This is going to piss off some lefties

But last night, after weeks of bitter campaigning that emphasised the deep ideological divide in US politics, the Republican candidate Governor Scott Walker scored a solid win with a seven-point lead over his opponent.


My favourite
part of the whole thing is that what really, really, pissed off the public sector unions was that he freed the school system from having to buy the teachers\’ health insurance through the union run monopoly.

You\’ll not be surprised to find that premiums fell for the same coverage: and that school districts actually ended up with more disposable cash within the same total budgets.

This was, of course, such an outrage that a recall campaign must be launched to reverse this terrible attack on the workers\’ rights.

33 thoughts on “This is going to piss off some lefties”

  1. the deep ideological divide in US politics

    Isn’t this an almost necessary feature of having a two-party system?

    Political parties will each try to big up issues where they thing they can attract voters and seek to differentiate themselves by emphasising the those. Much as Labour are here with the “evil Tory cuts much worse than cuddly, sympathetic Labour ones.”

    In a multiple party system, however, you can have middling opinions even on matters of controversy to some, simply because a particular party doesn’t see it as an issue. UK membership of NATO for everyone other than the SNP and the Greens? Whereas if your only opponent is shouty about something, its pretty likely you are going to want to get shouty back.

  2. Not really, any more than Clinton’s acquittal at impeachment could be seen as a great victory for the left (rather than “end to an embarrassing saga where the right-wingers obviously had the upper hand”).

    Walker came within a few points’ margin of being kicked out mid-term, which is an extremely rare occurrence at the best of times, despite the Republican campaign outspending the Democrat campaign by 7:1.

    Spinning that as “great news for the Republicans” is like me throwing a party to celebrate the fact I haven’t so far been punched in the face this week.

    Tim adds: “despite the Republican campaign outspending the Democrat campaign by 7:1.”

    I’m not entirely convinced by that number. Not really.

    Yes, Walker spent more than the Dem challenger through their reported campaigns. Partly of course because Walker fought against the recall itself and the Dem challenger entered the race late.

    However, there’s another point: only some half of the total money was spent by either candidate. We don’t have a breakdown on everyone else (Citizens United means we probably never will). We just don’t know how much of that other half was spent by unions say…..nor do we have a good idea of spending in kind through said unions.

    I’ve no doubt the R outspent the D. But very, very suspicious of that 7:1 argument.

  3. Philip Scott Thomas

    Walker came within a few points’ margin of being kicked out mid-term

    Rubbish. In 2010 Walker won by 5.8 percent. Depending on which news report you read he won the recall by something approaching 9 or 10 percent.

  4. Once again john b exhibts a strange relationship with reality. Walker has increased his margin at this recall election over his original victory. “Within a few points of being kicked out”, SNORT, not just rose tinted spectacles but a huge bright red telescope type view.

    Although in some definitions of $ (the 7:1 is just a myth being pushed by the losers) Walker spent more, the value of the Union contribution will never be known but it would be some calculations be up to twice the $ spend by republicans.

    The unions went balls out over this one. Remember that the entire democrat part of the legislature went and hid out in neighboring states to avoid a vote, the unions staged numerous large, noisy, and violent demonstrations which included significant numbers of activists shipped in from other states, they mobilized everyone and anyone they could.

    And they lost by a bigger margin than before, and Walker actually increased his vote overall. In the context, it was a massive FAIL by the left in general and the public sector unions in particular.

  5. “…like me throwing a party to celebrate the fact I haven’t so far been punched in the face this week.”

    *bites tongue*

    😉

  6. Over at Protein Wisdom, a commenter recounts this tale:“… apparently while Barret was walking the exit line of his supporters after his concession speech, a women in line asked him if she could slap him for conceeding. He responded saying a hug would be better, leaned over to her, and she nailed him across the face.”

    Stop! My aching sides!

  7. These recall elections seem like a bad idea. But Tim’s claim that the union-run health insurance scheme was the biggest issue seems not to be true. Here‘s a report from a source not sympathetic to unions which says

    the real beef is with Walker’s call to limit collective bargaining rights for state workers

    . You’ll note that the WEA Trust is not only not the principle issue cited, it’s also not a monopoly “many school districts participate in WEA trust”, not all of them.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “Isn’t this an almost necessary feature of having a two-party system? Political parties will each try to big up issues where they thing they can attract voters and seek to differentiate themselves by emphasising the those.”

    They may, but if they are sensible they will seek the middle ground as much as possible. That is the advantage of a Two Party system – they have every reason to find the middle ground and stick to it. If Romney panders to his Right too much, Obama can move right and take not merely 50% of votes, but 50+whatever number Romney has alienated. As Obama has rhetorically moved to the Far Left, Romney is cleaning up moderates. The system forces everyone into the middle ground.

    “In a multiple party system, however, you can have middling opinions even on matters of controversy to some, simply because a particular party doesn’t see it as an issue.”

    In a genuine multiparty system you get parties across the ideological divide. You get a far right, a right, a left and a far left (or some combination). Because now they are looking for 25% of voters, not 50%. The ideological divide is deeper in multiparty systems. If you want a deep ideological divide, look to Europe. Where Germany has the Christian Democrats, some real Liberals, some socialists and the remnants of the Communists. Much less Italy where you have three Fascist parties and two Communist ones to choose from.

  9. SMFS: Obama has moved to the Far Left? The far left of which planet exactly?

    What’s interesting about the US system is the effect of the primary elections. All the Republican candidates had to pander to the centre of Republican primary voters, which is a deeply unpleasant place to be. And now Romney has to swing to the centre. Forcing politicians to dissemble is not a good thing.

  10. SMFS (#10), I think we’re seeing the collapse of that system.

    Capturing the centre ground only works when the vast bulk of the population will:
    a) vote; and
    b) do so for one of the main parties.

    Once you lose that, if a party moves to the centre ground it loses its outer wing, either to minor parties or to non-voting.

    That I think is what is happening in British politics.

    Whether good or bad, a proper PR system would accelerate that change, because the ‘lost vote’ aspect of voting for a minor party is removed. Hence the Euro election results. And hence the notable absence of a proper PR system in the last referendum on the subject.

  11. Only geeks and fanatics vote in this sort of election; as was highlighted by the GG thing, which I’m fairly sure we all agreed on.

    The turnout for this shebang was tiny, featuring the geekiest and most fanatic of both sides. And we all know that by-elections go against the government. So comparing percentages and turnouts here to percentages and turnouts at a normal election is futile. The broad point is “if your incumbent wins a recall by a 5% margin, you should be scared”.

    Jim’s point, hence, is silly.

    Paul’s point is sensible. The concept that Obama (whose campaign has so far been mostly based on how keen he is to murder innocent Pakistanis) has moved to the far left is so hilarious that I’m forced to conclude SMFS has access to brilliant new drugs I would like.

  12. johnb (#14), where on earth do you get your claim of a “tiny” turnout from?

    Turnouts and vote splits from Wisconsin gubernatorial elections, courtesy of Wikipedia:

    2012 recall vote: 2,503,745 (split 56:43)

    2010 governor election: 2,158,974 (split 52:46)

    2006 governor election: 2,159,251 (split 52:45)

    2002 governor election: 1,775,349 (split 45:41)

    Wikipedia doesn’t have turnout figures before that, but this recall election had a bigger turnout, and a bigger margin for the victor, than any of the elections for that post in the last 10 years.

  13. “Isn’t this an almost necessary feature of having a two-party system? ”

    Its necessary for the two parties to have very different “mission statements” to attract voters and to pay lip-service (very loudly) to the differences in philosophy.

    Unfortunately IRL the real differences tend to be on the fringe and the main platform and defining philosophy of both parties ends up being “I’ll give you free stuff if you vote for me”, however that can be gotten away with – principles be damned.

  14. The recall turnout was 16% higher than the last couple of regular elections. And the winner’s margin was twice the last two elections.

    Of course the increased turnout may just reflect the extra Democrat illegal voters that the unions are said to have brought in by bus from Michigan. But the increased margin suggests real local support for the governor.

  15. Walker didn’t win by a small margin, he took a pretty decent lead. And he won the recall by a significantly larger margin than he did his original election.

    Essentially this was the people of Wisconsin sending the public sector union a pretty clear message of dislike

  16. Given the size of the hole, he’s in, johnb should quit the spadework. “Walker came within a few points’ margin of being kicked out mid-term, which is an extremely rare occurrence at the best of times,”

    Errm, no. He’s the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall. The bar for initiating a recall is deliberately set high, so that while recalls themselves are unusual, they are generally very bad for the incumbent. Lefties are either outwardly despondent this morning (like the whole crew at MSNBC, guffaw) or whistling past the graveyard. The one ray of sunshine for the Democrats is they have a shot at gaining control of the State Senate, although this is likely to be short-lived since redistricting in the Autumn will give the Republicans a likely 1-2 seat natural advantage.

  17. @ Jim
    Please re-edit for typo. This request is my first entry on this topic. I don’t know enough about Wisconsin to comment (although my interest was piqued by the news that the Democrats/Unions got over 900,000 signatures on their recall petition but in a secret ballot only 1.16 million voted for their candidate).

  18. Sorry got my johns muddled up there! It was of course johnb not john77 who decided that a victory by over 6 percentage points was a close run thing.

  19. DG: *being the target of a recall* is an incredibly rare occurrence for a state governor, as you know.

    The Dems have, indeed, won the senate. WHAT A TERRIBLE DAY FOR THE LEFT (yes, it’s only a symbolic victory, because the Senate won’t sit until the November election, but it highlights the fact that calling this a mass swing to the Republicans is bonkers crap).

    And anyone who doesn’t think 56-44 is a close race when there are only a couple of million voters involved has literally no idea what they’re talking about (Presidential elections are different, since they include totals for the states where they weigh one party or the other’s vote as well as the swingers…).

  20. Handily, CNN have published a piece showing how the money broke down. It works out as:

    Walker $30.5m
    Named R lobby groups $16.9m
    Estimated R lobby groups $0.8m
    Total R $48.2m (71% of total)

    Barrett $3.9m
    Named D lobby groups $14.9m
    Estimated D lobby groups $0.7m
    Total D $19.4 (29% of total)

    The “estimate” is where I’ve split the outside donations that aren’t named to specific groups between the parties according to the split of named groups. If you ignore it instead, you get 72%/28%.

    So as long as the Republicans manage to outspend the Democrats by 2.5:1 in November, and can put forward a charismatic well-known fellow who’s popular among independents (20% of Walker voters said they’d go for Obama in November), y’all are right that they’ve a tolerable shot at the White House.

  21. Are the voters who said they favoured Obama the same ones that told the pollsters they were 50/50 for Walker?

    This is a bad result for the Left because:
    * Walker won
    * Walker won handily (no, in Wisconsin this is NOT close)
    * he improved his majority
    * the Republican ground game and GOTV effort were at least as good as the Democrats’, turf on which they have previously been thought to have an advantage
    * the only field where they succeeded is irrelevant
    * it makes Obama look either ineffective or indifferent

    Of course it’s not single-handedly going to win the election for Romney. But it’s a bellwether.

  22. Is someone impersonating johnb? He’s usually well aware that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts…

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “Obama has moved to the Far Left? The far left of which planet exactly?”

    Well in fairness he has always been there. He did, after all, get Bill Ayers to ghost write his autobiography. And has been a guest at Ayer’s home.

    “What’s interesting about the US system is the effect of the primary elections. All the Republican candidates had to pander to the centre of Republican primary voters, which is a deeply unpleasant place to be.”

    I disagree. The unpleasantness these days comes from the Democrats. They are the ones issuing death threats and gloating over Wis. Lt-Gov’s cancer. They are the ones stirring up racial hatred. The middle ground of the Republican remains decent, Church going, tax paying middle class people. Just compare the behaviour at the Tea Party rallies with the Occupy movement.

    “And now Romney has to swing to the centre. Forcing politicians to dissemble is not a good thing.”

    All systems do it. But to his credit, Romney has not done a lot of dissembling. He has not backed away from Romneycare for instance which would have been the obvious choice.

    12 Richard – “I think we’re seeing the collapse of that system. Capturing the centre ground only works when the vast bulk of the population will:
    a) vote; and
    b) do so for one of the main parties.

    Once you lose that, if a party moves to the centre ground it loses its outer wing, either to minor parties or to non-voting.”

    I am not sure what you’re saying. If you mean once voters have a choice of three parties, then occupying the middle ground is not so useful, then sure. Isn’t that what I said? To a lesser extent they can stay home, but I am not sure that is a big risk.

    “That I think is what is happening in British politics.”

    We seem to be moving towards two party politics given the Lib-Dems will soon be so small as to be irrelevant. They are history.

    “Whether good or bad, a proper PR system would accelerate that change, because the ‘lost vote’ aspect of voting for a minor party is removed.”

    This is not an argument in its favour.

    14 john b – “The concept that Obama (whose campaign has so far been mostly based on how keen he is to murder innocent Pakistanis) has moved to the far left is so hilarious that I’m forced to conclude SMFS has access to brilliant new drugs I would like.”

    Well the drugs are good, but I did not say Obama was competent and hence able to get any of his policies passed. But that he is the furthest left President in American history is, I would think, undeniable. Maybe even their furthest left Senator in recent times.

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