I'm worried about Tuesday. Tuesday is election day, specifically Recall Day in Wisconsin. Months ago, when the energy was high and people felt they could tear the ears off a dungar, the recall of Governor Scott Walker looked like it would be a sure thing. More than enough petitions had been turned in, the courts had verified all of them despite efforts by the local GOP, and there had been a court cases against Walker's staff which seemed to indicate corruption in his office. Yes, it looked like history was going to be made in the state.
The tide has turned and the polls show it's too close to call, everything within the margin of error, with some having Walker ahead and some having his opponent ahead. What probably should have been a state concern, a state vote has grown into a national referendum with some suggesting what happens in Wisconsin could give implications of what will happen nationally in the fall.
What has me worried about Tuesday is exactly that. The Wisconsin recall election has grown into an indicator that it shouldn't be. Maybe it should have been treated with some importance early on, but the DNC was watching from afar, much like they did with the Occupy movement. They wanted this to be something just for the state; a referendum they could piggyback on without getting their fingerprints on it. The RNC, from the get go, made it personal. Republican heavy hitters have been in the state, money from outside sources have flooded the airwaves, RNC officials have commented on the race whenever a microphone has been in their face, and Fox News has treated the recall like a Presidential election.
The implications of the Wisconsin race reminds me of 2010 and the South Carolina Senate race. The DNC didn't want to put in the time to groom a candidate for the race because the assumption was Jim DeMint was going to win reelection. Just like Wisconsin they took a hands off approach, figuring that they would support Vic Rawl, the Democratic candidate who was figured as a shoe in for the Democratic slot. So you can imagine the surprise when Al Greene got the Democratic nomination. Imagine the embarrassment after many respected Democratic officials in the state went on TV and pretty much accused Al Greene of being a plant, then became quiet when it was revealed Al Greene had followed all the rules, was an authentic candidate and wasn't a plant.
Al Greene was a terrible candidate, of course got no support from the DNC and lost the race. I can't even remember the name of the Democratic challenger to Scott Walker. I know it is the same match up that happened in the fall of 2010 in which Walker won, but unless I look up his name I don't recall who he is. That is another problem I have with this situation. The Wisconsin voters have been subjected to a barrage of outside forces, both in money and star power, from the RNC. That push has brought them within striking distance of pushing back the recall. If Scott Walker were to win the election, despite the Wednesday morning quarterbacking that will go on it will be a severe blow to the DNC, and they will have no one to blame but themselves. Similar to South Carolina, they figured it would be easy, they wouldn't have to lift a finger and they could claim victory over something they have little to do with. What they didn't count on was if there was a loss, the Democrats of the state and supporters of the recall would rightly blame the DNC. They would point to the money and star power of the RNC and wonder aloud 'where were you DNC?' If Walker wins, as many pundits have predicted, this would be a blueprint for the RNC to follow in other states.
The estimates are the pro-Walker forces have outspent the recall people by 25 to 1. You can talk about grassroots efforts and getting people to the polls all you want, but if your message isn't getting out, if you are unable to show the public you are organized, that you have a plan and a candidate who can lead the state, you can't win. All the good intentions aside, money is the blood of politics and the DNC, no matter what the outcome is on Tuesday, has shown they are unwilling to lead. They are willing to take credit for the efforts of ordinary folks, then complain about the use of money when they fail.
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