Guardian UK: Wisconsin's recall election: an ominous crucible of US politics
Wisconsin's recall election: an ominous crucible of US politics
The right threw resources into Scott Walker's anti-union fight, while the Democratic party stood by. That's a recipe for defeat
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 6 June 2012
Forget the old saw, "All politics is local." There is a kettle's worth of tea leaves to read in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's triumph over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. The acrimonious 5 June recall election is a perilous omen for President Barack Obama's re-election bid and a faltering labor movement.
Upon taking office in January 2011, Walker went gunning for public sector unions and social programs. He inadvertently ignited six weeks of animated protests as hundreds of thousands of people flooded the Capitol of Madison, eager to stick a wrench in Walker's plans to turn the clock back on public healthcare, education and labor organizing.
Since the "Wisconsin uprising" began, the Tea Party movement and organized labor have clashed in three separate state-wide elections. Republicans snagged a critical state supreme court post in April 2011. That August, the GOP clung to a razor-thin majority in the state senate by holding four of six seats up for recall. Having pummeled the Democrats again, by a 53-46% margin, Walker and the right are riding high. The only bright spot for Democrats is that they appear to have captured one of four state senate seats, giving them a 17-16 majority.
Walker's win could turn out to be another Scott Brown. In 2010, Brown nabbed Ted Kennedy's former Massachusetts senate seat out of the blue, signaling the arrival of the Tea Party movement and the inability of the Democrats to counter the right's agenda of drowning government in a bathtub. .................(more)