Democratic Gains In Wisconsin Recall Election Advance Progressive Politics

Pay no attention to the media reports of the Wisconsin recall election being a big win for the GOP.  It was not.

John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine and Wisconsin native has been reporting from Wisconsin ever since the people occupied the state capitol last March. Tuesday evening, after the recall election results were in, Democrats were two votes stronger in the Wisconsin Senate.  Nichols, the go-to guy for Wisconsin political analysis, reported on Democracy Now! Wednesday morning:

“They’re [the rest of the media] missing the real story of what happened yesterday in Wisconsin. Democrats and progressive groups, labor especially, took on six entrenched Republican incumbents in districts that were drawn to elect Republicans and that, in some cases, have elected Republicans steadily for more than a century. So, this fight was played out on the turf of conservative Republicans. With that reality, you saw two Democrats win.

But here’s the really important backstory on this. When the State Senate was wrestling with these issues back in February and March, there was one Republican state senator, a fellow named Dale Schultz from out in rural southwestern Wisconsin, who refused to go along with the other Republicans on any of the labor issues. He stood on the floor alone and objected to what the Republicans are doing. If you add the 16 Democratic senators now and Dale Schultz together, while you don’t have a Democratic majority in the State Senate, you now have a 17-16 pro-labor majority. So something significant happened last night.

This is not to say that everything that’s happened up to this point in Wisconsin is going to be reversed. But what people do need to understand is Governor Scott Walker took a hit last night. And depending on how Dale Schultz, this maverick Republican, operates, there is a possibility that his efforts to advance further anti-labor laws, like a right-to-work law, as well as efforts to privatize education, will be stalled because of the votes last night. So even though Democrats didn’t win, I think progressive politics made a real advance…”

(click here to watch the full interview at Democracy Now!)



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