So the Democrats in Wisconsin came up short in their efforts to flip the State Senate in recall elections. On the binary tally of win-lose, it is a loss. But I am not sure that is the complete story.
It is still an historic effort and that also has to be scored as a win. Remember how we got to these elections in the first place. When the Republicans gained control of the both Houses of the Legislature and the Governors office, they set out on a path of policy that incensed many Wisconsinites.
Their hard right policies and the way they went about enacting them mobilized tens of thousands of Union members, workers and average voters. They went out into the bitterly cold Wisconsin winter to make their extreme displeasure known, and when they were ignored they took advantage of the process to try to recall the six Republican State Senators that were eligible under the law for recall.
They faced an uphill fight all the way. Getting the signatures in the right amount of time, faux Democratic candidates running with the explicit purpose of slowing the process down and allowing out of state money to work longer.
We should not discount that money. Millions and millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers (the nominal owners of Gov. Scott Walker, or maybe they just lease him?) and Crossroads GPS have poured like the Red River in flood into the state.
Then there is the fact that all six of these Republicans were elected in 2008, a year that was a wave election for Democrats. These are what you would call “safe-seats” for Republicans.
All of these made this a truly epic struggle, and yet the people of Wisconsin went out and came within a hair’s breadth of achieving the ultimate goal of flipping control of the State Senate. That they failed by one seat is a pretty strong indicator of how close this really was.
Dad always said (yeah, he was a huge one for sayings) “Nothing ever beat a good try but failure.” Sometimes you do all you can and you still come up short of the goal. But a lot of that determination of failure is dependent on what your goal is.
If you have multiple goals there can be a range of success and failure. Last night in Wisconsin we did see an overall electoral defeat, as long as we focus on the idea of flipping the Senate, but was that really the only goal?
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