Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wisconsin, Walker and Reagan Democrats

I think it's been mentioned on this blog recently before (I think by US West) that the union voters in Wisconsin who are now the arch enemies of that state's Republican party are exactly the demographic that the Republicans have depended on to undermine Democratic candidates. These are the so called "Reagan Democrats" who vote Republican for the nationalism and the odd tax cut here and there. But this attack by the Wisconsin Republican Party (and other Republican legislatures in other states) have laid bare the extent to which these people have been voting against their own self interest all this time. At the very least, even if this group has not completely defected to the GOP, they have largely stayed at home and not come out to vote for Democrats.


I often find myself wondering how many of the union members demonstrating in Madison in 2011 either voted for Walker or did not vote at all in 2010. To them I point them to a famous scolding from Harry Truman. He said then that the refusal of organized labor to support Democrats in elections had led directly to Republicans passing union busting legislation. Like Truman, part of me is inclined to think that these disloyal blue collar voters are getting exactly what they deserve. I hope the nationalist zeal and tax cuts compensate them for the years of reduced income that the elimination of their collective bargaining rights will produce.

But the less vindictive side of me looks at this and sees hope for the future. Has Scott Walker done to the blue collar Republicans what Pete Wilson did to Latinos in California? When Governor Pete Wilson began his anti-immigrant campaign, California was a swing state. But by completely alienating Latinos from the Republican party, Wilson doomed his party to permanent minority status. Has Governor Scott Walker (and Kasich in Ohio, and others) done the same thing for the relationship between the Republican Party and blue collar voters in the Great Lakes region? I doubt the anti-Republican backlash will be as severe as in the Pete Wilson case but I do think Republicans badly overreached on their anti-union agenda. So long as Republican union bashing was limited to depicting union leaders as stogie smoking hypocrites, they could count on some agreement from many blue collar voters and even from union members. But by directly targeting collective bargaining rights, they shifted the public image of their targets from the leadership to the rank and file. Bad idea. At the very least, they've handed Democrats in Wisconsin, Ohio and other Great Lakes states, a cause to rally behind. At worst, they've just jettisoned another part of their national electoral coalition.

13 comments:

Atlanta Roofing said...

The wingnuts want cops, firefighte¬rs, teachers, soldiers, etc. to go out and get good educations¬, pay premium prices for that education, saddle themselves with tons of debt, and then go to work improving and protecting society for minimal pay. If they ask for more, they are vilified. If they suggest that they uber-wealt¬hy contribute a bit more, they are called traitors and parasites. This isn't hyperbole, this is a fact. Right now, in Wisconsin, many of these public workers are under attack by fat cats and trust fund babies who are working to completely undermine state workers.

USWest said...

It get worse. I have heard that Scott Walker wants legislation that would give him the power to declare cities in financial distress. This way, he can appoint an emergency manager. This manager, under Walker's control, would have the power to remove all the city's elected officials.

It is a major power grab on his part. And it isn't unheard of. This was the same Scott Walker who fired all the union security guards at the Milwaukee court house even though he was not allocated that power. The result was a union lawsuit. The union won and Walker was forced to hire all the guards back with backed pay.

He will over reach. Now, let's hope a recall against him will be successful. Trouble is, they can't do it until he has been in office for at least 2 years from what I understand. What more damage can he do in that time?

While I agree with RBR that people who vote against their own interests (unless casting a protest vote for some reason) get what they deserve, I wonder if they really knew what Walker was planning. No candidate in his right mind would announce such plans during an election and expect to be elected.

USWest said...

Correction: a recall can't be called until the governor has served 1 year, which means Jan 2012 for Walker.

Raised By Republicans said...

US West, that's very interesting about Walker looking to grab power from mayors and city councils. I thought Republicans were the big fans of federalism and local control - this just shows how unprincipled their demand for states' rights is.

As for who could have seen Walker's plans coming. I would have expected it IF I had heard about what you say he did as mayor of Milwaukee. It may well be that his Democratic opponents just dropped the ball and didn't make a big deal about it (I'm not in Wisconsin so I don't know how that campaign played out). But if Democrats were saying, "Walker is a union busting fanatic" and blue collar voters voted for him anyway, then I'm back to my aforementioned ambivalence about them getting what they deserve.

I heard that the most immediate targets for recall are some of the Republican state senators. In any event, I'm thinking Walker may have turned Wisconsin "blue" for 2012. Obama should send him a thank you note.

USWest said...

It appears that the changes to emergency manager laws have passed their first hurdle in Michigan. For more, see:
http://markmaynard.com/?p=12618

This legislation in Michigan would also end union contracts. There have been huge protests in Michigan over this at the SAME TIME as the protests in Wisconsin.

So it isn't Walker who pushed this one it was Gov. Snyder.(That's what happens when I take people's word for it before I research it!) But Snyder and Walker are cut from the same cloth. So don't' be surprised if Walker tries a similar stunt.

USWest said...

For more about Walker's actions in Milwaukee, see The Rachael Maddow link I posted previously.

http://thecitizens.blogspot.com/2011/02/walker-and-union-busting-for-benefits.html

Raised By Republicans said...

It sure seems like there was clinic on this kind of stuff for Republican gubernatorial candidates. I've heard about similar agendas coming from Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa.

USWest said...

That would be my take. These guys all had Tea Party Support, right?

Raised By Republicans said...

There really isn't much difference between "the Tea Party" and the usual base of the Republican Party. These guys are all run of the mill conservative Republicans. Most of them claim tea party support (but then no Republican refuses it).

Branstad (R-IA) actually fended off a "Tea Party" challenger but has a long history of union busting from when he was governor of the state back in the 80s and 90s.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Unless and until the Democrats are willing to call Republicans on their class warfare, they won't be able to move politics in this country. The Rodney-King-Why-Can't-We-All-Get-Along politics of the centrist Democrats makes them highly vunlerable to consistently compromising further and further and further to the right. Republicans are making war on working people to line the pockets of their corporate masters. Until Democrats have the balls to say this -and to stop taking the same corporate money- they are going to lose in places like Wisconsin. Republicans are viewed as having ideas and guts, while Democrats are viewed as just slimy politicians.

USWest said...

I agree, LTG. The Democrats just keep rolling over. The Republicans are crafty. They try to find ways around obstacles, no matter how nasty or unfair. Are Dems just lazy, or are they uncreative, or are the so shocked by Republicans that they can't move? They are always like deer caught in the headlights.

Raised By Republicans said...

The Democrats are divided. It's much easier to play to a strategy that is based on inaction by the government. Even if most Republicans realize that a complete shut down of the government would be a disaster, there is a sizable faction that is so dedicated to the ideological opposition to any government role in anything that they would welcome a shut down.

That means the Democrats are often playing chicken with crazy people.

BTW, the Republicans are divided now. The "Tea Party" caucus has stopped supporting Boehner's stop gap proposals. That seems to be a signal that Boehner can't pass a budget through the house without Pelosi's help. Now, we'll see if the Democrats really do just role over or if they can get something out of their apparent advantage.

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