Governor Scott Walker is leading Democractic challenger Tom Barrett 52% to 45%, according to a just-released Marquette Law School poll. The conservative hero of Wisconsin has been under assault from teachers unions (if only Chris Christie were there…) and liberal activists for weeks for his plan to reduce the state’s massive budget deficit by making teaching in public schools more competitive and cost effective. With the election just days away, it’s attracted enough attention to give the winning side significant momentum going into the November campaign season.
A Walker win would be a serious slap in the face for Big Labor, both in the Badger State and around the country. That’s because Governor Walker is facing what’s called a recall election. A recall election (allowed for Governors in only 19 states) takes place when enough people have signed a petition saying they want the current office-holder removed from power before his term is over. A recall election is essentially a referendum on the policies of the Governor’s party, and a win for either side would be an astronomical embarrassment for the other, especially due to the resources each side has devoted to the fight.
Home of the famous progressive Robert LaFollette, Wisconsin has a long history of both failed and successful recall elections. This one looks like it will be far more of the former than the latter for Democrats. After a large number of signees added their names to the “Recall Walker” petition, some liberals in the blogosphere condescendingly predicted a success for Walker’s challenger and the Democratic party. But after a bruising primary fight in which even Wisconsin’s Democrats rejected Big Labor’s candidate, Walker appears to have the support he needs to score a convincing win over his opponent.
With that outcome, I predict that unions will wake up on the morning after the June 5th election to find themselves on the verge of national political extinction. Traditional union political tactics, including intimidation, law-breaking, and disruptive protests, have no place in the modern American political landscape. In tough economic times, criminal attempts to prevent “scabs” from earning an honest living have disgusted the American people, and no citizen of these United States can justify Teacher’s Unions attempts to have teachers paid based on age, not merit. Perhaps that’s why unions are facing an existential crisis.
In any case, I stand with Scott Walker. Do you?