UPDATE: Well, it wasn’t as long a night as I expected. The results were not as close as had been predicted in polling, and the whole thing was over pretty quickly. A mighty disappointing night, which was not made any better by the fact that the Miami Heat lost to the Boston Celtics – at home – and are now down 3-2 in the series. So I am quite the dejected chica this evening. Still, I am ready to take it all on again tomorrow and I hope my fellow Democrats are, too. The glass is still half full, y’all. 🙂
I haven’t written about the efforts to recall Scott Walker in Wisconsin, mainly because much has been written already and I genuinely had no useful insight to add to the debate. As the nation waits for the results tonight, however, I did feel the need to bring this topic up.
It’s been said that this recall vote will be a significant statement on the overall state of our nation’s politics. As goes Wisconsin, so goes the nation, according to many pundits and politicians alike. The press here in Florida have gotten in on the act as well, declaring that the Walker/Barrett race has implications in the Sunshine State, since there are similarities between Walker and our governor, Rick Scott. Commentators have been practically falling over one another in their efforts to hype this into a Don King-style battle royale, an epic, apocalyptic showdown that will take down Barrett, unions, President Obama and the entire progressive movement in one fell swoop if Walker retains his position.
But I’d like to throw a little water on this fire, if I may. Because as I see it, there are two probable realities headed our way:
1. Scott Walker will probably win tonight.
2. If he does, the Democrats and the president will probably survive.
I understand that many folks on the left felt the need to go full-throttle when discussing this recall election, because they wanted to motivate voters to get out there in big numbers to support Tom Barrett. I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever. Walker has done things in a manner that are not good for the state of worker’s rights or for the political process in general, and his heavy hand and single-minded approach are not something I care for at all. I would certainly love to see him rebuked at the ballot box for those maneuvers.
At the same time, I think it can be dangerous to use this same technique on a nationwide basis. If you need to get Wisconsin Democrats fired up, by all means, knock yourself out. But Florida voters don’t need to be told that, if Walker wins, we all may as well resign ourselves to Rick Scott and the Republicans for the rest of our lives. Democrats across the country don’t need to be told that, if Walker wins, that indicates doom for President Obama and his chances in the general election. Similarly, if Barrett is victorious, that’s no guarantee that there is enough support for the Democratic platform nationwide to become smug and complacent. This is a vote in one state, and one state only, being decided by people with a very specific set of issues that directly affect them where they live. The way this thing has been played up in the media, though, it is the Brawl to Settle It All, and whoever wins will have struck a major blow against the other side on a national scale.
I’d just like to interject something into all the hollering and hype. It’s going to be a close vote and a long night, if polls taken over the past week are in any way accurate. So while we wait for the results to start coming in, Democrats, take a deep breath. The sky is not falling. And this is June, not November. If Scott Walker wins tonight, it doesn’t mean that Mitt Romney is a shoo-in and Obama will lose the general. Hell, it doesn’t even mean he’ll lose Wisconsin; exit polls in Wisconsin so far are indicating that there’s a small edge in support for the president over Romney. That state is still very much in play, and so is every other state where there are active and organized Democrats willing to support the president. Let’s hope for the best, steel ourselves for the worst, and then be prepared to follow the exact same course of action, no matter what the outcome may be tonight – getting fired up, getting voters in our area fired up, and doing what we can to support the Democratic candidates who will be on the ballot in November. The race isn’t over, folks, so don’t tune out now. It’s just getting good.