What if I ran as a Democrat?

I was reading an article on the line up of potential Dem candidates and that there will most likely be a primary for that side of the ballot.

What if I ran?

I mean, one doesn’t have to declare a party loyalty to register to vote here, nor is one required to be a dues-paying member of any party organization.

Think about it. Who has more lefty she-doesn’t-suck comments than me? This state is looking for a happy medium. In a crowded field of hard-left candidates, a message like mine might be appealing. Plus, in Wisconsin’s open primary arrangement, every Republican minded voter in this state could vote for me in the Democratic primary.

It might happen that I’d, you know, have a trip planned for the rest of the campaign or something should I succeed in the first vote.

Oh, I know you scoff at this idea, and many of you will do so openly, but I think it’s a great deal of fun to consider both the possibilities and the implications of a fairly conservative candidate on the Democrat’s ticket. I don’t talk about it much, but I can easily gather the resources to mount a state-wide campaign. And the world already knows I’m not a bandwagon Walker devotee. πŸ˜‰

True, there were dummy candidates in the earlier State Senate recalls that didn’t really make much impact, but I’ve been told I can be rather persuasive, and I’m willing to campaign hard. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin won’t be tossing money in chasing a candidate right now, so individual resources would come into play.

What if it worked?


  1. The Lorax says:


  2. You’d vote for me. You know you would…

  3. That might not actually be a bad idea, depending on who runs. At this point, the recalls aren’t even about the union law. It’s about getting rid of Walker to “get even.” According to the AP article, the Democrats don’t care that they don’t have a candidate yet since it “forces Walker to run on his record” of accomplishment.

    There will likely be several “serious” candidates in the Democratic primary in May, so one risk is that several moderate Democrats like Tom Barrett and Tim Cullen split the vote, leading union minion Kathleen Falk to a victory in May, which puts Wisconsin in a precarious position if she actually wins. That said, the more “serious” candidates who enter, the fewer votes it takes to be the nominee.

  4. In order for it to work, though, I think you’d need to pledge to actually run in the general election. The “fake” candidates didn’t work last year (though they were up against only 1 serious candidate, which might not be the case this year).

    If you or a moderate Democrat (i.e. one who is unlikely to actively attempt to repeal the law lest doing so messes up the state budget) gets in, it would present the unions with a dilemma. Why not?

    In all serious, though, the possibility of an alternative candidate winning is a little bit higher, if two or more “serious” Democrats run and the GOP tacitly throws its support behind a single independent.

  5. I agree pledging to be a real candidate would be important. Do we know each other? If we do, you likely understand that I would give it my all.

    I’ll also mention I do like the idea of governing more from the middle, and I think that often shows up here. I think America wouldn’t mind that, either.

  6. Hey I just had a thought – what if Tommy Thompson ran as a Democrat?

  7. You, or someone with sufficient statewide resources, should do it. A candidate who can bridge the divide would have broad appeal even in the primary and would at least throttle back some of the excesses on both sides.

    It’s perfectly legitimate, as well. If Wisconsin is going to have a “do-over,” then let reasonable candidates on all sides run in the Democratic primary, not as “fakes,” but as serious candidates.

    I’m sure that the main issues would wind up relating to the union law, as well as voter ID. In order to appeal to the center, an alternative candidate would need to have reasoned positions on those issues. Maybe split the difference, and support keeping the union law largely intact, but easing the voter ID law (to allow current student IDs, etc.).

    People might see through the Tommy Thompson thing, but on the other hand, it would make a good “protest” showing over the whole recall issue. At minimum, it would force the Democrats to rally around a real candidate very quickly. Open primaries are fun.

  8. There could have been modifications to the union law that provided the same outcomes without such harsh attitudes.

    As I have often argued, the simple decision to end employers being authorized to deduct union dues was huge. I would have to better understand the certification changes that were made, but that was something that could have possibly been changed to make it all feel less like union busting.

    Also, the mandatory requirements to contribute to pension funding could have like been dropped as long as collective bargaining for salaries only remained. If a school district, for example, was able to better bargain with the union employees without handcuffs like WEAC insurance demands, etc., it could have let the districts better manage their employee expenses. They as group could have decided contract by contract as to the value of total compensation and how that compensation would be divided. Again, a move to make it feel less like union busting.

    While all the bitching and moaning of the last couple of years has been great for blog traffic, in truth, I’ve grown tired of the fight. And I like this stuff! I can only imagine how a devoted voter who might not be a political junkie might feel right now.

  9. A well thought out position like yours would put the union zealots* on the defensive. Right now, they are campaigning as “victims.” Force them to explain their position in a bit more nuance.

    *By this term, I mean extremists on the union issue. I am not claiming every union member or supporter is a zealot.

  10. Thanks for clarifying that position in advance KPOM – keeps the hysteria down around here from others.

    This is interesting and timely – a poll of potential Dem candidates: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/120117_PPP.pdf

    Barrett leads the pack. When you consider that Barrett lost to Walker, it makes you wonder how successful any attempt might be.

    Down at the bottom of that poll you’ll see they identified 30% of those contacted as independents.


  11. Also, Barrett isn’t on good terms with the unions, partly because he won some huge concessions from them. I don’t think he would make a serious effort to overturn the union law.

    Assume that the Democrats will turn at least 1 out of 5 senate seats. However, the Assembly is still GOP. There is a regularly scheduled election in November (in case people weren’t aware of it), and likely the Senate would return to GOP after that. It would take a good negotiator to make any modifications to the law.

    That leaves the unions in a tough position. If they get a Falk through, then she’ll be hamstrung and prove ineffective when the “red” part of the state backlashes. Pick a Barrett or Cullen, who might be able to push through changes such as the one you propose, and the unions won’t be satisfied.

    I do wonder if Kohl or Feingold will change their minds.

    That PPP poll is interesting. I wonder if they are underweighting GOP participation at 11%, though. It would also be interesting to see what would happen if they included an alternative GOP candidate. PPP was pretty accurate with their polling last year, however.

  12. I think that conundrum explains why the unions aren’t really going to be a factor in the recall. WisDems have used them hard to collect signatures, but I feel rather confident in asserting WisDems won’t be dancing with the ones who brought them.

  13. Randy in Richmond says:

    What an utterly stupid law. With a set threshold of 25% there will always be more than enough losing voters to meet the required number of signatures. And the total of the unofficial signatures collected here does not reach the number of votes received by either candidate in 2010. This law makes a sham of what the election process is supposed to be.

  14. @Randy, that said, this is the first time that it’s been successful in Wisconsin, though. The threshold can’t be too high, or else it would be too difficult to remove someone who is genuinely corrupt. That said, if the election does oust Walker, it would set a bad precedent that surely both sides will use in the future. Stated otherwise, it may be the first, but is likely not the last time there is a recall election.

  15. KPOM
    I understand your explanation but if someone is “genuinely corrupt” there are already laws for that. There is also impeachment (i.e. Blagojevich). To have a process to attempt to remove an elected official because you disagree with him/her on some policy issue, or because you just don’t like him/her, is insane. And there’s a process for when that happens also–called the next election. And you are right–this could very easily become the norm rather than the exception.

  16. It may be insane, Randy, but it’s the current reality regardless of opinion.

    We are fortunate to live in interesting times, folks.

  17. I’ve got it! If there’s a multi-way Dem primary, let’s find a Wisconsin Republican out of politics named “Scott Walker” and get him on the ballot. Then the recall the Democrats wanted so badly could pit Scott Walker (R) against Scott Walker (D), who is also conservative! πŸ™‚

  18. Hey, we’ve got a college dropout as a governor now, why not a lazy housewife with zero accomplishments? You got my vote.

  19. How are things on the farm, Anon?

  20. Come to think of it, I did go back and finish my college degree.

    Anonymous, sweety, your impotence hasn’t dawned on you yet, has it?

  21. Cindy, if you do it, make sure you talk to Walker’s go-to legal team first. My guess is you might be able to swing a little payola on the side.

  22. You know your crazy if you think that the unions in WI wont be a factor in the recall elections. its all about losing our rights simple as that.

    Recalls will not be SOP because the threshold is way to high to meet because you are mad you lost the election. It takes egrgeious acts by politicians to fire up the electorate to try and get enough signatures in 60 days total. Not an easy task Randy. Just ask the people who tried to recall DOyle/Feingold/Kohl.

    Finally we see by the whole Gableman fiasco that as long as the republicans are in there, and led by scott fitzgerald, we really dont have impeachment as an option.

  23. @Jeff, nothing that Walker did was egregious. Even hard core liberal Andrew Cuomo is trying to rein in the teachers’ unions in New York, for instance. He also has the support of NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, another progressive.

    What has changed is that the public sector unions realize they are under siege, and they are desperate to maintain their clout. They are in a fight for survival, and thus they are pulling out all the stops.

  24. Bloomberg is a progressive? who knew? thanks for clearing that up.

    When a governor has to call his/her people together the night before he “drops the bomb” then he is doing something egrgeious. Especially when its less than a month into his job. Collective bargaining is a right and 1 million wisconsinites agree.

  25. Jeff S. – it’s you’re. πŸ˜‰

    And all I have to do is slide on Dad’s IBEW retirement watch (a prized possession by the way) and explain what I understand to be true: that there is an enormous difference between those unions who have honored a trade for generations and those who have been organized in public service.

  26. Randy in Richmond says:

    So Jeff, since the 1 million signatures represent those opposed to Walker’s policies (or some of them) , for whatever reasons, you believe he should be recalled and replaced. Is this correct ?

  27. Well Randy not sure what your getting at but according to the Constitution yes we did what was asked for to trigger a recall election and we almost doubled the amount of signatures that were needed. So yes a minimum of 1 million people believe he should be recalled and replaced.

  28. Randy in Richmond says:

    Thanks for your answer Jeff. There are just under 3.5 million registered voters in Wisconsin. We all know that not all vote in any one election. But now only 25% of those voting, or 15% of those qualified to vote, are petitioning for a new vote. Neither of those totals, as well as the 1 million figure, exceeds the vote total Walker received. Assuming those who felt as you do signed the petitions, 73% of Wisconsin’s registered voters disagree and would not make a change. And this is assuming all of the signatures will be approved.

    My point: This is an utterly stupid law which I understand is the way it has to be. But apparently almost 3 out of 4 registered voters in Wisconsin do not support a change.

  29. Don’t mistake not having a chance to sign the petition with full support of scott walker.

    This recall set historic records we got almost double the electorate to sign than CA got to recall grey davis. Maybe Walker and Davis can start a lobby office together. I am assuming the ND guy who got recalled is dead.

    You all can try and try to diminish the 1,000,000 signatures but everyone who is not carrying water for the repubs understand how big of a number that is. heck even Walker?kleefisch do because the day of they kept doing interviews laughing at the numbers saying we did not get a million we “only” got 720,000. Whoops.

    The law is important, its there for a reason and it is incredibly hard to reach the standards!

  30. Anonymous says:

    “Don’t mistake not having a chance to sign the petition…..”

    Wow, not sure where you live, but for the last 2 months, I left the house (approx) 60 times. Each time, I passed at least 2 places that I could stop and sign. Often many, many more.

    So, I had a minimum of 120 chances to sign. Probably more like 180.

    Oh, and I didn’t include the two times that someone came to my door.

  31. Randy in Richmond says:

    Has any pundit or politico estimated the percentage of signature that will be rejected ? I know there will be enough but it will be interesting to see how many are not approved. Here in Virginia just getting a simple signature to go on the primary ballot both Newt and Perry had 30-40% rejected.

    And is it possible the recall vote could be held on Nov. 6th election day ?

  32. Possible, but I would think it’s unlikely they could drag it out that long. There are, I think, pretty specific timing details provided, and even though there are many opportunities for court intervention, it would be a remarkable feat to time those in order to make it happen.

    It would be a lot cheaper. Another possibility is to put it to the presidential primary election day which is also a local, non-partisan election day, but that’s probably too early since it’s April. The third option is primary prior to the November 2012 elections. I believe that’s in September.

    The date will be the next protracted debate on this matter. Lots of opinion floating around as to quick or long campaign, etc.

  33. Randy in Richmond says:

    Jeff, where do you get your facts, or the lack of them. Your enthusiasm is commendable but perhaps misguided.

    California collected 1,660,245 recall signatures of which 1,363,411 were approved (18% rejected). The amout collected equaled 23% of the votes cast and in Wisconsin it is 46% of the total, exactly twice as you stated.

    Only you failed to mention one little item– the threshold for California is 12% of the votes cast in the election, so 1/2 (using percentages) as many of the votes would be needed there to qualify. But California essentially collected almost double the requirement, about the same that occured in Wisconsin. So no records were broken–but I’m sure the unions will continue to beat that drum because it helps their cause, though untrue. It’s that apples to oranges thing.

  34. Walker told the AP he wants an election “soon.” I assume this is for the reasons you mentioned yesterday. Also, the sooner the Democrats start identifying candidates, the sooner Walker can stop running against “generic Democrat.”

  35. Good. I’m glad he’s thinking along the same lines. The more I roll it over in my mind, the more it makes sense.

    Any of the candidates except Barrett would be under tremendous pressure to develop state-wide name recognition in a short time and except for Falk with her union backing would probably struggle to raise funds as well.

    Barrett has name recognition from a year ago, but that name is also associated with a loss to Walker. Also, I’m just not sure Barrett wants it. He’s very good where he is now, his family is comfortable – at some point will he be tempted to smile and say thanks but no thanks?