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Some Post-Mortem Thoughts on Wisconsin Recall Election

By       Message Dave Lefcourt     Permalink
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Scott Walker celebrating recall victory last night.

Photo credit: Reuters/ Darren Hauck 

As we know by now, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin won his recall election bid yesterday by a 53% to 46% margin over Democrat Tom Barrett.

Just how did Walker pull this off so handily?

Was it the overwhelming amount of money that poured in from the likes of the Koch Bros. and other right wing corporate sources? According to Wisconsin's recall election rules Walker was legally permitted to accept unlimited funds before the recall was announced in March while his opponent was limited to individual $10,000 donations, a disparity that had Walker taking in some $30 million while Barrett received some $4 million.

Was it turnout? There were 2.5 million votes cast and according to exit polls a majority of men voted 59% to 40% in support for Walker while women voted 52% to 47% for Barrett. One in five voters was 65 or older and one in ten was college age. Seniors tended to vote for Walker while the youngsters sided with Barrett. Most incredibly, Walker won 38% of the vote of people who said they were members of a union household.

His election certainly wasn't hampered by his blatantly caustic remarks, (captured on video), of his intention to destroy the states public service unions that went viral over the internet some two weeks ago. The video was made in 2010 in his first run for the governorship showing him and a billionaire backer discussing his intentions if he got elected.

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It certainly wasn't the current investigation targeting Walker, which "According to government lawyers familiar with a Milwaukee criminal corruption probe, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is now a target of the investigation" and involves "Walker's office stealing money that was supposed to go to veterans and using that money for personal purposes and political purposes", this according to investigative reporter David Shuster.        

The sense from here is Walker's "true believers" completely ignored and dismissed the corruption probe targeting Walker and saw nothing inappropriate in the video that had Walker discussing with his billionaire donor his intention to go after the public service unions with the intent of destroying them once he got elected in 2010. Such people have no qualms about the money and the sources that contributed to the Walker recall campaign i.e. who the donors were, the amounts they gave and whether or not it came from out of the state. Such inconvenient "facts" do not dissuade the "true believer"; not while political ideology and fundamentalist belief can hold sway.

And if 38% of the vote for Walker came from members of a union household, then clearly, they had no qualms voting against their self interest and "other" reasons contributed to their decision.

Also the quirk in Wisconsin's recall election law legally permitting Walker to accept unlimited contributions cannot be overlooked as it completely distorts the playing field. Only the five "Supremes" conclude "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption and the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy", as Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion supporting "Citizens United".

Lastly, too much of the electorate remains ignorant, ill-informed and susceptible to propaganda, by the likes of Fox News, talking heads and the bland blather emanating from the MSM.

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Throw in the cornucopia of corporate largesse that underwrites the propaganda and supports the likes of a Scott Walker, it is little wonder we have sycophants like him as their obedient and compliant water carriers to do their bidding.      


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