(For you idiots who don’t get the title: Wisconsin is nicknamed the Badger State. Study up.)
In previous discussions of the Wisconsin union law that led to Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) being subjected to a recall election, I concluded that it was one thing for public-sector employees to reconsider the value of their unions, but inexcusable for the state executive to take their collective bargaining rights away without any evident consultations. Not only is such a move morally unsound, but blatantly ideological. You all know I’m all for fiscal responsibility, but other governments have achieved that without resorting to this.
Anyway, as I’m writing this, we are T-minus 91 minutes away from the scheduled poll close, with exit polling showing both a high turnout and a close race. (Update.) Interestingly, while two percentage points more Democrats than Republicans have shown up, there were two percentage points more supporters of the union law than opponents. Conclusion: Apparently, exit polling doesn’t mean much. You know what else wouldn’t have meant much? The presence of President Obama.
The question was asked by the Christian Science Monitor, which, to their credit, pointed out the fact that “[t]he Wisconsin recall is in fact not a true microcosm of the November election.” Of course it isn’t. This should be obvious to anyone who knows why the recall election is taking place, which would naturally include virtually everyone who’s coming out to vote in it.
Yet, for some stupid reason, that idea persists. To quote CBS, “many are looking to the race to provide clues into the presidential election this November.” Market Watch says, rather decisively, that the recall is “to ripple into November.” The New York Times says “[t]he result is poised to shape the general election fight between [President] Obama and [former Gov.] Mitt Romney (R-MA).” The Daily Caller says this vote could “tip the battleground state against [Obama].”
Honestly, how the hell is any of this true? Has anyone conducted an exit poll on how many people came out to vote because of Obama vs. Romney, as opposed to Walker vs. Democratic opponent Tom Barrett? This is one instance in which I have to break my self-imposed rule against complaining about media coverage. Multiple outlets, which are normally on the reasonable side, have imbued this state recall with national implications that it simply does not have.
If November’s results from Wisconsin match these, it’ll be because the state felt this way anyway, not because Walker/Barrett have anything to do with Obama/Romney.