For a third time, the labor movement has failed to derail Wisconsin’s Republican government. They failed to prevent the passage of Governor Walker’s budget repair bill by fleeing the state. They failed to win the open seat on the Wisconsin supreme court, which would have given an activist majority the ability to overturn any legislation they liked. And last night, after a stupendously expensive recall campaign, they failed to recall enough senators to win control of the Wisconsin state senate.
Democrats did succeed in unseating two Republican incumbents: one who represented a strongly Democratic district (I’m not sure how he was elected in the first place), and one weighted down by personal scandals. Next week two Democrats face a recall campaign.
I would be very interested to know how much the national labor unions spent to win (at most) two seats in a state senate for a quarter of a term.
UPDATE: Michael Barone crunches the numbers. And Christian Schneider summarizes:
For months, unions have told us that after their state-senate recall efforts in Wisconsin, lawmakers would learn not to scale back their collective-bargaining “rights.” The recalls would warn any state thinking about passing a law like Governor Walker’s to think again. Yet after Tuesday night’s recall elections, only one lesson is perfectly clear: It’s probably not a good idea to cheat on your wife.
(Via Chicago Boyz.)
UPDATE: The Democrats are trying to put a brave face on their loss, boasting at having gained two seats. In fact, if you take a longer view, they actually lost ground. District 32, in which Shilling unseated Kapanke, has a strong Democratic majority, so Democrats would have won that seat back next year anyway. So that’s a gain for Democrats of one seat for one year.
However, Hopper lost to King because he’s a scandal-tarred jerk. Absent a recall, Democrats would have unseated him next year, but now Republicans will probably win that seat back with a better candidate next year. That’s a gain for Democrats of one seat for one year, at the expense of one seat for a full four-year term, or a net loss of one seat for three years. In total, the Democrats gave up one seat for two years, and spent millions to do it.