With yesterday's Supreme Court ruling, the Democrats lost the battle. The jury is still out on the war.
For the foreseeable future, however, the GOP will get what it wants on collective bargaining. The policy is unlikely to be reversed until the Dems have complete control of state government.
Logically, the recalls would be the first step in that process. And in the interim, a Democratic Senate would prevent the GOP from expanding its apparently-limitless conquest of corporate colonization.
However, as I pointed out last week, there is little evidence that suggests Democrats are poised to take back the legislature's upper chamber. My guess is the GOP is correctly calculating by forcing primaries in the recalls. Protest fatigue has been sinking in for a while now. By August, progressives may be pooped.
The problem for Dems isn't so much that worn-out liberals won't be swarming the Capitol Square, it's that the people who do stick around are giving the movement a bad name throughout the entire state. The morons with the vuvuzelas, the Segway guy, the people getting carried out of committee hearings. They're nothing but bad news for the narrative in Portage, Fond du Lac and La Crosse.
If the recalls had been held two months ago there would be no question of a Democratic sweep. In a matter of weeks the State Senate Democratic Committee equaled its total fundraising for last year, which, in case you forgot, was an election year. The previously-unfathomable goal of forcing half a dozen senators into recalls became a reality as activists gathered signatures at a lightening pace, sparing only Republicans in the most devoutly conservative districts.
Between March 24 and April 25, however, the Senate Democrats only reported raising $52,585. Part of the decline can be attributed to donors' increased focus on individual recall campaigns, however, I think part of it is simply due to political gravity. What goes up must come down.
The question is, have the Republicans gone up? I'd say the April 5 election proved that conservatives are ready to fight as much as the liberals. Luckily for progressives, only a couple of the races are taking place in the Milwaukee area, where talk radio reigns supreme. (Is it a coincidence that Prosser did best in Alberta Darling's suburban Milwaukee district?)
And at least some of the GOP candidates have raised quite a bit of money. Darling, for instance, had raised $420,000 by April 25; Kapanke had raised $180,000; Hopper had $131,000; Harsdorf had $110,000. Luther Olsen, however, had a mere $34,000 raised and Robert Cowles has not reported any numbers to the GAB.
Although the Democratic senators facing recall have also reported impressive financial figures, most of their money has come from other political groups, including unions and the state Democratic Party. The vast majority of GOP contributions come from individuals.
Over the next two months the recall elections will evolve from a single-issue battle into full-fledged political campaigns. People from all over the political spectrum will begin to tune in as the ads hit their TVs and radios. The influence of each district's union members/public workers will dwindle as more Republican voters will tune in.
The hatred of Walker is so intense and so universal in Madison that many of us assume he's due for a bruising. But unless all these pissed off Madisonians are opening up their checkbooks, their anger doesn't make an ounce of difference in these recalls. In fact, it might be doing more harm than good.
My advice to any so-called union thugs: Steal and destroy every vuvuzela at the Capitol. They're not helping you out.