Saturday, April 9, 2016

So, What Just Exactly Happened In Wisconsin On Tuesday?

This past Tuesday, the eyes of the nation were on Wisconsin while they had their spring elections. The nation was watching because of the presidential primary and saw that Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz won their respective party primaries.

What the rest of the country might have missed was what happened with the down ticket races. Wisconsinites also voted for a state supreme court justice and numerous county, municipal and school board seats.

And that's where it gets a bit peculiar.

The supreme court contest was unfortunately won by the corrupt, unqualified and unpleasant Rebecca Bradley, Scott Walker's hand-picked appointee and the dark money candidate. In another bigger race, Milwaukee County Emperor Executive Chris Abele, the billionaire's son, spent enough of his daddy's money to buy that election. (To show just how unpopular he is, he had to spend more than $5 million on the race, which came out to be about $35.00 per vote. That is unheard of for a local position.)

But then, as one gets further down the ballot for the even smaller races, the progressives won a majority of them.

At first glance, it would appear that the problem was that people who came out for Bernie did not vote down the ballot. This was especially true in Milwaukee County (which, by the way, is the only of the 72 counties Bernie lost).

But when the bigger numbers are looked at, the number of people that didn't vote down ballot was about the same for each party.

What was noteworthy is that the turnout for Republicans was much higher than for Democrats, especially in the greater Milwaukee area and which probably explains why the results were as there were.

It can also be explained as a combination of two factors.

One was the concentrated anti-Trump movement which was focused mostly on the Republican establishment's stronghold of the WOW counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington). Unsurprisingly, Cruz was the strongest in this area, as was Bradley.

This focus on the WOW counties spilled over into the western suburbs in Milwaukee County, which could also again explain the high numbers in the area for Bradley and the conservative Abele.

Added to this ramped up GOTV effort by the GOP establishment was the fact that not as many progressives were allowed to vote due to the voter suppression laws now in place. That is why Congresscritter Glenn Grothman was bragging about it and a former GOP staffer went public with his calling out of this reprehensible law for what it is.

While the Republicans are trying to say that the high turnout showed that the voter suppression law had no effect, it actually shows that it had a very big effect. Presidential elections, including the primary, is about the only time that the Democrats do turn out in force for an election.

In fact, when compared to 2008, the Democratic turnout dropped by nearly ten percent. For the same time frame, the Republicans saw a jaw-dropping 168.5% increase in turnout. Now the change in the right wing voters can easily be explained when their candidates were John McCain and Sarah Palin. Add to it that McCain said that the economy was strong just as the Bush/Cheney recession blew up and, well, who would be excited to try to fight for that mess?

On the other hand, the Democratic Party as a whole seems to have forgotten what good messaging is. In Wisconsin, we're not even sure if they know what messaging - good or bad - is. The Wisconsin Democrats have excelled at one thing though - alienating anyone who is not part of the establishment.

Despite what explanation or explanations the gentle reader might prefer to subscribe to, the end result is the same. Like a power play in hockey, where a player on one team is sitting while the other team is in full force, the Republicans knocked out a large segment of Democratic voters while amping up their own efforts.

The result is these odd and lopsided results.


  1. The respective turnouts in each party's Presidential primary vs 2008 are rather understandable though.

    On the Republican side, McCain hadn't quite put away the nomination when Wisconsin voted in 2008, but was certainly the frontrunner even if not quite the apparent nominee.

    On the Democratic side, the Obama-Clinton race was definitely a completely live one in 2008 with everything still to play for.

    In 2016 Sanders outperformed polling averages by 10%, suggesting that there may well have been roughly 100,000 Clinton supporters who simply figured that she has the nomination in the bag and therefore there wasn't any point in turning out (and so quite possibly costing Kloppenburg the SC race by 90,000 votes).

  2. Perfect: "The Wisconsin Democrats have excelled at one thing though - alienating anyone who is not part of the establishment."

    1. You may recall that in her stump speech Lanning waived the Progressive flag. Her actual performance has been decidedly pro-establishment, Something I warned about after having observed her 9th district Senate campaign.

  3. It has also been noted that many more Sanders voters also skipped voting in the SC race compared to HRC voters.
    I think I can understand that as Sanders is bringing in a lot of new - mostly younger - voters who were probably not invested in the other races they way they were inspired by Sanders.
    Win or lose, we need to look at the success and inroads Sanders has made to voter apathy and consider how this would affect politics in Wisconsin if we only had his parallel here.
    As it turns out Progressive-ism is a pretty hot commodity but the WDP has still not figured that out despite the campaign promises of the chair.

    1. Well if I am to believe the unverifiable and proprietary conventional wisdom that it was Bernie Sanders voters that cost Kloppenburg the Supreme Court Race (which you have bought into without evidence and totally ignoring demonstrable election fraud in Wisconsin), then the net effect of having a "parallel" Bernie Sanders here is that no one would ever vote for any race on the ballot but his!

      Parroting the media propaganda does not make a good argument...

    2. That isn't what the point of Bernie's comment was. Progressivism is what is bringing people out to vote for the dems, even while there is voter suppression. If we want people to vote down ticket we have to educate them and get them excited to vote at all levels. I personally don't vote in elections where I don't feel I have enough information about the candidates. If I can find enough, I'll vote. But, in most cases, there isn't anything out there.