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Wisconsin Results

June 05, 2012 10:45 pm ET
Backed by corporate special interests and out-spending his challenger by nearly 8 to 1, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker got to keep his job tonight. But according to exit polls, his edge among Independents was cut in half compared to two years ago, and he lost by 14 points among voters who make less than $50,000 a year.

CORE MESSAGE

This is what an election bought and paid for by corporate special interests looks like.

Connect: Election outcomes shouldn't depend on who has the biggest corporate donors.

Define: Scott Walker divided. Working families united. But he hung onto his job because corporate special interests paid his way.

Illustrate: Powerful corporations and billionaire donors went all in for Walker because they benefit most from the system he'll keep rigged: tax loopholes only they can get and all the power in the hands of their CEOs.

Call out: That's a sale, not democracy. It's an auction going to the highest bidder, not an election.

Bottom line: The Wisconsin election just goes to show that we won't have a government by and for the people as long as we have politicians who are bought and paid for by corporations.


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ATTACKS AND RESPONSES

ATTACK: "Walker's win is a successful referendum on the future of labor unions."
RESPONSE:

  • Walker's win is a successful referendum on the politicians and judges who support Citizens United, which wiped out Wisconsin's campaign finance laws and allowed him to raise unlimited amounts of campaign cash from corporate donors outside Wisconsin.
  • Walker's win tonight is a local example of an election getting bought and paid for by the highest corporate bidder. When corporate cash can drown out the voices of regular voters like it did here, it should worry anyone who cares about our democracy.
  • That said, this recall election was about Wisconsin's working families standing up to Walker for his anti-worker agenda. And they did just that -- the incredible number of recall petition signatures collected, the volunteers recruited, the phones called, and the doors knocked are all proof.
  • This is a fight for the future of our middle class, and everyone who's fighting on the side of working families should be proud to be in it. And as long as working families need someone looking out for their interests, labor unions will be there for them.


ATTACK: "Walker's win means Obama will struggle and lose in November."
RESPONSE:

  • These are different candidates running on different issues in different places and under different circumstances -- plus the presidential election is five months away. Walker's allies will of course exaggerate the meaning of tonight's outcome, but let's recognize the political spin as just spin.
  • In fact, Walker's corporate and billionaire donors outspent his challenger Barrett by nearly 8 to 1, but the recall election on the ground was still a dead heat until election day. So it was Walker who had to struggle and fight for his political life, not the other way around.
  • Corrupt politicians everywhere have been put on notice tonight: putting wealthy corporate donors ahead of working families will guarantee them a fight.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Campaign spending on the Wisconsin recall election will total at least $60 million -- the most expensive in Wisconsin history -- $50 million of it spent by or on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker.
  • With the final amounts likely to be much higher, Walker has received $30 million in direct campaign contributions, mostly from big donors outside Wisconsin.
  • In contrast, his challenger Mayor Tom Barrett has raised $4 million, with most of his contributions coming in small-dollar amounts from Wisconsin residents. This means that Barrett was outspent by Walker by 8 to 1.
  • Gov. Scott Walker directly benefited from the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which weakened Wisconsin's campaign finance laws and allowed him to raise and spend unlimited amounts of campaign money. Due to a loophole in state law, Walker could also raise unlimited amounts from individual donors while Barrett faced a hard cap on the dollar amount of contributions.
  • The effort to recall Walker from office was also driven by Wisconsin grassroots, who gathered a million signatures for the recall -- double the number needed.
  • Walker's agenda to rig the system against working families includes rigging the vote to keep it that way:
    • He pushed through voter ID laws and confusing residency requirements meant to make it harder for Democratic-leaning voters to cast a ballot. Even though the voter ID law had been declared unconstitutional and thus not supposed to be in effect on election day, law-abiding voters with valid registrations were still turned away from the polls.
    • His campaign allies jammed the phones at the Barrett campaign so they couldn't make phone calls out to voters who need poll location and voter registration info.
    • People canvassing for the Walker campaign and robo-calls from Walker allies misled anti-Walker voters into believing that they didn't need to vote if they signed the petition to recall the governor.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Labor - Economy - 2012 Elections - Jobs

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