Scott Walker and the Republicans won. Democrats lost. But there are ominous lessons for both Democrats and Republicans in the Wisconsin recall race, both for the November presidential election and beyond. Everyone is trying to spin the outcome, but frankly both sides have cause for concern.
In my latest Fox News column, I present three “curds of wisdom” each for Democrats and Republicans coming off of the recall campaign. Read it here.. And please spread it around and share your reactions to the disappointing recall results.
My intent on writing the piece in the Daily Beast was to focus on why, especially nationally, the massive groundswell that captivated and consumed progressive attention isn’t quite comparable to energy on the recall today.
Of course, I know the significant ground campaign activists are pouring their hearts and souls into across Wisconsin today, but editing is a beast and the volumes I wished to write about the great mobilization that is happening on the ground ended up nixed.
That said, even the most involved activists I spoke were fairly critical of flagging national attention — especially with respect to the Democratic Party, which virtually had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the fight. My goal in writing was not to handicap or hinder the Wisconsin fight but rather look at the long-term implications. While Republicans fundamentally grasp both the power of grassroots insurgencies and the importance of fighting at the state level to influence the national discourse, Democrats seem still sadly enamored with the top-down, centrist-driven strategy that has repeatedly failed.
Though it’s funny that, just as I was writing my piece, apparently Ann Coulter was writing a piece complaining that Republicans aren’t paying enough attention to the recall. But anyway…
I believe the people of Wisconsin will prevail on Tuesday and Scott Walker will be ousted from office, left to be nothing but a relic of the failed economic policies and Tea Party “divide and conquer” destruction he wrought on Wisconsin and came to represent for America. My heart is with every Barrett canvasser in every crevice of the state. And my hope is that justice will prevail not only Tuesday but beyond with the help, not the hindrance of the Democratic Party.
In my debut essay for Newsweek’s The Daily Beast, I explore why the momentum to unseat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seems to pale in comparison to the massive outpouring of grassroots energy against him last winter.
When Scott Walker, freshly elected as governor, dropped his bombshell proposal to revoke the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin’s public employees, protest erupted. Kim Cosier was right in the middle of it all. “It was exhilarating,” says the University of Wisconsin assistant professor of arts education. “We were in the center of the Capitol when the firefighters marched in. I felt more American than I’ve ever felt, standing there, singing the national anthem, like we were finally participating in our own government.”
But just days before Tuesday’s vote, when Wisconsinites will have their chance to boot Walker for good, Cosier is in her office grading papers and preparing for classes. Is she simply too busy now?
“I was busy then, too,” she says, “but I found a way to be involved.”
Something changed between when Democrats and labor rose up and seemed like a surging national force, and now, when the attention of Democrats nationally has been slow to the recall fight and polls show the race is painfully tight and at least one suggests Walker may have a slight lead. What happened?
I go on to make three (I think very interesting) points about why Democrats have faltered a bit in the race — that the opponent to Walker is less-than-ideal, that Democrats nationally don’t grasp the importance of winning marginal fights and that progressives struggle to turn grassroots anger into electoral power.
I hope you’ll read the entire piece here and share it around.
In my latest $0.02 for Politico’s Arena, I write:
Scott Walker used the economic suffering of Wisconsin’s working families as a fig leaf excuse to ram through a Wall Street-driven, anti-worker agenda. History will look back on Scott Walker with astonishment that, at the moment Wisconsin’s workers needed help most, Walker simply delivered more pain and hardship. In the meantime, working people who are fed up with being attacked by their own government are going to turn the tables on Walker and show him what it’s like to get fired.
If only we could get Donald Trump out to Wisconsin to hand Walker his pink slip.
Read the post at Politico here — and please share it via the buttons on their page.
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