Last fall, when Republicans wrested 20 state legislative chambers and 10 governorships from the Democrats, some on the left refused to accept the results. In Wisconsin, Democrats were particularly apoplectic. Democratic legislators fled across state lines and hid out in motel rooms in order to prevent Gov. Scott Walker from enacting the agenda on which he and newly elected GOP legislators had campaigned. They failed. Walker passed legislation to reform collective bargaining and balanced a $3.6 billion deficit despite the Democrats’ efforts at obstruction.
Not to be deterred, Wisconsin Democrats and their union allies promised to take their revenge by launching recall elections against six vulnerable Republican senators. They promised the recalls would stop Walker’s agenda and have national implications — sending a message to Republicans in other states that they would pay a price for changing their collective bargaining laws. Unions poured millions into the fight to take back the state Senate from GOP control.
It appears that the Democrats have failed at this as well. Republicans have reportedly held onto four of the six seats in play, keeping control of the state Senate by a narrow 17-16 margin. (The GOP may be able to gain back the losses next week, when two Democrats face recall elections.) John Hogan, director of the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Voters gave us a mandate last fall. . . . They backed us up again (Tuesday). Voters told us loud and clear, ‘Stay the course. Things are working.’ ” The vote will indeed send a signal to other states — but not the one the Democrats and labor unions intended.
Now the bad losers are at it again. Instead of graciously accepting defeat, Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate accused Republicans of “tampering with the results of a consequential election” and said that a “dark cloud hangs over these important results.” He promised an investigation and declared, “We will not stop, we will not rest . . . until we recall Scott Walker.”
If that fails, Wisconsin Democrats can always try the “Motel Six” strategy again. It worked so well the first time.
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