1. Big Blue Loses Big
Here’s the scam that has been going on for decades: Public employee unions demand hefty wage increases. Politicians say: “no way, we’ll have to raise taxes.” Public employee unions say: “okay, we’ll take lower wage increases in return for ever-more generous pension and retiree health benefits.” Politicians say: “that won’t work long term.” Unions say: “that will be someone else’s problem.” Politicians say: “deal.”
Time passes. Longevity increases. Financial crises and slower economic growth cripple pension fund returns. Suddenly “the long term” is today. Unsustainable pension and retiree health benefits begin to wreak fiscal havoc. The Blue Social Model no longer works.
There are two ways to fix this problem. The first is political. The second is to let the markets decide who gets what. Voters in California and Wisconsin last night chose the political option. They voted to reduce pension benefits in San Jose and San Diego, California (the 8th and 10th largest cities in the US) and they voted to affirm Governor Scott Walker’s assault on the bargaining power of public employee unions.
Ross Douthat has a big picture column on this today at the New York Times, which is useful. Managing the collapse of the Blue Social Model is now the central issue in municipal, state and county governance.
2. Big Blue Can’t Even Get a Tobacco Tax Done In California
Cycling great and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong campaigns at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for Proposition 29, which would have imposed a $1-per-pack increase in the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Everyone knows that California is broke. Tax revenues are so weak that the state recently announced that its projected budget deficit would explode from $9 billion to $16 billion.
What to do? Raise easy taxes! What are easy taxes? Cigarette taxes! Specifically, raise the tax on each pack of cigarettes sold in the state by one dollar. On the ballot it went. Down it went, 51-49%. No easy taxes for you Sacramento!
Nothing says Big Blue like California. The fiscal crisis there now grows more acute.
3. The Midnight Tweeter
President Obama kept his distance from the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election. He did manage to send a last-minute tweet, reiterating his support for Tom Barrett. But that was about it.
Now we know why. Barrett was certain to lose. His support among white voters had collapsed. According to the, ahem, exit poll, roughly 90% of the electorate in Wisconsin yesterday was white. If 90% of the voters in Wisconsin are white in the November general election, Mitt Romney need only win 56% of them to win the state. He wouldn’t need any of the “other” voters at all.
Nationally, when he won the 2008 general election by a wide margin, President Obama garnered 43% of the white vote. That was at the height of his political powers. He’s long since left that perch.
Wisconsin is a toss-up now. The tri-state block of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa (all of which have overwhelmingly white electorates) are in play.
4. Exit Polls
Very conservative voters avoid exit pollsters. When they are the “nth” voter at an exit point, they often decline the opportunity to participate. The next voter is therefore taken. Very conservative voters are therefore under-counted.
Combine this with budget restraints (the exit polling company surveys, arguably, half as many polling “points” as they might otherwise do, just for safety’s sake) and you end up with scores of “analysts” on TV talking nonsense, based on erroneous polling data. The clients of the exit polling company (television networks, newspapers, the AP) need to fix this problem.
Voter Robin Milaeger speaks with canvasser Mike Kozaria, of the conservative group American Majority Action in Oconomowoc, Wisc.
Republican get-out-the-vote operations in Wisconsin were impressive across the state. In the main, Governor Walker ran ahead of his 2010 tallies, county-by-county.
Democratic get-out-the-vote operations were not so impressive, except in Dane and Milwaukee counties, where same-day registration ran up their totals in those Democratic strongholds, considerably.
A Massachusetts political operative named Joe Ricca ran the same- day registration/GOTV operation for the Gore campaign in 2000 and was widely credited with delivering the state to Mr. Gore by a 16,000 vote margin over George W. Bush. Team Obama will be looking for Mr. Ricca. They’ll need every last vote in November.
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- swizzlest thinks Five Lessons From Big Blue's Wisc... is LOL
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out-polls seem unreliable this time-round
perhaps the individuals being polled want to appear to be politically correct but in their heart they know that Obama is out of his league in the white house and perhaps he ought to return to what he did best: community organizing
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On Wisconsin being a toss up: The recent Wisconsin polls had Walker winning but Obama leading Romney by comfortable margins. The exit polls pretty much said the same thing: Walker was winning but the voters preferred Obama over Romney by a nice margin. I’m aware that some people are saying ” Ya can’t trust exit polls because they initially had the race 50/50! ” But that ignores the later exit poll data that show Walker winning with Obama still maintaining his lead over Romney and that also ignores all the polls that had Obama leading Romney in Wisconsin in every poll up to Tuesday.
I really have no idea about the 18% who voted for Walker stated they will vote for Obama. That’s a strange voter to me.
Yeah, the biggest lesson from “Big Blue’s” loss was that “Big Blue” (aka the nearly 2 million citizen signatures they got to get the recall election in the first place) couldn’t outspend the Koch brothers and their money machine and couldn’t get past news outlets calling the election while people were still in line to vote, causing large swaths of people who had to work late to turn away from voting because they thought they’d already lost. That was a sham of an election.
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#6 republicans spent almost 10 times as much money defending Walker as Democrats put into the race. The tobacco companies spent almost $47 million against the tobacco tax in California, compared to only a few million spend by proponents of the proposition. Money wins elections, especially after Citizens United.