Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Judging Wisconsin

4/07 UpdateIn comments below, ubetiam points out info that I already received from my lovely wife:  that "Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus said more than 14,000 votes weren't reported to The Associated Press on Tuesday due to "human error." Nickolaus previously worked for a GOP caucus that was under the control of Justice David Prosser, who was speaker of the Assembly at the time and who now stands to benefit from the clerk's error."

It is, of course, of no consequence whatsoever that Nickolaus is a staunchly partisan Rethug with close ties to Prosser and a record of both gross incompetence and performance that one could politely call ethically suspect.

But, as I hope I have made plain below, in the grand scheme of things, none of this matters.  As a nation, we are on a path to undo every gain society has made since the enlightenment.  This won't necessarily lead to an exact duplication of 12th century feudalism.  But it will lead to a latter-day near-equivalent.  It's exact size, shape, flavor and degree of charm are yet to be determined.  But once you start sacrificing your freedoms, wealth, and quality of life to the moneyed elite, you don't get them back again until after the next bloody revolution.

We are thoroughly screwed, and a significant portion of the American population is really just fine with that.
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The off-off-year election in Wisconsin had been billed as a referendum on the person and policies of recently elected Rethug Governor, Koch Brothers Servitor, and infamous college drop-out Scott Walker.  I believe this is true.  Such an election, in normal times, would be a sleepy affair with voter turnout in the low 20% range.  Instead, we see a whopping 33.5 %!  To me, this still indicates an apathy rate in the high 60's, despite national media attention and a great deal of out of State election funding - mostly from right wingers.

Though a recount is a forgone conclusion*, it seems that Democratic challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg has defeated Rethug incumbent State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser by about 200 votes.  Out of 1.5 million. That's a victory margin on the order of 0.013%.  Wisconsin Democrats are ecstatic.

I am not.

Wisconsin is a State where the labor movement has very deep roots.  Walker's agenda is aggressively (and regressively) anti-Union, anti-labor, anti-middle class.   His techniques border on are authoritarian and seriously flirt with illegality.

Under these circumstances, Prosser should get no greater percentage of the vote than the total of tea-baggers, libertards, and purblind Rethugs in the population.  These groups ought not total anywhere close to 40%, let alone 49.87. 49.987!

The 33.5 % turnout is far less than the approximately 50% that turned out to select Walker by a 52/47 margin.

This race has far-reaching implications for the future of Wisconsin, the labor movement, and the country as a whole.  And 2 out of 3 voters blew it off.  Half of the ones who showed up selected Walker's man.

Even if Klappenburg survives the recall - by no means a sure thing - this is a dismal result.

As I pointed out yesterday, for serfdom (or whatever its 21st century equivalent turns out to be) to take hold, the people have to be complicit or coerced.  My reading of this election is that we either welcome our billionaire overlords with at least semi-open arms, or simply don't give a shit.

Either way, we are doomed.

And that's without even considering the impending government shut-down.

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* UPDATE: Prosser is expected to file for a recount tomorrow (Thus. 4/07.) This should be over by the middle of May!?!

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5 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

As long as only a third of the eligible voters vote, we will continue to be screwed by the republicorps.

ubetiam said...

It's even worse now. It seems that a clerk, who keeps all of the election results on her personal computer (even though an auditor told her it was a bad idea) AND NOWHERE ELSE, "found" 13,000 previously uncounted votes, giving Prosser a large lead. Large enough that Ms. Kloppenberg will probably have to pay to have a recount done. Oh, the clerk is a republican in one of the reddest counties in the state.

Southern Beale said...

... in the grand scheme of things, none of this matters. As a nation, we are on a path to undo every gain society has made since the enlightenment. ...

Well none of THAT matters because we're about to bake our planet to oblivion.

Cheers!

purplepenquin said...

While Wisconsin is known for progressive roots, it is also known as the state that elected McCarthy to Congress. Feelings...both pro and con...when it comes to unions & organized labor runs very, very deep and often go back for several generations.

BadTux said...

The majority of Americans simply don't care who leads them. All they care about is that *someone* is doing the heavy thinking for them. Because thinking makes their head hurt.

I correctly predicted that George W. Bush would win re-election in 2004. When a friend said, "How can that dummy, that disaster, win again?!" I pointed out to him, "50% of Americans are below average, and average ain't so smart anymore." I.e., between the dunces and the top 1% who were benefitting from Junior's policies, you had the 51% needed to win an election.

Given that reality, we see the sort of pandering to the least common denominator that dominates American politics today. Because the majority of (potential) voters neither understand nor care about issues, elections become personality contests where the goal of each candidate is to make the other candidate look like an axe murderer and make him or her look like the second coming of Jesus Christ (well, not Jesus Christ, that notorious commie, but at least George Washington). Because the majority of voters don't even care to vote on that basis, the most opinionated and bigoted end up having the heaviest turnout, because they are the ones who find motivation enough to break away from the latest episode of American Idolotry and actually bubble in their votes.

And We The People get the government we want -- and deserve. And those of us who *do* care about issues, who *do* care about facts, who *don't* get a headache when we try to think... well. We're just eggheads and intellec-chuals, we don't count, almost literally.

- Badtux the WASF Penguin