Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Voting and Disappointment

with 10 comments

Folks, I’m sorry to say that business as usual will continue in Wisconsin. Scott Walker won re-election, which I have to say I don’t understand…and there were some truly puzzling things going on in other races, too. (How did Douglas LaFollette only get 49% in his Secretary of State race? He should’ve won with 60% of the vote, as he always does.)

But the voters have spoken. Scott Walker remains the Governor of Wisconsin.

(In case you were wondering, I am truly disappointed.)

It’s not so much that Scott Walker has been re-elected that bothers me, though admittedly I wanted him out. It’s that I don’t see anything in Wisconsin that’s likely to improve with him as our Governor.

Definitely, nothing will improve in Racine, where crying economic needs have been unmet for the past ten years or more.

While I was not a fan of Mary Burke, as I felt she was a corporate Democrat who didn’t have any understanding of the middle or lower classes in Wisconsin, if she had been elected, there might’ve been a prayer that something, anything, might improve.

Instead, we’re going to get the same-old, same-old.

And that’s incredibly disappointing.

Because I’m a prognosticator by trade ( at least part of the time), I will point out that I didn’t think Burke was the answer for Wisconsin.

But I don’t think Scott Walker is the answer, either.

That being said, our choices right now are few. We’ll have to hunker down and endure in Racine, again, as I doubt Walker will approve the casino expansion in Kenosha (one of the few things that might create some desperately needed jobs; something Walker has stalled for the last two years or more).

But I will keep my eyes on the one, potential saving grace: the possibility that if Walker does not change, does not at least become willing to do something to promote true economic opportunity in Wisconsin, he can be recalled in 2016.

Wouldn’t that be a blow to his Presidential aspirations?

10 Responses

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  1. I’m stunned that Walker won again, but I’m watching from out here in Blue California, but I hear John Nichols on MSNBC and the radio. I wonder if that would have happened if Virg Bernaro (sp?) had run again. Democrats need to embrace progressive populism if they want to win, IMO.


    November 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    • Linda, I think part of the problem is that Senator Kathleen Vinehout was not available to run as she’d broken her arm. Vinehout could’ve run a grassroots campaign that would’ve resonated with the voters; she’s a member of the “Wisconsin 14” and a moderate, and has now won three terms in a predominantly R district in Western Wisconsin. (For the record, while I really like Virg Bernaro, too, he lives in Michigan and is the mayor of Lansing. But if he lived here, I’d have voted for him and worked for him.)

      Senator Vinehout is a populist and is progressive in many things, mind. She stands up for what she believes in, and I think she’d make an outstanding governor. (She’s kind of like Jerry Brown in some ways; she’s fiscally conservative and socially liberal. She’s also extremely intelligent and a “policy wonk.”)

      My belief is that we’ll again attempt to recall Scott Walker in 2016 (providing he does anything worthy of recall, and he probably will). If so, Sen. Vinehout would be my choice, and I would do everything in my power to get her elected. (Let’s hope EMILY’s List doesn’t endorse Mary Burke or a similar multi-millionaire D before Sen. Vinehout gets her chance.)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 6, 2014 at 12:10 am

      • Barb, thanks for correcting me, I got my midwestern candidates mixed up. It’s too bad you didn’t have a stronger Democratic candidate on the ticket, but this was a strange election, nationwide, and I’m sure the voter suppression tactics worked to the GOP’s benefit. But yes, insanity reigns in our country. 😦


        November 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      • I don’t think we had voter suppression in Wisconsin, but we did have some confusion. We nearly had a voter ID law in place, but people really didn’t understand it (mind, I have no trouble with voter ID providing there’s an out for people who are elderly and were born at home or have other similarly odd situations; I do think any voting ID should be absolutely free or it’s a poll tax and thus shouldn’t be allowed).

        But yes, it was a strange election. And no, I don’t understand it very much.

        Thank you for your kind words, and it’s quite all right that you were mistaken about where Virg Bernaro comes from. (I wish he did come from here. He would’ve been a strong candidate.)

        Barb Caffrey

        November 7, 2014 at 1:56 am

  2. Holy crap, Barb. Not to point out the obvious here, but:

    1) Scott Walker was originally elected with 52% of the vote in 2010. He then does exactly what he promised to do, and people flip out.

    2) Scott Walker won his recall election with 53% of the vote in 2012. He continues to do exactly what he promised to do and people flip out.

    3) Scott Walker won his re-election with 52% of the vote in 2014. People flip out because he’s proven that he will continue to do what he promised to do.

    4) Scott Walker expected to face a recall election in 2016 (unless he runs for President). If he faces a recall election, he will more than likely win with 52% of the vote.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Maybe you should focus more on the state legislature than governor?


    November 6, 2014 at 9:46 am

    • Ah, but he didn’t, Jason. Not entirely.

      You may notice, as I know you’ve read my blog for a long time (and encouraged me to keep one, way back when, too), that I’ve never faulted Scott Walker for keeping his campaign promise with regards to the expansion of light rail into Wisconsin. He thought it was a stupid idea, and even though it turned away jobs, he stuck to his guns.

      In some ways, I actually understood him there. The rail system we have would be tough to upgrade because of the buildup around the railroad tracks, and there’s a very narrow corridor that runs through from the IL state line up to Milwaukee (where he was county exec, and so he knows this very well). I don’t know how light rail would’ve achieved; it would’ve perhaps taken a greater amount of state money than was being projected, and I actually believed Walker when he said that the state didn’t know what it was getting into the expansion of light rail.

      However, the main area he failed was in his initial and wildly optimistic belief that 250,000 jobs would be created in his tenure. At most, it’s more like 110,000 jobs. And as I said before, the main problem I have as a Racine/SE area voter is that we need jobs _desperately_.

      A casino isn’t the be-all, end-all, no. But it’s a start. It would bring in money to Kenosha and Racine, it would bring many more jobs than we currently have, and it would bring economic development. And we need all that.

      Jason, you know me, and you know I’ll be as fair as I can be. (I did vote for two Rs, BTW. I felt they were doing their jobs, and retained them at the county level.) I may never like Scott Walker, no. But I’d not want him out so badly if he had followed through on the 250,000 jobs pledge *and* most particularly if he’d have already given the green-light to the Kenosha casino expansion.

      Instead, he’s likely to veto it because the Potawatomi tribe has given him a great deal of campaign loot over the years. And because Potawatomi’s own casino would be negatively impacted. (So much for the rhetoric about the free market and letting the market decide, which he spouts at every other opportunity.)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 7, 2014 at 2:02 am

    • Oh, as for the state legislature…we have problems in that area due to gerrymandering. We need impartial people drawing the districts. Or half Rs and half Ds, or mostly Libertarians, or something where there’s a fair shot for a person who can make a good case as to why he or she should be elected to get in there.

      Instead, we have only a handful of toss-up districts now in the state Assembly. And District 21, which I was a part of for many years, is now drawn in such a ridiculous manner as to keep all the rural areas of Racine and Kenosha county plus _one_ narrow corridor that contains our new Senator’s house in the middle of West Racine (that’s Van Wanggaard, who was recalled in 2012, but voted back in this year as expected).

      I am highly annoyed that the voters don’t get to decide as much who’s going to go and represent them. Instead, it’s done at the party level unless there’s gross negligence and/or incompetence, at which time either a recall is possible, or the person in question may be primaried by one of his own party members.

      So District 21 now is a heavily R district that would be almost impossible for anyone but a R to win. And District 22, which also used to be a toss-up district (leaned D, but only mildly), is now comprised of the cities of Kenosha and Racine, so _no_ R, no matter how well-qualified, can win this district.

      I find something to be wrong with that.

      Anyway, you’re right that unless Scott Walker does something along the lines of Act 10 again and causes massive unrest, it’s probably going to be impossible to get him out. But I still am worried about the voting machines and that one race I mentioned before — that of Secretary of State. That’s a race where neither candidate spent _any_ money. There were _no_ ads, and Doug LaFollette has a well-known name and has been an effective Secretary of State for many years. (I’m not even sure how many, either. Quite a few.)

      So how could Julian Bradley pull in 46% when no one knew who the Hell he was? (Most Wisconsin people do not vote straight ballots even when they’re allowed to do it. And we no longer have the straight ballot option anyway in the general election, so people actually had to go choose this guy, which is really hard to believe.)

      There was no “throw the bums out” sentiment, either. And in 2010, LaFollette held his job with a better margin than this — and that was a much _higher_ year of dissatisfaction for many reasons (including the PUMA Democratic movement, which has faded significantly in the past four years but was a big-time presence in 2010). (Mind, he basically had 52% in 2010, and was close to 50% this time. But as I said, it’s still quite odd.) LaFollette won with 56% in 2002 and 57% in 2006; granted, Gov. Doyle (a conservative/moderate D) was elected at the same time, which may have helped a trifle. But LaFollette ran no ads, raised no money…that’s why this was such a startling thing to me, Jason, that LaFollette would be sitting at 49 or 50% when he actually did better in ’10 with a worse mood of the people overall. (That was the year Russ Feingold got tossed out as our WI Senator.)

      Anyway, I don’t hold much confidence in Gov. Walker, as you know. I have many reasons for that. And if he does something I feel is worthy of recall, I’ll do it — but to be honest, I hope he won’t. I’d rather he just settle down and stop making comments that insult the intelligence of average Wisconsinites, and stop pretending he has an overwhelming mandate in what really is a purple state. (That it’s not reflected in our Assembly or our state Senate is because of gerrymandering, only. We’d probably have a narrow R lead in the Assembly and a narrow D lead in the Senate, else.)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 7, 2014 at 2:18 am

    • BTW, Walker never did say he wanted to stop public employee unions when he ran in 2010. It was a big shock when he did that. He did say he wanted public employees to contribute more to their pensions in a few places, but he didn’t make this a priority or cornerstone of his platform. Instead, it was all about jobs, which is why that 250,000 jobs pledge was such a deal-breaker with me. (And would’ve been even if I hadn’t actively tried to recall the man.)

      My thought, though, is that Walker will try to run for President next. That will raise his level of scrutiny beyond the level _anyone_ should feel comfortable, and in some ways I actually feel sorry for him. (I remember what Mrs. Clinton went through when she ran for POTUS, and no one deserves that.)

      But right now, what I want is for him to OK the casino in Kenosha and actually try to do something to spur economic development in SE Wisconsin. If he does any of that, I’ll be much less frustrated…and who knows? I might even change my mind about him, to an extent. (It’s possible. Anything is possible. I still don’t find it likely, but if you’d have asked me in 2004 if I’d have ever voted for Mrs. Clinton, I most likely would’ve said “no.” But I did, because I felt — and still feel — that she was the best choice in 2008 and would’ve led us in a much better and comprehensible direction without anywhere near the amount of partisan strife that we’ve seen since President Obama took office. That’s mostly because she knew everyone and possibly would’ve been able to sweeten the deal here and there to avoid outright cataclysmic shocks…)

      Barb Caffrey

      November 7, 2014 at 2:25 am

      • He ran a stealth campaign in 2010, didn’t he? Not uncommon these days. Unfortunately, what we the people don’t know can hurt us. Maybe his second term won’t be so bad since he’s probably going to spend the next two years running for president.

        I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary, too.

        Things are better here in Calif. since we voted in an independent redistricting commission. The legislature can’t get their grubby hands on the process any more.


        November 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

      • That’s what we need to do here, too, Linda. I don’t know any other solution that will help us with regards to the gerrymandering…let’s hope there’s a way that all of the activists in this state can get together and figure out how to do it.

        And yes, Scott Walker did run a stealth campaign. That’s an excellent way to put it. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        November 7, 2014 at 10:58 pm

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