Why the Wisconsin defeat isn’t an omen for Obama


5:25 am - June 7th 2012

by John B    


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After a massively high-spending recall campaign in Wisconsin, union-busting Republican governor Scott Walker has held onto power with a slightly increased majority. But he lost control of the state senate.

Naturally, the oh-so-left-wing US media are spinning this as Terrible Democrat Defeat, Disaster Due for Obama in November, etc.

It has been pointed out in various places that the Walker campaign spent $7 for every $1 his opponent could muster. But this is not really a feasible plan for the November election (not even for someone with Mitt Romney’s wallet).

Admittedly, this figure is slightly unfair: the difference isn’t as stark when you also consider interest groups which campaigned indirectly.

Some quick-and-dirty analysis on CNN’s handy “who gave what” piece shows that we have:

Walker $30.5m
Named R lobby groups $16.9m
Estimated R lobby groups* $0.8m
Total R $48.2m (71% of total)

Barrett $3.9m
Named D lobby groups $14.9m
Estimated D lobby groups* $0.7m
Total D $19.4 (29% of total)

So the Republicans only need to manage to outspend the Democrats by 2.5:1 in November.

They’ll also need a charismatic candidate who’s become popular among independents (17% of Walker voters currently say they’ll go for Obama in November) through being fiscally right-wing but avoiding the social culture war.

Given Mitt Romney, and the choice of running mates available, that’ll be nice and easy for them.

The Wisconsin defeat is a bad day for the people of Wisconsin, and for the organised labour movement in the US. But it’s certainly not going to go down in history as a terrible moment for Obama.


* The “estimate” is where I’ve split the outside donations that aren’t named to specific groups between the parties according to the split of named groups. If you ignore it instead, you get 72%/28%.

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About the author
John Band is a journalist, editor and market analyst, depending on who's asking and how much they're paying. He's also been a content director at a publishing company and a strategy consultant. He is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy and also blogs at Banditry.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,The Left ,Trade Unions ,United States

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Reader comments


Well, if the people of Wisconsin are stupid enough to vote for and demand the shaft, then they should get the shaft, good and hard.

I think Rick Klein’s analysis on ABC News was best – polling on the day showed that the majority of voters had made their minds up several weeks before election (making the money spent almost worthless) and in addition the majority of voters felt it was important to stick by the incumbent governor and did not feel the recall system should be used except where there are allegations of misuse of office.

It’s also worth noting that this was a vote AGAINST unions, who were campaigning for such things as unionised workers being forced to buy their health insurance through the unions, at increased cost when compared to buying it directly. Walker changed this. This was purely and simply the unions looking after their own interests, rather than the interests of the state OR the workers they represent.

I think you kid yourself if you think the money won’t have an affect in the Presidential election. We are now in the era of citizens united. The Koch brothers alone have promised to spend the same as the total spend of McCain in 2008. That is why the union busting is so important to the right. The Dems will soon only be able to raise big money from the 1% elites. And in return they will have to sing the 1% elite song. In essence this is what Obama has done. Hence why no bankers have been put in prison. Why the illegal foreclosure of peoples houses has been ignored by the justice department. Why Obama went back on his support for single payer health insurance, and his deal with big insurance and pharmaceutical industries. He has also kepthuge Bush tax cuts for the 1%.

Add in the massive voter fraud that is being undertaken in Florida by republican gov to strip black voters from the voting rolls. Obama is going to find it difficult to get the same enthusiasm from is on the ground supporters on the ground as thet are disappointed and dissatisfied. He will also struggle to raise money in small amounts from millios of supporters. At this stage I would bet on him loosing at the moment. And if the world economy gets worse he will have no chance.

Tyler:

“such things as unionised workers being forced to buy their health insurance through the unions, at increased cost when compared to buying it directly.”

You’re wilfully ignoring the most basic and reasonable demand of the unions: the continued right to bargain collectively on pay or working conditions with employers, without which the union cannot meaningfully exist. From now on workers in Wisconsin will have to accept whatever pay and conditions their employers choose to offer them.

By the way, this is a bit of a lab test for your ideology. If unions are the menace to the economy that you always seem to think they are, we’re sure to see a huge surge in economic growth in Wisconsin in the next couple of years comparative to other US states.

Pointless arguing with Tyler. He has been wrong on almost every issue. Most people would be ashamed to continue with a track record as bad as he has. But he, like his corporate masters have no shame.

Duncan @2: on the “made up minds in advance thing”, well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

It’s one of the unfortunate things about polling, you can only capture what people believe about what they used to think, not what they did (when online survey panels have actually tracked people over time, they’ve found massive discrepancies between, e,g “how did you vote in 2005” asked in 2005 and in 2008). The money is hugely important, and if it does shift someone’s views over time, they’re likely to pretend their new candidate is always the one they supported.

On the “voters hate recalls when they’re standard political bollocks rather than corruption or malfeasance” – maybe, but that didn’t save Gray Davis, did it?

John B,

The “oh-so-left-wing US media” as you call them have supported him ever since he became Democrat candidate in 2008 so it’s a bit rich to imply they are biased against him for finally breaking rank to try and preserve some credibility.

“But it’s certainly not going to go down in history as a terrible moment for Obama.”

Some people, perhaps you included, will be telling us Obama only wanted to serve a single term as the Republicans are voted in this coming November. They will also be telling us: Failure = Success, Potential = Achievements, Dithering = Thoughtfulness, Self interests = National interest, Hope = Change.

Let’s face it Obama had an enormous mandate and considerable good will as well and he blew it in the first year.

When people talk about the left wing media in the US you know not to take them seriously. The media is overwhelming right of centre. That is because it is corporate owned. You only have to see the republican bias on the sunday morning political shows to see how non left wing they are.

Even the non republican commentators are part of the mushy middle ground that is for endless compromise with the far right wing politicians. The Friedman’s, the Brooks’s They backed the wars, they backed the bush tax cuts, they backed the bail outs of the elites. And they support full on austerity. (Just as long as it is not them that have to sacrifice.)

In short, whatever the story, it’s always good news for Republicans. Obama wasted his first 2 years. And for all he moderate policies, and backing of the elites, they will still spend billions to defeat him. The DNC backed the corporates and they won’t be thanked for it.

10. thoughtful

John B

you have managed something surprising in attempting and succeeding to construct an argument aas illogical and as ill-supported as anything that Sally could produce. That is worth some kind of prize.

“commenter misnamed”.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why Wisconsin isn't an omen for Obama http://t.co/TUo5106o

  2. Jason Brickley

    Why Wisconsin isn’t an omen for Obama http://t.co/scrfmgMh

  3. James Ball

    RT @libcon Why Wisconsin isn't an omen for Obama http://t.co/FyX79Fjm <- However, biggest Romney PAC has outspent biggest Obama PAC 9:1.

  4. Thomas Milman

    Why Wisconsin isn’t an omen for Obama | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/oG4rz5ob via @libcon

  5. Wessel van Rensburg

    RT @libcon Why Wisconsin isn't an omen for Obama http://t.co/FyX79Fjm <- However, biggest Romney PAC has outspent biggest Obama PAC 9:1.

  6. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Why the Wisconsin defeat isn’t an omen for Obama http://t.co/3Plx0c34

  7. sunny hundal

    Why the defeat for Democrats in Wisconsin isn't a bad omen for Obama http://t.co/9W6CWxmf

  8. Matthew S. Dent

    A very interesting view on the Wisconsin recall result and why doesn't (necessarily) mean an Obama defeat http://t.co/stezdQyu (via @libcon)

  9. House Of Twits

    RT @sunny_hundal Why the defeat for Democrats in Wisconsin isn't a bad omen for Obama http://t.co/2RxOgf9Y

  10. David Vance

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @sunny_hundal Why the defeat for Democrats in Wisconsin isn't a bad omen for Obama http://t.co/jh6wcNkY >Delusionalism

  11. Chris Merle

    Why the defeat for Democrats in Wisconsin isn't a bad omen for Obama http://t.co/9W6CWxmf

  12. Mr Creek

    Why Wisconsin isn't an omen for Obama http://t.co/TUo5106o

  13. John B

    SCORE TO FUCK http://t.co/pe1p6Nsz





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