rabbit Holes section.
In summary, I think the DEMS need to start pondering why they would lose a recall against a candidate with so much baggage. There is something in their platform that independent voters feel so strongly about that they would rather stick with Walker than change horses. Till the DEMS do that … the overall trend of upsets will continue … at least in WI.