The recall elections in Wisconsin over Governor Walker’s anti-union law abolishing collective bargaining for public servants had it all – Republicans running fake Democrats in primaries, massive spending by faceless outside bodies, and two Republican senators losing their seats in the subsequent ballot. Democrats did not succeed in overturning the Wisconsin Senate majority for Walker’s Republicans, but it is down to one and there is one Republican who voted against the anti-union law.
It may well cost Walker in the next election. According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Walker did not campaign for governor on the radical anti-union and anti-public worker positions he took once in office, and the recall results were a rebuke to him.
The recalls gave us a preview of the 2012 presidential campaign, and it’s not pretty. Outside groups spent an estimated $30 million to $40 million on advertising, almost all of it negative and most of it from undisclosed sources, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Imagine what those groups will spend on the presidential election.
We’ll see some of that here in our usual muted way – National running a fake Tory in Ohariu-Belmont, and outside groups spending big on negative advertising in the electoral referendum in another bait and switch tactic.
When voters are victims of a bait-and-switch – when a candidate who did not run as an ideological warrior starts trying to destroy public-employee unions as soon as he moves into the governor’s mansion – recall elections are warranted. ..The recalls gave people angered by the acts of their elected officials a chance to do something about it, they animated and engaged the electorate and they prompted debate on important issues.
We won’t see much debate on important issues here however if the National Party have their way. Their no-show on asset sales on Q+A on Sunday treats voters with contempt.