In Wisconsin, recalled Governor Scott Walker, running virtually unopposed in the primary, garnered as many votes as the two Democrat contenders added together. As you may know, the unions backed contender Kathleen Falk, who promised to overturn Walker’s budget reforms package. Tom Barrett was vying with Falk to take the Democrat slot in next month’s election, and beat her by a count of approximately 3:2.
The big news, though, was the number of votes for the incumbent, when compared with those of his two opponents. Walker supporters didn’t have a lot of reason to turn out for this primary, since it’s been clear forever that Walker was going to be the nominee. As Moe Lane notes, his opponent, who isn’t even a Republican, was run against him by Proggies who figured that this would give them oodles of agitprop opportunities.
What happened was that yesterday we had two primaries. The Democratic primary was supposed to be an enthusiastic, multi-candidate affair with clear differences (from a Democratic perspective, at least) between them; it was also being energetically fought, with the primary underdog (Falk) supposedly having still having broad financial and logistical support. That should have translated to ‘high turnout’ – especially since supposedly the Democrats are all selling what Wisconsin wants to be buying.
Meanwhile, the Republican primary was… an annoyance. Scott Walker was going to be the nominee; the only reason why he had a challenger in the first place is because progressives thought that it made good agitprop*. And I believe that Walker’s was the only Republican primary that night. And all of that should have translated to ‘low turnout.’ Which would have been fine; incumbents often have sparsely populated primaries. I was personally expecting Walker to end up ahead of any one candidate, and to get somewhat less votes than the top two combined (Barrett & Falk). For that last scenario, Walker being ‘behind’ by anything less than 100K wouldn’t have concerned me.
Instead? Walker ended up ‘losing’ to the entire Democratic field by less than 44K votes, and ‘beat‘ Barrett/Falk by almost 7.5K. This happened because of one of two things: either Walker voters are very motivated – which is to say, motivated enough to participate in a token primary race – or Democratic voters are not very motivated (please note that the final number of recall signatures was almost 901K**).
I don’t think this is a matter of either/or, and I don’t think that the Evil Giraffe does, either. It’s a matter of both, and Barrett made it clear why in comments on the eve of his primary victory:
During a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate on Wednesday night, the two leading Democrats vying for a chance to take on Governor Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election strongly disagreed over their abilities to undo Walker’s budget reforms if Walker is defeated.
Dane county executive Kathleen Falk, who is supported by Wisconsin’s major unions, has promised to veto any budget that doesn’t repeal Walker’s collective bargaining reforms–effectively pledging a government shutdown if the legislature doesn’t restore the power public sector unions lost under Walker. “The only bill that has to pass the legislature is the budget bill,” Falk said Wednesday night. “And that’s why the only way to restore it is to put it in the budget bill.”
But Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who is widely seen as the frontrunner and establishment candidate, said Falk’s strategy wouldn’t work and could lead to a “permanent Scott Walker budget.”
According to Barrett, failure to pass a budget wouldn’t lead to a government shutdown–it would lead to Walker’s budget carrying on indefinitely. “There’s been talk of holding up the budget. To me, this is a dangerous idea,” Barrett said. “Wisconsin is different from the federal government and Minnesota and other states. If there is no budget, we will have a permanent Scott Walker budget—a permanent Scott Walker budget. The budget does not have to pass.”
Barrett said he would attempt to repeal Walker’s union reforms by calling a special legislative session, but he acknowledged that Republicans could block him. Barrett suggested that if Democrats win the win the governor’s race and take back the Senate, Republicans in the assembly would change their minds about collective bargaining.
Democrats decided weeks ago that Falk was simply too beholden to the union-progressive agenda to defeat Walker in the general election, and about that they’re right. The unions owe Obama big-time, and he’s not sharing out to other candidates. He greenlighted the spending in Wisconsin, because his campaign understood that a Walker victory would be a huge psychological blow to his core supporters, but, given these numbers, the unions may pull back their horns in Wisconsin.
Incumbent Presidents who have decent internals will generally spend significant time on the campaign trail supporting party candidates, and will share out funds raised by their party to be disbursed to down-ticket candidates, especially other incumbents. Obama’s ideological opponents realized long ago that Obama was overwhelmingly about Obama, but now Democrat candidates are learning a thing or two about his selfishness. If Obama should win, God forbid, there are going to be Democrat incumbents who will look around for their former colleagues and feel their gorge rise at Obama’s behavior during this election cycle. I’m with Da Techguy, though: ride right through them.
As Peter notes, Elizabeth Warren is imploding in spectacular style in Massachusetts, and even the name of Kennedy is no longer a sure talisman for election. It turns out that not only is she not Cherokee, but that her great-great-great grandfather was employed rounding up members of that tribe to escort them on the Trail of Tears. Delicious, delicious Democrat tears appear to be in the offing, and say what you like about Scott Brown, he understands when to drive home the advantage with a coup de grâce (disambiguation). Where there’s fraud—and as a rule of thumb where there are progressives, there is—show no mercy. It’s especially delightful to contemplate how the millions raised by Warren in the past few months will likely have been entirely wasted on a ridiculous candidate, whom the Democrats ought to have known was ridiculous. Had they run Warren three years ago, she would likely have beaten Brown, but little by little even Massachusetts voters have come to understand the game, despite the desperate efforts of the MSM to hold onto their shrinking influence by creating cover stories for their cover stories. Disasters such as this have a way of closing wallets not only locally, but nation-wide and even internationally.
Dick Lugar got absolutely crushed by his TEA Party challenger, Richard Mourdock, after which he railed against voters in admonitory tones, like any egoistical spurned ex-lover. Whenever a long-term incumbent gets thrown out on his ear for not using it, he determines that it really is a judgment against the judgment of the electorate. He’s threatening to remain in public service, saying that we haven’t heard the last of Dick Lugar, but . . . are you RINOserious? Reports of the TEA Party’s demise may have been premature. According to The Fix, though, the incumbent’s mistake that he believed that voters were familiar enough with is record that he would sail to victory, and they were not. Somehow, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake seem to think it impossible that after six terms Indiana voters were so familiar with Lugar’s record that they decided he had to go. Far.
In West Virginia, Obama defeated (by 20 points) a convicted felon with a long pony-tail, who managed to take a number of counties outright.
One of Keith Judd’s many advantages over Obama is that he comes pre-convicted.