The election of 1856 was hotly contested throughout the North, with state after state switching from Democratic control to that of the new found Republican party. The Democrat incumbent Governor of Wisconsin, William A Barstow, was initially declared the winner of the contest by a mere 157 votes. The Republicans cried fraud. Democrats and Republicans formed rival militia units and began to converge on Madison, determined to fight if the “wrong” candidate were sworn in as governor. Both Barstow and his Republican rival, Coles Bashford, were sworn in as governor in dueling inauguration ceremonies on January 7, 1857. Civil War seemed all but certain.
The Wisconsin Attorney General now filed a writ of Quo Warranto seeking the removal of Barstow from office on the grounds that he was fraudulently elected. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on the matter, and, sure enough, evidence was produced that Barstow owed his margin of victory from “returns” from non-existent precincts in the sparsely settled northern part of the young state. Barstow, who had initially said that he would not give up the governorship alive, ultimately decided that public opinion was running against him and resigned on March 21, 1857. His Lieutenant Governor now was sworn in and stated that he would be the Governor come what may. On March 25, the Supreme Court ruled that Bashford had won the election with a vote total of 1009. The Lieutenant Governor/Governor decamped from Madison with his supporters and Bashford was recognized by the Wisconsin legislature as Governor. Continue reading
this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no
pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism
can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
O’Keefe’s associates began cancelling meetings with him and declining to take his calls, reasonably fearful that merely associating with him could make them targets of the investigation. O’Keefe was forced to abandon fundraising for the Club because he could no longer guarantee to donors that their identities would remain confidential, could not (due to the Secrecy Order) explain to potential donors the nature of the investigation, could not assuage donors’ fears that they might become targets themselves, and could not assure donors that their money would go to fund advocacy rather than legal expenses. The Club was also paralyzed. Its officials could not associate with its key supporters, and its funds were depleted. It could not engage in issue advocacy for fear of criminal sanction.
Unions spent north of $30 million* in a recall effort in Wisconsin in order to gain control of the state senate. Six Republican senators faced recall elections, and the Democrats needed to win three in order to win control of the upper house. They won two. What’s more, two senate Democrats face recall elections next week, and the GOP has a good chance to win at least one of those two races. So, in the end, the unions would have spent $30 million to gain a whopping one seat. Not a very good return on investment.
Evidently the “news” team at MSNBC was trying to spin this as a victory for Democrats, but that strains credulity past the breaking point. Of the two seats they won, one was in a fairly Democratic district and the other involved a scandal-plagued senator. In fact, as Ed Morrissey suggests, this should be seen as a big defeat for big labor.
Next Tuesday, two more recall elections take place for the state Senate, this time two of the fleabagger seats, thanks to the reaction from the GOP to the union’s efforts to recall Republicans. It’s possible that the unions will go 0 for 3 in 2011 and end up handing back the two pickups they got last night. The unions will have ended up spending millions to end up right where they began — locked out of Madison — while adding a powerful display of electoral impotence to their brand. They have discredited themselves with Wisconsin voters in a way that Walker and the GOP couldn’t possibly have planned, the victim of their own arrogance in attempting to overturn elections for no other reason that protecting their own featherbeds.
Markos Moulitsas is pushing the kool-aid that this is a progressive victory over at Daily Kos. It’s actually kind of cute to see a man so delusional.
Beyond Wisconsin, if we can enjoy a similar “loss rate” in Republican-held districts (picking up 33 percent of them), Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a huge majority in 2013.
Yes, because the rate of victory in a special election in one state featuring roughly 1/5 of one legislative chamber is clearly a sign of things to come.
It’s going to be a long year, and tens of millions of dollars of Koch money (in addition to hundreds of millions more from Rove and allies) are going to force us to fight like hell for every inch of territory. They won’t cede it willingly or fairly. They’ll do their best to cheat or buy whenever they feel they can’t win fairly.
This is going to be the rallying cry for progressives. As always, they complain when people besides themselves actually spend money and campaign against their interests. I get a particular sense of amusement from the bellyaching about the evil Koch brothers, because it’s not like the Democrats have their own deep-pocketed sugar daddy, right? And really, do guys like Kos want to talk about cheating to win elections?
But I can understand Kos’s wishful thinking. They were on the precipice of revolution. That revolution was halted in the fall of 2010. This election was to mark the turnaround that jumpstarted that revolution. The good people of Wisconsin were to throw off the shackles of their tyrannical GOP overlords and send a stinging rebuke to the heart of that evil monster Scott Walker. The people would finally join the progressives and take the necessary step to inch them closer to the utopia.
And then the people of Wisconsin sort of yawned and said they’ll keep the government that they have, thank you very much.
Dagger. So what’s left to do? Admit defeat? Acknowledge that maybe the populace isn’t as enamored with your lofty plans as you’d like? What are you crazy? No, it’s time to just double down, retrench, and like Homer Simpson cry out that “It’s still good! It’s still good!”
Whatever you say, Markos.
*: $30 million figure seems to be a combined spending figure. Union amount was in the $15 million range, give or take. Still a lot invested for little return.
There’s been some dispute in Catholic circles of late whether the Wisconsin bishops have come out on the side of the public sector unions in the current union dispute in Wisconsin. Bishop Morlino of the Diocese of Madison has effectively answered that question himself in a column today entitled “Clarifying the Fairness Issue”:
Believe it or not, I frequently try to avoid weighing in-on certain situations. However, the recent happenings in our state capital with regard to legislation about labor union practices beg for a comment. In this column, I simply want to point out how a well-informed conscience might work through the dilemma which the situation poses.
Should one support or oppose the legislation which regulates union procedures? The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) has chosen a neutral stance because the present dilemma comes down to either a choice for the common good, of sacrifice on the part of all, at times that pose immense economic threats, both present and future on the one hand, and on the other hand, a choice for the rights of workers to a just compensation for services rendered, and to the upholding of contracts legally made. As Catholics, we see both of these horns of the dilemma as good, and yet the current situation calls many of us to choose between these two goods. Thus the WCC has taken a neutral stance, and this is the point of Archbishop Listecki’s recent statement, which I have echoed. Continue reading
Considering that the a public school teacher in Wisconsin receives total compensation of $100,000/yr (salary + benefits), they are a selfish bunch with no respect for the general public–whom they serve.
Cartoon by Bok
A roundup of recent political news.
1. Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35. She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism. She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year. She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.
2. Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1. This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.
3. The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop. Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.
The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.
Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.
(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)
The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)