Despite the obstacles, tired activists and voters in Wisconsin are motivated by a chance to make history with the recalls.
Here we go! May 8 is the primary for what may well be the most important and quite possibly the last democratic election we will participate in in this century. Make the most of it. A strong argument could be made that the last meaningful election took place a year ago before the full weight of the Supreme Court’s crazy “corporations are people” decision.
Why this doom and gloom? The U.S. Supreme Court’s awful democracy-killing decision in Citizens United plus voter suppression is a yellow caution flag. Check out Friday's announcement of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce's $2 million TV ad buy supporting Governor Scott Walker and the million-dollar donation from David Koch to the Republican Governors Association, which is running ads backing Walker. Consider that as much as $50 million will be thrown against Tammy Baldwin as she works to keep Herb Kohl’s Senate seat in the Democratic column.
Walker has become the right wing’s poster boy and he can have all the money he wants. Estimates are that Walker and his allies will have more than $15 million to spend on TV and radio spots, robocalls, rallies, door knockers, you name it and they will turn out their solid voters. You can bet they know who will vote and who is tired of politics. So tired they will choose not to vote. Frankly, I am tired of warning about the evil of money in politics but none of us has the luxury of sitting this one out. In a week we will know which Democrat has earned the nomination to oppose Walker. Fortunately, this has been a wide-open primary. Absent the primary there would have been no coverage by the mainstream media.
Voters cannot complain. Four good people stepped up to the plate; they all worked hard, participated in many debates and forums, and no matter which candidate wins, the winner has been assured that the other three will work hard to elect the primary winner. The primary has been civil, educational and passionate. Despite the money that flows to Walker, the series of events from the uprising to the People’s Legislature, good court decisions on voter ID, and some pretty solid work by the Government Accountability Board add up to a chance to beat Walker. In two years that chance may be gone as even more money comes into the process. There is a limited amount of money available for progressives, but there is no limit on the amount available to the tea party types.
Get out and vote next Tuesday and then again on June 5. Now and then we have a chance to change the direction of our country. Now and then we make history. Over 900,000 recall signatures made history. The first gubernatorial recall in our history is by definition history in the making. Join together and make history. Now is not the time to claim burnout or fatigue or pessimism. It is time to get to the polls and get your neighbors to the polls. Forget about David Koch — now is the time to focus on your efforts, not the megabucks controlled by the far right. There is plenty of time to plan reversal of Supreme Court decisions with a new governor.
Imagine the celebration when we win! That should keep the flame burning. Who knows, it just may encourage the Koch brothers to find a different hobby. Beat the money in 2012 and we just might turn this ship around.
(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
May 3, 2012
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Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.