Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brief thoughts on the Wisconsin recall elections

Six hugely expensive and energetic state Senate recall elections took place yesterday in Wisconsin; two more remain to go next week. Result so far? The state where I live, work, spend, vote, pay taxes, donate money, volunteer my time, and raise my children is still extremely polarized, and too often aggressively, intolerantly so -- but in the state Senate, at least, it is also slightly more balanced between those two poles. If I were an optimist, I'd hope that both sides might now better work together to develop effective governing policy for all citizens (not just their paying campaign supporters), through responsible and constructive political compromise (where citizens are given time to understand and comment on legislative proposals, and legislators are compelled to follow proper procedure in debating and voting on them), rather than a situation where the current side holding power demolishes those same structures of governance and compromise (such as democratic worker unions, checks on corporate campaign spending, and competitive electoral districts) simply to preserve their own power position.

Today I choose to be an optimist, and to imagine better.


  1. Your idealism is showing.

    I'd like to believe we could even agree to disagree on these issues, but the fact is that the results here will polarize both ends of the political spectrum even more. Walker and friends will see this a vindication and continue their program against state workers, education and the middle class.

    Dems will see the that brass knuckle approach to politics beat two incumbent republicans in very red districts, and put them in striking distance of a couple more.

    If the $31 million dollar comes out accurately, you're looking at almost $90 of spending per vote. That's unsustainable in democratic (note the small d) terms, and will only raise the stakes in states like Wisconsin with a closely divided electorate

  2. Anonymous9:09 AM

    Here's where I think we're stuck: at the Federal level we're really busy criticizing Obama for continuing to compromise and reach across the aisle. But in our home state we want people to work together and take the greater balance to mean we want more compromise.
    How do we promote both agendas?