I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been really busy of late but I had to throw in my two cents on the Wisconsin recall election.
Okay, so 2 pretty significant points come to mind here:
1. This may very well have been the death knell of our democracy. Not the end, but the beginning of the end. Despite being perhaps the most active and focused grass roots campaign in recent memory, with millions of people fully committed to effecting change, the recall movement was crushed under an ocean of money. Out of state billionaires gave embattled governor Scott Walker $30 million in spending money and he used it to shove challenger and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barret’s nose in the dirt. $30 million. It’s a nearly 10 to 1 spending differential over the state Democrats. We’re talking about a gubernatorial election in Wisconsin.
Not long ago that was presidential campaign money. Republican strategists are already calling Wisconsin a model for every other state in the nation. If the Wisconsin governorship only costs $30 million, it’s possible that every governor’s seat in the country can be bought for less than $1 billion. Mitt Romney and his corporations are looking to raise nearly $2 billion to buy the presidency. It’s a fair estimate that the United States federal government–complete with the most powerful military on earth–can be bought entirely and filled with yes men for under $10 billion. Neat.
The most startling aspect of this story is that 36% of union families voted FOR the union busting governor. Makes no sense whatsoever. Union jobs have been one of the key forces behind the difference between labor conditions and wages in the United States and those in Mexico. 36% of Wisconsin’s union-employed voters just chose to narrow that gap in the wrong direction. It’s like 36% of dolphins voting to drain the Pacific Ocean.
Sure, there were mitigating factors, recall fatigue, unrelated social wedge issues, and Walker’s aforementioned campaign megabucks; but I maintain the results underline the fact that many Americans don’t have the skills or information needed to vote–or think–critically and rationally; and thus are highly susceptible to suggestive messaging such as negative campaign ads…ads bought with corporate PAC money.
We have become so divided as a nation that people will vote against their own self interest because of party and political labels. For many Americans, unions–much like the federal government, are to be held as eternal and unquestionable evils.
Nevermind that Walker blew a gigantic, $3.6 billion hole in the state budget by giving corporations and wealthy Wisconsinites a high-income tax cut. He then worked to balance that deficit by dramatically cutting education funding, enacting massive public employee layoffs and wage reductions, and stealing $25 million in foreclosure settlement money designated–by the evil federal government–to help families keep their homes. THEN he went after the collective bargaining rights of the public unions (except police and firefighters…the two unions that supported his campaign). He admitted, on tape, that he had considered using bat-wielding thugs to disperse the protestors outside the capital and that his goal is to divide and conquer the unions and make Wisconsin a right-to-work state.
For mindless conservative voters all of that chicanery is forgivable so long as a union–the main campaign financiers of the Democratic party–was stopped.
2. The Democratic party is too weak, stupid, and/or pathetic to help anyone, even themselves. Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks likens them to the Washington Generals who lose spectacularly–and deliberately–to the Harlem Globetrotters. The national party did not play cavalry with volunteers, organizational support, or even funding until roughly three weeks before the election. Unfortunately for them, polls showed that Wisconsin voters had made up their minds months ago, before the Democratic party had even finished its primary. Whoops-a-daisy.
During the 2008 campaign Barrack Obama proclaimed that if anyone went after collective bargaining he’d put on his walking shoes and march along side them. When Scott Walker (among others) did go after collective bargaining rights, the White House fell silent as a grave. I don’t know if he’s playing, as he supporters put it, masterful 3-dimensional political chess, but on its surface, this Wisconsin recall looks like a Titanic failure. 17% of the people who voted to keep Scott Walker in office are also Obama supporters. His involvement in this election might very well have reversed the outcome. Instead, he and the Democratic National Party left all those people who marched and protested for their rights crushed by the corporatocracy. Increased voter apathy is as understandable as it is inevitable. In an apparent effort to not offend any part of that 17% crossover, the president may very well have lost half of his supporters on the left. But that’s today’s Democrat, so weak and spineless it makes one nauseous at the sight of Jell-o.
I don’t know if the Democrats are just playing their part in a rigged game or they’re actually that terrified of what Republicans might say. Either way, from my perspective, their pussification is complete. It’s now a 90% certainty that I will not be spending my vote on barrack Obama’s re-election this year.
And I fear there will be no more Teddy Roosevelts, FDRs or JFKs until we get money out of politics. And these…
pu…wusses out of office.