On Wisconsin…

The votes are in; the recallers are unhappy — and with reason.  Despite Walker’s call for civility and listening to each other now that he’s won, it’s pretty clear that won’t happen.  For starters, Walker now owes billionaires big time: the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the bitter union hater in his Las Vegas casinos… and more.

Why did the recall fail?  For starters, 900,000 signatures on the re-call petition are not the same as 1, 331, 000 votes at election time.  It’s pretty easy to sign a petition; it’s more difficult to get the body to vote, especially when, because of the  attack ads, it seems more like a flame-war than an exercise in democracy.

Being outspent 10 to 1 is not a promising sign.

Walker spent $30,505, 082 for 1,331,076 votes making it $22.92 per vote
Barrett spent $3,938,574 for 1,158,337 votes coming in at  $3.40 per vote

The sheer magnitude of money spent, and un-free speech delivered, surely had an impact:

More than $63.5 million has been spent by candidates and independent groups, the overwhelming majority underwritten by out-of-state sources.

The record spending total was made possible thanks to the Citizens UnitedU.S. Supreme Court decision — which had the effect of invalidating Wisconsin’s century-old ban on independent expenditures by corporations and unions — and a state law that allows unlimited contributions to the incumbent in recall elections.

The amount spent since November 2011 trounces the state’s previous record of $37.4 million, set during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Being the second, and a not  very good, choice, as Barrett was,  to run against Walker, who had already defeated Barrett, was not a good idea, as many on the recall team knew at the time.

 To hear those who worked in the trenches of the recall tell it, the fact that Democrats had a contested primary between Barrett and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk bears considerable responsibility for Walker’s victory.

Not only did the primary take place less than a month before the general recall election but organized labor spent millions in support of Falk (and against Barrett), spending that many Democrats believe weakened the eventual nominee. [Duh…d’you think?]

More analysis

In November, 2010, Walker and Kleefisch took 1,128,941 votes; 52.29% while Barrett and Nelson took 1,004,303; 46.52%

At the June 5, 2012 recall Walker got 1,331,076 or 53% while Barrett got 1,158,337, 46%

While this shows that more people voted in the recall than in the intial election, by 356, 169 folks, an increase of 16.7%, the Walker backers did better than the Barrett backers in increasing their numbers  — 17.9% increase  vs 15.34%  Not good for those who wanted the re-match.

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So what is to be done, for those of us discouraged by the seemingly impossible odds of getting our underfunded voices heard in the Niagra like roar of the super funded voices?

Elections are a better alternative to wars with maiming weapons, but they are none-the-less wars.   The Republicans, allied to big big money are like the heavy Roman legions, almost unstoppable if fought in the same manner.  Those who beat back the Legions did it with novel tactics, hit-and-run, spies, taking out the leadership, taking away food and water. We have to figure out the equivalent in electoral terms. We’ll never be able to win in capital intensive match-ups.

Our job is to change the way people see things, not in the weeks before an election but by changing the culture in which those elections take place.  Despite decades of proof otherwise, many many non-millionaires still align themselves with millionaire’s values.  With all sorts of counter-proof, too many believe that free markets exist, and that they will solve most problems.  Too many don’t examine the results of the policies, on their own lives, which they have voted for.

Elections are the end-game.  The serious work goes on all the time, making the arguments, busting the myths, asking for proof of outrageous claims.  Recognizing our own natural allies.  Using laughter and mockery to strip the robes of royalty and claims of allegiance-owed from the plutocrats and corporacrats until the water run clear and millions of dollars no longer buy millions of voters ears.

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