Post-Wisconsin: Labor Unions Can’t Keep Up With Republicans

Post-Wisconsin: Labor Unions Can’t Keep Up With Republicans


Last night, voters in Wisconsin sent a message: Labor Unions cannot keep up with Republican money.

The only real conclusion to draw from Wisconsin is that Walker’s ability to outspend Democrat Tom Barrett by a 7-to-1 margin made the difference. A quirky rule allowed Walker to raise money in bunches in a way off limit to the Democratic challenger.

In many ways this was predictable as polls consistently showed Scott Walker as the favorite.

Walker brought this upon himself because he created the budget crisis. Most people outside Wisconsin have forgotten that Walker handed out more than $120 million in tax cuts and then turned around and blamed the unions when the state ran a deficit (after having inherited a surplus). If this sounds just George W. Bush it’s because Walker operates out of the same playbook.

Around the country, other Republican governors will try to emulate Scott Walker.  And, unfortunately for fans of compromise, it also shows that the Republican style of “No Compromise” governing is destined to continue.

You might be forgiven for thinking even though Walker was reelected, what other pol would want to go through this? However, that would be naïve. Walker’s victory will only embolden other Republican governors and legislatures in unionized states because they will see Walker’s victory as a mandate for further union cleansing.

Walker’s efforts to destroy organized labor received plaudits from fellow Republican governors who raised money for him. They applaud him because Walker attempted bluntly what they tried with stealth – break organized labor permanently in this country. Their efforts have largely been successful as American labor unions are a shadow of their former selves.

Given their slow descent into superfluousness, organized labor, fighting for its very life, cannot be blamed for trying to topple Walker; his ascent equals their inevitable destruction.

On the national level, expect GOP pundits to crow about how this is a referendum on Obama. It is no such thing and neither is it an endorsement of Romney.

Still, the failed recall effort has to be heartwarming for Mitt Romney as his campaign must believe he has a chance to win Wisconsin despite the exit polls showing he trails Obama badly.

Furthermore, while the White House invested only a tweet in the recall election, the results must be disappointing to Barack Obama. Given the slow pace of the economic recovery, the president was in desperate need of good news and Wisconsin did not deliver.