The Hangman Cometh

The results of the Wisconsin recall election were, of course, disappointing, although not unexpected. The movement to oust the governor was initially tied to his attack on public employee unions, which don’t exactly enjoy widespread support from the whole population—especially since Republicans have expertly used a divide and conquer strategy to exploit resentments between workers.

But for now I want to call attention to how union households voted on Tuesday. First, in the original 2010 election that brought Scott Walker to power, union households represented only 26% of all voters. In Tuesday’s election, they represented 33%, a substantial increase. Where were all these folks in 2010 when Walker could have been stopped then?

Scott Walker won that 2010 election with 52% of the vote, with about 125,000 more votes than Tom Barrett. The totals were:

WALKER  1,128,941

BARRETT  1,004,303

Tuesday’s recall election saw Barrett get 1,160,245 votes, clearly enough to beat Walker in 2010. Again, where were those folks back then? (Walker, obviously, also increased his totals, too, but we are talking about union motivation to vote; despite not completely revealing his hand, if Scott Walker didn’t frighten union folks in 2010, then they weren’t paying attention.)

Finally, given how Walker made no secret of his disdain for unionism, particularly unionism practiced by public employees, one would think that the opposition from all union households—whatever happened to solidarity?—would have been very dramatic on Tuesday. Well, it was dramatic, but not very. From the exit polling data:

As you can see, almost 4 in 10 who live in a union household voted for the union buster. As a union guy, I find that appalling, but I can assure you it would be worse if the election were held here in southwest Missouri.

Again, I have to marvel at how successful the right-wing has been in getting people to vote against their own economic interests and in getting a large number of folks to help build the gallows that will eventually be used to execute their middle class existence.

6 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  June 6, 2012

    I have spent most of the morning reading various explanations about why Walker won the recall election and with such a sizable margin. The statistic above, only 40% of union “households” voted for the union candidate is surprising to me, and I suppose to Duane as well.

    But rather than complain about it, I would really like to hear WHY that is the case. Had I been a voter in Wisconsin I KNOW why I would have voted for Walker. But of course I do not bring the union perspective into the polling booth so what do I know about such.

    Anson

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  2. I wonder how this wold have turned out if the re-call election had come closer on to the announcement of it. Before all the out-of-state money had time to accumulate. Before the robo-calls that went out from the pro-Walker folks telling the other side that if you signed the petition you don’t need to vote — that counts as your vote. Before the pro-Walker
    team went around and paid people $100 to put Walker yard signs out in their front yards. If laws restrained the millions of out-of-state $$. If there had been only local in-state money. In other words, how might an honest election have turned out?
    Of course, most people probably did not fall for the “you don’t have to vote if you signed the petition” trick, but still, I wonder.

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  June 6, 2012

    OR, Helen and others COULD the outcome have reflected instead some concerns stated long ago by FDR about public sector unions and collective bargining. Pardon the length below but here is what FDR wrote in 1937.

    My dear Mr. Steward:

    As I am unable to accept your kind invitation to be present on the occasion of the Twentieth Jubilee Convention of the National Federation of Federal Employees, I am taking this method of sending greetings and a message.

    Reading your letter of July 14, 1937, I was especially interested in the timeliness of your remark that the manner in which the activities of your organization have been carried on during the past two decades “has been in complete consonance with the best traditions of public employee relationships.” Organizations of Government employees have a logical place in Government affairs.

    The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

    All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that “under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.”

    I congratulate the National Federation of Federal Employees the twentieth anniversary of its founding and trust that the convention will, in every way, be successful.

    Very sincerely yours,

    [To] Mr. Luther C. Steward, President, National Federation of Federal Employees, 10 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.

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  4. Bob Samuels

     /  June 7, 2012

    You are kidding, right? If a union uses its collective influence to enact better wages or working conditions, its detrimental to government operations but when conservatives in congress are guilty of “nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied”, thats ok. It’s sad to me that the conservative movement cannot realize that these are PEOPLE trying to make a modest, middle class living, not greedy unionists out to bankrupt the government.

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  June 7, 2012

    No Bob, for sure I was not kidding nor do I believe FDR was kidding in 1937.

    Recall the mobs taking over the Capital in Wisconsin last year. Consider the Public Unions demonstrating in CA, LA I believe, calling for “Communism”. ANGRY people do such things and those people were certainly angry and determined to get their way from the governments that opposed their demands.

    Many of those angry people were teachers, etc., public “servants” asking for more than the public could give them unless taxes were raised.

    Of course unions do not want to bankrupt the hand that feeds them. But they sure do DEMAND that they get “theirs” long before anyone else get’s “his or hers”. Union want MORE of many things but fail acknowledge that other demands on government might be a higher priority for spending.

    Actually the violence or near violence in Wishconsin a year or so ago I believe gave many citizens incentive to vote AGAINST the causes demanded by unions.

    Anson

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  June 7, 2012

    After posting the above response to the comment, I came across this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-democrats-are-playing-with-dynamite/2012/06/06/gJQAwDdbJV_story.html?hpid=z3

    It explains much more clearly what I was alluding to above.

    AB

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