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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wisconsin Wins, Today

So as some of you might remember, Wisconsin Democrats attempted a number of recalls against Republican members of the state legislature. This was in response to Gov. Scott Walker (R-Jerkville) and his particular brand of 21st Century union-busting, which it turns out, a lot of people didn't like! What a surprise! Anyway, in keeping with the Wisconsin GOP's style, they inserted a bunch of "fake" Democrats to create contested primaries against the initial Democratic choices (Chicago Tribune/AP). This was viewed by experts as "seriously not cool," in technical terms.

Today, though, was the date of those primaries. And, as many expected, all of the "real" Democratic candidates won according to the initial reports. So now, as Reuters notes, we can move to the next phase: "In total, six Republican senators who supported the anti-union measure, and three Democrats who opposed it, will be forced to defend their seats this summer after recall petitions were signed by thousands of disgruntled voters." This is, colloquially, known as the democratic process, whereby we decide who we want to represent us, based on their policy positions and performance. Which is incidentally also a process that the Wisconsin GOP seems to have some disdain for, as evidenced by state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's past comments musing as to whether the recalls proved that the recall process was flawed. That line of thinking is pretty desperate, and shows what the movers and shakers in the Wisconsin Republican Party really think of the voters that, today, handed them what could be yet another in a string of many, many more defeats.

Anyway, this all means a couple things.

One: The Wisconsin GOP is running out of dirty tricks. I mean, really? Running a bunch of Republicans as Democratic candidates, with no effort at all? It doesn't seem like a very useful move, and it's certainly not going to win them any points with much of the state. The move - and now the move's failure - underscores the desperation of the state party.

Two: This could have turned into a real embarrassment for the Wisconsin Democratic Party if even one of these challenges had been close. They weren't, which instead proves the party's organization and commitment to making these recalls work. The lay of the land now seems to indicate a for sure reversal in the Wisconsin State Senate, which in turn will shut down Gov. Walker's radical agenda for a while.

Undoing the damage done by Gov. Walker and his allies in the Wisconsin Senate may take some time, of course. And doing so is necessary in order to ensure the success of the ongoing, and vital, defense of worker's rights nationwide. Today, though, Wisconsin took another real step towards a brighter future. Which is to say, one where Scott Walker and his party no longer can dictate the terms of the debate in the state.

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