People vote their pocketbook and their deepest convictions. Economics, abortion, gun rights and distaste for the opposing party are the four factors, broadly defined, that figure prominently in any election. The Walker recall attempt only involved two, economics and opponent distaste. Economics was the determining factor.
When campaigning for office in 2009, Scott Walker pledged to bring down the cost of state government and to deliver on the economy. He did both. Imagine that, a politician who keeps his promises. It didn’t go unnoticed. Wisconsin’s unionized government workers were among the very highest paid in any state and so far above their private sector equivalents that a sense of unfairness prevailed among the voters. Why should I subsidize a government worker with my tax dollars when he or she already makes more than I do for the same work?
Unemployment in Wisconsin is 6.7%, far below the 8.2% national average. On a per capita basis that translates to nearly 20% fewer people out of work in the state.
A lot was at stake here and everyone knew it. An all out effort to defeat Walker was made by the unions and the Democratic Party. The campaign was vicious at times and turned downright dirty when desperate Democrats introduced an unsubstantiated rumor at the last minute that Walker had fathered a child out of wedlock. Feelings of opponent distaste ran high. Nevertheless, some 11% of self declared Democrats voted for the Republican. Fair is fair.
Wisconsin is a blue state. Some pundits now say it will be in play in November. I don’t know. But one thing is sure; the wind is blowing our way.