Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Take On Wisconsin

Scott Walker's victory in Wisconsin was not good for unions -- in the United States, or here in Canada. And, as Canadian journalist Tony Burman writes:

This was a campaign that was bought and sold like a piece of meat, the latest shameful unraveling of once-proud American democratic traditions. In fabled, progressive Wisconsin, this election was ultimate proof that money now rules American politics. A record $63 million was spent on this recall fight, most of it from out-of-state. The non-partisan Center for Public Integrity reported that Republican Scott Walker outraised his Democratic opponent by nearly eight-to-one, $30 million to $4 million, and two-thirds of it came from out of Wisconsin. Much of it was from the same billionaires who funded the Republican primary freak show of recent months. They saw in Wisconsin an opportunity finally to put the screws to labour unions. It was the latest consequence of the 2010 “Citizens United” ruling that welcomed unlimited and often anonymous corporate and union funding of elections.

But all is not darkness. Burman also points out that:

A significant percentage of Wisconsin voters on Tuesday who voted for Republican Scott Walker indicated in exit polls they preferred Barack Obama to Mitt Romney as president. In fact, Obama’s margin over Romney in exit polls was 52 per cent to 43 per cent — even though the Republican governor won the recall vote. This is not unusual. In 2008, Obama won the state by 14 points over John McCain. Before that, Wisconsin voted Democrat for U.S. president in every election since Ronald Reagan’s victory in 1984 even though all Wisconsin governors, except for one, have been Republican ever since.

So how should one interpret what happened in Wisconsin on Tuesday? Certainly times are not good. In ordinary times, the bad economy would doom the Obama campaign. But these are not ordinary times. No doubt the November election will be close. But the Republican Party is now hard wired to the far right; and, therefore, its victory is far from certain. Burman writes that success in America still depends on appealing to the middle. And "the smart money is still on Obama. Before we know whether he can win it again, we are learning that the Republicans haven’t run out of ways to lose it."

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


Beijing York said...

You should check out CBC Sunday Edition podcast of this morning's broadcast. Enright did an excellent interview in hour 2 - some journalist with The Nation.

Owen Gray said...

I checked today's podcast and found nothing, Bejing. I suspect Enright talked to John Nichols, who wrote a piece after the recall vote.

Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to access the piece. All I can do is repeat Nicholls' opening sentence:

The depressing defeat of the recall suggests that “money power” cannot be easily thwarted, even by determined “people power.”

Let's hope that people are still more powerful than corporations -- although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that they are one and the same.