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You may remember Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker's declaration of war on state workers from earlier in the year. The emotionless, and some say heartless, Walker led Wisconsin state Republicans in a successful campaign to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state employees. Other heartless, trickle downer GOP governors, like John Kasich in Ohio, and Rick Snyder in Michigan...followed Scott Walker's lead....making many wonder whether the GOP didn't conspire together between the midterm election and inauguration day to bust up Democratic-supporting public unions.
I don't "wonder" about a conspiracy.
Wisconsinites didn't take too kindly to Mr. Walker's heartlessness. After weeks of protesting.....weeks during which President Obama made no appearances in Wisconsin and barely made mention of the GOP's organized war against public employees.....Wisconsin voters decided to do something about their situation.
Democrats quickly gathered up more than enough signatures to force recalls of 6 Wisconsin GOP state senators. Democrats needed to recall three GOP state senators to recapture power in the state senate. Yesterday, Wisconsinites in those 6 districts voted. Democrats only captured two of the six state senate seats...with Republicans holding on to the other four.
All six of these districts were, on paper, serious uphill climbs for Democrats. The incumbents were last elected in 2008, winning their districts even in the middle of the huge Democratic wave that year.
After this near-miss, the next question becomes: How will this result impact the Democrats' declared intentions to recall Gov. Scott Walker some time next year? Will the Dems' grassroots energy flatten out -- or can it keep going, towards the lofty goal of collecting over half a million signatures, plus a buffer, to trigger a recall election?
There are two more Democratic state senator kabuki recall elections next week in Wisconsin....but what is now clear is that Wisconsin Republicans will still control the state senate....giving the heartless Walker breathing room to enact his anti-worker, anti-non-rich, scorched-earth campaign.
Wisconsin law doesn't permit voters to mount a recall of Walker until he has served one full year. By January, it is possible that America's problem of a short attention span....plus millions of dollars in outside corporate money flooding into Wisconsin, as just happened in the state senator recalls ($40 million)....will keep the neo-fascist Walker in the governor's chair.
What can be learned from Wisconsin?
First....Wisconsin is not some semi-third world state, like, say, Mississippi. In mostly southern states with "right to work" laws, an oxymoron if there ever was one, you expect bigoted and ignorant voters to vote against their own interests as they have for over 50 years now. Though typical red-states receive more tax monies in subsidies from Washington D.C. than they pay in.....voters there consider their low paying, non-union jobs (without benefits), I guess, a sign of their boot-strapping, rugged individualism.
Because Wisconsin is not like Mississippi.....it is especially disheartening to see voters there take sides against average workers. If these recall elections are any indication of the national mood......then I'm sorry to have to break it to readers, but....the future of average working families in America is bleak. If public employee unions are broken.....and private sector unions now only hold sway over less than 7% of America's workers....then I don't see anything to prevent capitalists from forcing a "rush to the bottom" right here in America's labor market.
The United States will move closer to resembling China....as far as worker's rights, pay, benefits, etc.
All thanks to the patriotic Tea Party. Good job.
The second thing American Democrats need to learn from the Wisconsin recall election results is the total failure of the national Democratic Party. As Wisconsin Democrats, workers and families protested and resisted the neo-fascist tactics of the emotionless Scott Walker.....Democratic President Obama and nationally known Democrats were nowhere to be seen or heard.
“And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States.”
In fact, during this fight in Wisconsin, Obama rarely, if ever, mentioned the state or it's dispute over public unions....to his endless disgrace. In this, Obama is following directly in the footsteps of the corporation-favoring, triangulating, Democratic President, Bill Clinton. It was the "third way" triangulator, Clinton, who set the stage for corporate outsourcing of American jobs when he signed the NAFTA agreement. Now it is the Democratic Obama who has ignored...turned his back on...average public union workers in Wisconsin....despite his chest thumping in 2007 about walking "on that picket line with you" if workers are being "denied their right to organize."
If a Democratic president will not stand up in defense of working Americans.....who in the hell will?
If a Democratic president will not stand up in defense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid....who in the hell will?
And if Democrats will no longer defend American workers or the American safety net.....what will become of our once-proud nation? Anyone have an optimistic answer?