The work must go on if we're to remedy the situation in WisconsinIt was admittedly difficult to get out of bed this morning. With the full understanding that Scott Walker would continue to sit comfortably in the governor's office (at least for now), that a majority of Wisconsinites either approved of his "reforms" or were so vehemently against the "other guy" that they were willing to look past Walker's obvious shortcomings, it's difficult to see how a brighter future in our state could can about.
But we cannot mope for too long -- we must re-group, assess what went wrong, and prepare ourselves for the challenges that are ahead of us.
We need to keep in mind that only 11 out of every 20 voters wanted to keep Walker in office. 11 out of 20 does not a mandate make. Furthermore, independents, mistakenly convinced that the recall process was only reserved for certain circumstances, won the election for Walker...but not necessarily because they support his ideals. And while we should worry that the recall may be endangered, we should continue to highlight our strengths and their attacks on the middle class.
I'm still convinced that, with the proper knowledge of what's really going on, the citizens of the state will come to understand that their governor is a bad fit for Wisconsin.
Money was a big player in this election. Walker broke all fundraising records, overwhelming Tom Barrett by inconceivable dollar amounts. We should be surprised even that Walker won by the margins he did, given the amount he raised. Indeed, the dollars-raised to voter ratio would show Barrett the winner (big time), which means his messaging was working -- it was just inundated by Walker's (and his third party supporters') relentless campaign to discredit the mayor's name through highly questionable means.
What this means is that we must dedicate ourselves to meaningful campaign finance reform. Through a fairer electoral system -- one in which the people, not the corporate elite, can positively utilize -- we will see a stronger and more educated citizenry that is able to comprehend both sides of the argument rather than simply being flooded with a single point of view.
We needn't change our values -- we should still support workers' rights, women's rights, strong education, care for the elderly and aid for the downtrodden. To abandon these issues would be disowning our values, and disregarding the right and just path for Wisconsin to take.
There is going to be plenty of finger pointing. Many may blame the president or the national party for failing to take seriously our state's struggles. Some may blame our own candidate for failing to provide a good reason to support him beyond the fact that he "wasn't Walker." Still, others may blame the voters themselves, deriding those who voted for Walker as delusional or misinformed, perhaps stupid even.
Many complaints will be valid to make -- but I reject that last one. Wisconsin made the wrong choice last night, but it did so because of two problems. First, the incumbent had the unlimited ability to raise funds, receiving corporate endorsements faster than a NASCAR driver. This allowed him to flood media markets with his distorted, fabricated record, making a case for his candidacy that was riddled with lies that couldn't be countered by his opponent.
Second, we failed to market our own candidate as the better option. Attacks on Barrett went unaddressed as we focused on problems with Walker instead. The two need to play off of one another -- a campaign that focuses on only one aspect (it's own candidate or the other) will fail every time.
Wisconsinites aren't stupid -- they're skeptical. Given the media they were spoon fed by the Walker campaign war chest, we shouldn't be surprised. We need to address our own mistakes, and figure out constructive ways to make sure we can take back the state from corporate control further down the line.
Mourn the outcome we've witnessed in the past 24 hours. Work harder tomorrow so that we won't ever mourn like this again.