Nathan Sass

What Walker’s Win Really Means

In 2012 Elections, Fox News, Politics, Scott Walker, Tea Party, WI Budget Battle on June 7, 2012 at 6:00 AM

I spent much of late Tuesday night watching the replays of the national media coverage of the results of the Recall of Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and I noticed something.

Most of the people I was watching sounded very out of touch. Let’s just say they ain’t from around here.

Charles Krauthammer was the most outspoken on the topic of what Walker’s huge win means.

With all due respect, I think Fox News would have been better off asking me.  After all, I predicted this outcome starting almost immediately after Walker proposed Act 10 and repeated it regularly.

The following list of previous posts on this site demonstrates two things.

1) Tuesday night’s win by Walker did not come as a surprise to those of us who understand Wisconsin politics, and 2) the national pundits have little clue about how things were developing in WI so they should hardly be considered “experts” on what will happen going forward.

Why Walker has Already Won in Madison – 2/22/2011

Walker Wins the Prank Call Skirmish – 2/24/2011

Who Are Unions Really Fighting For In WI? – 2/25/2011

Kloppenburg Loses “on the River” – 4/8/2011

A Battle For the Ages in Wisconsin – 1/6/2012

The Democrats’ WI Problem – 1/13/2012

Wisconsin – Always on The Cutting Edge of Politics – 4/12/2012

Dem’s Suit on Fake Candidates Shows Electoral Weakness – 4/13/2012

Scott Walker is (Still) Winning in Madison – 4/18/2012

When Krauthammer was asked how Walker’s win would impact the November Presidential race in Wisconsin he responded that “Wisconsin is still a progressive state and Walker’s win doesn’t mean that Obama is in trouble in Wisconsin.”

Sorry Charlie, you are 100% dead wrong on that one.

True, Wisconsin once was a progressive state, but that was before some things developed here behind the Cheddar Curtain.  Wisconsin is not nearly as heavily industrial as it once was, and with that reduction in manufacturing has come a reduction in union membership and influence.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (source) the percentage of union members in the workforce is down from 20.9 in 1989 to 13.3 in 2011.  Union membership is actually down in real terms to from 456,000 to 339,000.  Those numbers are likely to go down even further as public employees exercise their freedom to leave unions under Act 10.

This change alone accounts for a gradual “reddening” of Wisconsin in that same period, but there are other factors contributing to the conversion of the electorate as well.

Wisconsin has seen it largest city, Milwaukee, decline slightly in population since 1992
(-33,000), while suburban, and heavily conservative areas like Waukesha County (+100,000), Washington County (+35,000) and Ozaukee County (+13,000)  have grown over that same period. (source)

Furthermore, even Milwaukee County is not the solid blue mass it once was, given the growth in the more conservative suburban communities surrounding the City of Milwaukee.

Lest we forget, Scott Walker was actually the County Executive of Milwaukee County before he was the Governor of Wisconsin.

This migration of population has impacts on voting patterns.  None of the growing “Red Ring Counties” around Milwaukee are any less favorable to the GOP now than they were in 1989.

Now, in the wake of Act 10 and Democrat blocking of Mining reform, the northern half of the state which once was a swing area is more reliably red, also.  Walker won all but a handful of counties in the north of the state, including Brown Co. which contains Green Bay.

The newly drawn district lines based on this population shift all but assure GOP control of one or both legislative bodies for the next 10 years, meaning more focus can be placed on down ticket races and developing an even more effective volunteer network.

When you add up all the changes in Wisconsin in the last 20+ years it leads to one conclusion.  Wisconsin is turning redder every day.

Oh, and there is one other thing to add to the mix, and it’s a biggie:  Voter ID.

Wisconsin was perhaps the easiest state in the US to commit voter fraud in.  Tuesday night reports were all over of people registering to vote on election day in Milwaukee with nothing more than a hand written index card.

After Voter ID is back in place (and it will be before November), it will be much harder to “manufacture” tens of thousands of voters in Milwaukee or Madison when the Democrat machine needs some more votes.

The results of the recall election spell the end of the old “progressive Wisconsin” and the birth of the new “conservative Wisconsin”.  The unions, once the ultimate force in Wisconsin politics, are neutered, near broke, and now powerless.  They cannot simply buy elections for Democrats any longer, and their membership is fleeing them in droves.

Worse yet for Democrats, they have almost no where else to go for big money in the state right now.  Private sector unions are weaker than the public sector ones are, and there is little in the way of bleeding heart billionaires in Wisconsin.

Our über wealthy in this state tend to the conservative (i.e. John Menard, Diane Hendricks, Imogene Powers Johnson, Helen Johnson-Leipold and Herb Kohler – not to be confused with the fossilized remains of Sen. Herb Kohl).  Democrats can’t count on a “George Soros lite” in America’s Dairyland to save the day for the them.

Even if there was a mythical sugar daddy for the left, the Democrat party has no bench strength right now.  If there were another race for governor starting tomorrow, they wouldn’t even be able to field 2 respectable candidates, and the one they could, Russ Feingold, lost his last race in a rout to Ron Johnson.  Kind of reminds me of the old days when the Brewers had no talent in the majors and none in the farm system, either.

Romney has every reason to believe he can win in Wisconsin.  In fact, I dare say he is the favorite right now, polls be damned.  If he makes his case with the voters here, and builds on the solid foundations Walker has laid, he could very well win the state with a healthier margin than Walker enjoyed last night.

When you add in the tremendous conservative grass-roots organization now in place in Wisconsin, with almost every Republican voter already identified, Romney is sitting on a tremendous advantage in an extremely important swing state.  It’s almost absurd to believe that Obama, representing nationally exactly what Walker has corrected in Wisconsin, is somehow untouchable in this ever more red state.

Romney can bring a message of reform and fiscal restraint to a state filled with people who are now living that on a daily basis, and are no longer easily frightened by the usual scare tactics used by the left.  Wisconsin is spending less, and the world is not ending here.  Most voters will conclude that the same thing is true in Washington D.C.

The national press never does know what to make of my beloved home state.  They either see us as country rubes on a farm, or old fashioned union loving factory workers.  Truth is, we aren’t either of those any more, and haven’t been in a long time.

Wisconsin is now a new and exciting place, probably 10 years ahead of many other states in the transition away from the old failed progressive thinking.

That’s pretty fitting, because that old tired progressivism started here, so it stands to reason we would be the first to leave it behind.

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