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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Overcast
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Him again... Madison reacts to Scott Walker's recall victory
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Credit:Narayan Mahon

So it's come to this. Sixteen months after protesters rose up against Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill, seven months after activists kicked off the recall, one month after Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett began his campaign as the Democratic challenger, Walker prevailed in the June 5 recall election. While Republicans do a victory dance, Democrats are taking solace in the recall win that flipped the Senate to their side and, of course, doing a lot of soul-searching.

Here's a sampling of local reaction from across the spectrum.

Dave Cieslewicz

Former mayor of Madison and Isthmus columnist

I have some experience with losing an election. It's one of the worst feelings in the world, but in my case the pain was personal. I didn't represent a movement.

Tom Barrett's loss is felt personally by millions of people because he did represent the hope of fundamental change, and now it appears that all of that work has come to nothing. But for those who might be tempted to think that it was all futile, let me make a case that it wasn't.

I think there are many Wisconsinites who, while they didn't agree with what Walker did, just couldn't bring themselves to vote to recall him. Had it been a straight up or down vote on his policies in a regular election, the result might have been different.

The recall showed remarkable organizing capacity coming from the Democratic Party and other progressive corners, and that's something to build on. But it would be a mistake to think that the answer is more militancy. Tom Barrett's campaign was about ending the civil war that has divided us. He might not have been elected, but that's work that still needs to be done.

To do that, what we need is a new politics of independent thought and a new language of politics that doesn't pander, but respects people's intelligence. And we need to recognize that most Wisconsinites are not partisan but practical. Let's govern with them in mind.

Let's rededicate ourselves to the idea that there is common ground, and then let's go look for it.

Vikki Kratz

Teacher, Marshall Public Schools

On Election Day, I had an end-of-year picnic at a local park for our pre-kindergarteners. The children sang songs, the parents snapped pictures, there was lots of socializing and lots of laughter. When it was over, I climbed into the car to head back to school. Out the window, I saw one of my five-year-old students racing across the parking lot, heading straight for me. I adored this kid -- his earnest attempts to color perfect pictures, the wildly inventive "books" he wrote in class. When I stepped out of the car, he threw his arms around me for a goodbye hug.

Through the entire school year, he had never hugged me once. Until the morning we had to say goodbye.

Those moments are what make teaching such an addictive joy. And why it's so hard to accept the outcome of an election that was meant to restore dignity to a timeless profession. Later that night, I stood with a silent group of teachers at We Are Wisconsin's party at the Concourse Hotel, watching the election results. We looked at each other helplessly, saying only, "I don't understand. I don't understand." The most painful thing about the election was not just losing -- it was losing by such a huge margin. It was knowing that there were thousands of new voters who had registered for the first time. Did they register just to vote against us?

A year ago, when this all began, I wrote an essay explaining how Walker's actions would devastate teachers and declared, "I am not the enemy."

But apparently -- according to Wisconsin voters -- I am.

Larry Kaufmann

Economic consultant and Isthmus columnist

Think back to the thrilling days of February 2011 and what this movement was supposed to represent. The people were now standing up to the GOP's corporate puppet-masters, and soon they would take back the people's house.

Sixteen months and $100 million later, the people have spoken, and they stand with Scott Walker. Progressives had an unprecedented opportunity to make their case and get the Republican bums voted out. They failed first with Supreme Court justice David Prosser, then they failed in last summer's recall elections, and now they've failed for the third and final time with the big enchilada.

The lesson is clear: The Democrats' shellacking in November 2010 was not a mistake. Voters knew what they were voting for, and they've continued to vote for it because they like the results they've seen.

This really isn't a surprise. America is a center-right nation, and Wisconsin is just a tick to the left of the country as a whole. Scott Walker is also not a radical, and the reforms the Republicans passed since 2011 are well within the mainstream of American governance. If you don't believe me, take a look at the election results.

If the Democrats were smart, they would reflect on these inconvenient truths and retool their policies and message to stay relevant in a changed environment. That's what they did nationally in 1995-96 when they were in a similar situation. This time, though, they seem more inclined to blame the voters, the Koch brothers and ALEC.

Tom Barrett did get one thing right: Scott Walker is a rock star, and the left made him one by pursuing a process that's lasted longer and accomplished less than an Iron Butterfly guitar solo. Rock on, governor, and thank you for your grace and courage.

Ruth Conniff

Political editor of The Progressive and Isthmus columnist

It was a tough night in downtown Madison. The scene around the square was wonderfully familiar: the firefighters with their bagpipes, the horns honking "this is what democracy looks like," the homemade recall signs. All of what was great about the grassroots uprising in Wisconsin was on display. And the mood was jubilant as reports of record turnout in Dane County and Milwaukee came in. It seemed, for a brief, shining moment, that we had pulled it off.

Then the networks started calling the race for Walker early. There was disbelief, anger and the deflation of a movement that has built up so much steam over the last year and a half.

But the movement is not over.

The truth is the deflation began with the transition from that great, spontaneous, grassroots rebellion against the right-wing takeover of our state to a conventional political campaign. This was never about Tom Barrett. It was not about the campaign professionals or the Democratic Party or Barack Obama -- who literally phoned in his support.

It was about us, in Wisconsin: our community, our workers, our public schools, our environment, our middle class. And we have no choice but to continue the fight, and to take solace in the incredible community of solidarity we've built.

Most of all we have to make the case for solidarity to our increasingly insecure, angry, non-union workers. The right has no real solutions to offer, just divisiveness and resentment toward teachers and public servants.

Walker won by lying about fixing Wisconsin's budget deficit, by spinning the worst job-creation numbers in the country and, most of all, with a massive, unprecedented influx of out-of-state corporate cash.

It inspired the nation that ordinary Wisconsinites took on this battle against such overwhelming odds. Elections come and go. But the movement is for the long haul.

Kaleem Caire

President and CEO, Urban League of Greater Madison

We should congratulate Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch on their recall victories and commend Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Madison firefighter Mahlon Mitchell for a very admirable run for governor and lieutenant governor. Now we -- the public and our political leaders -- must immediately relinquish the gladiator image we've promoted across our state and nation over the last 18 months. In its place, we must be willing to listen across boundaries and embrace ways to be inclusive of differing needs and viewpoints.

If this recall election has taught me anything, it is that a clear and compelling vision that embraces, empowers and benefits citizens across the state is the key to victory in state politics going forward. In my opinion, both candidates lacked a clear vision and plan. However, Democrats lost this election because as the challengers, they opted to build their case for the governor's chair by feeding the anger and fear their constituents felt about Gov. Walker and GOP policy decisions rather than put forward a compelling plan that spoke directly to citizens' mutual interests in economic development, job creation, investment in quality education, and controlling spending.

Our state is in desperate need of a bold vision. Its citizens want to see the manifestation of real opportunity, innovation and change in all corners of our state. The party that effectively addresses these concerns in 2014 will likely be the team that brings home a victory.

That said, I am concerned that some far-right Republicans may feel emboldened by Walker's victory and see this as an opportunity to advance a more polarizing agenda for our state. We can't allow that. Instead, we need policies and plans that make Wisconsin a state where everyone can prosper.

Jenni Dye

Dane County supervisor

There's no way around it. Scott Walker holding on to his seat is heartbreaking to those of us who have poured our efforts into restoring democracy in Wisconsin. John Lehman's projected win in the state Senate at least ensures a small amount of checks and balances until November, but not ousting Walker admittedly stings.

Instead of restoring democracy, we saw an election where more cash flowed into campaign coffers than we've ever seen in our state. We saw Walker take advantage of a loophole that allowed him to raise unlimited dollars, much of it from outside Wisconsin. Instead of restoring democracy, we saw a post-Citizens United election that was a perversion of democracy. Dollars may not vote, but they sure can control the messages voters hear.

Although I'm not nave enough to hold my breath, I hope that Walker and the Republicans will view the recall as a wake-up call. Wisconsin was and still is about all of us and our shared future, not a select few and certainly not about a "divide and conquer" strategy. We shouldn't have to go to the ballot box mid-term as the only way to have our voices heard. We should be able to talk, to have a government that listens and acknowledges all of its citizens.

This fight will turn to local governments, as they deal with Walker's budget cuts and draft employee handbooks. In Dane County, we will have tough decisions to make in our budget.

The election results are not the end of this story. I woke up the next morning with "Solidarity Forever" stuck in my head and a continued commitment to fight for the Wisconsin values I learned growing up here. And I'm not the only one.

Nick Nice


The good news is that with the Senate control going back to the Dems, Walker (or Kleefisch) won't be able to easily ram through their agenda. And this is really good news. But we can't ignore the absolute ineptitude of the state Dem leadership. This should have been an easy election to win, but instead they chose a weak candidate who refused to talk about any sort of vision he had for the state. Tom Barrett seems like a good person, but he clearly wasn't ready for this fight, just as the Dems had no strategy other than talking about "divide and conquer" and the John Doe investigation. If they had offered a clear, hopeful alternative to Walker as the people who launched this movement wanted, he would be packing his bags now. Money mattered, but a positive message could have beaten it.

Milele Chikasa Anana

Publisher, UMOJA

We are in for a long haul of conservative politics, and the issues we take on as political progressives have to be selective and focused. I think Gov. Walker has a boatload of other surprises that he will bulldoze through either the Legislature or by executive order. In his victory speech, he promised that he would communicate better with the public, which I think will happen. But his stand on public workers and teachers, on the environment, on social justice, on education, on pandering to big businesses, on less taxes for corporations and the wealthy -- all this will remain the same.

He will continue the privatization of public agencies. I think seniors are vulnerable. There will be more homelessness, more foreclosures, less small-business success, more environmental damage, fewer resources for education, more seamless partnerships between church and state. Forget about civil rights, gay rights, affirmative action, equal opportunity and economic justice. Tea party ideology will become bolder.

Today I am not optimistic. All I know is that my ancestors survived and eventually triumphed over injustices, and I believe that we will triumph over Walker-type public policies.

David Poklinkoski

President, IBEW Local 2304

In 1886 Wisconsin Gov. Jeremiah McClain Rusk gave orders to shoot, and seven workers were murdered by the state, as the mostly Polish immigrants marched and struck for the eight-hour day in Milwaukee. AFSCME was founded here; the first teaching assistants union, the TAA, started here. Workers at Kohler, in 1954, went on strike for 10 years. Things we today take for granted were fought for at the base with a strong labor movement and an active and engaged community.

When Walker "dropped the bomb" on us, the living history of what we all, including our parents and grandparents, had built was put in jeopardy. At that moment in February union members directly affected and those not directly affected understood the implications. The bourgeois philosophers had proclaimed that the working class would never rise up and fight back, that young people don't care. In this inspiring and defining moment in history, Wisconsin proved them wrong -- along with Egypt, Tunisia, Europe, Occupy Wall Street and the people of Quebec.

Unions are the last organized political force that stands in the way of a brutal corporate agenda of austerity and income transfer from the working class to the very wealthy. Accordingly, the corporate right insists we must be smashed with "divide and conquer" tactics.

In this post-Citizens United electoral world, the power of money versus the power of people came to a head in Wisconsin. As perhaps a harbinger of things to come, the corporate money won. We must learn our lessons from history; the struggle is not all about elections.

Eileen Bruskewitz

Former Dane County supervisor

Looking at the map of the Walker/Kleefisch win proved once again the adage that Madison and its immediate area are surrounded by reality. That reality is: The majority of people in Wisconsin want the governor and his lieutenant at the Capitol to continue the work they are doing to rein in the "blue fist," move government toward economic prosperity for all employees and employers, and establish a financially secure future for the state. That means a balanced budget and a business climate that encourages businesses to expand and locate here. When the private sector flourishes, the public sector has the resources to provide the government services we all want.

This is an impossibly poisonous pill for the political elite and progressive left to swallow -- so thoroughly have they convinced themselves that their way is the only way, that business is evil, and that conservatives are mean. I don't expect the attacks to wane. The socialist agenda plays well in our special little world.

The reliable 30% of Dane County voters and the nearly 60% of Wisconsin voters know that there is a better future that will bring a legacy of stability, success and peace for themselves and for the future generations in our state.

The voters came out in record numbers. They had enough occupying and acting out. Their message: Let the normal cycle of elections proceed. If we don't like what elected officials are doing, we will vote them out when their time is up.

Bill Kraus

Co-chair, Common Cause of Wisconsin

I acknowledge that we tend to hear what we want to hear. That said, what I heard Tuesday was "Enough already. Enough with the recalls and elections every other month."

We have a representative government. We elected the current crop of incumbents to govern, not to conduct continuous campaigns. If we don't like what they do, we'll let them know when they run for reelection at the end of their terms. Recalls, like impeachments, should be rare responses to high crimes and misdemeanors.

The immediate imperative is to get our representatives back to practicing the trade and art of governing. Doing their jobs with mutual respect and civility would be a nice as well.

Kaja Rebane

Member, Teaching Assistants' Association

I remember the moment last year when I first felt our power. It was Wednesday, Feb. 16, and I was standing on a frozen slope outside the Capitol. The previous day had drawn 10,000 and inspired the first sleep-in.

But it wasn't until that crisp morning, as I watched 20,000 people assembling through bloodshot eyes, that my despair turned to hope. I realized that what seemed inevitable wasn't, and that we have the power to fight back.

I think we may be in a similar moment. Though Tuesday's results may feel like defeat, they could pave the way for future victories. But only if we learn from them.

The lesson is that it's time to move electoral reform to the top of the priority list.

Tuesday's results couldn't be clearer. Walker decimated public services, ran our economy into the ground, and is currently under criminal investigation. In any fair contest, he should have gone down in flames. But he outspent his opponent by a margin of seven to one and survived.

This is not what democracy looks like. Elections should not be decided by a candidate's ability to drown his opponent in hateful 30-second attack ads. Candidates need an equal voice so voters can make an informed choice.

It is time to make clear, through a constitutional amendment, that money is not speech and corporations are not people, so that we can once again place common-sense limits on electoral spending.

While Tuesday's results may feel like a setback, I think they're a wake-up call. It's time to get creative, reach across ideological lines, and work hard to fix our political system.

Alfonso Zepeda-Capistrán

Former president, LUChA

I am not surprised that the Democrats lost. I am surprised at how many lost and by the margins they lost by.

Going into the race I knew it would be difficult to defeat the $30 million bombardment of the airwaves and the Internet with half-truths and lies -- all about how great Walker was. They even penetrated the food channels and progressive radio stations.

Living in Sun Prairie, it was also hard to see Walker signs all over. I even saw [state Sen.] Scott Fitzgerald come out of my neighborhood last Thursday evening. It's not uncommon to see GOP activity at this neighbor's house, including a fleet of vehicles with DOA and State Capitol parking stickers on them. I felt like I was being violated in my own neighborhood. Just as I felt when Walker took over the Capitol and took away my rights as a state employee to organize while also significantly slicing my already miniscule salary.

How do I feel? I am disappointed, of course. I had hoped for the beginning of the restoration of all the damage the governor and his disciples have caused in the state in so many different areas, particularly in education.

What disappoints me the most is that so many people in Wisconsin have so ignorantly decided to vote against their own interests when the governor does not have the people's interests in mind.

So, what is next? We keep on working. We keep on learning so that the ignorant and the moneyed classes do not take over our spirit. They can take over the state and invade our neighborhoods, but not our spirit. Or, as my good friend Fred said, "Maybe I will move to Sweden."

Brad Werntz


Scott Walker has lied to Wisconsin, has divided neighbors and family, and has taken our economy, environment and education system into a downward spiral. It took a mountain of out-of-state money to keep him in power. The prevailing online joke is that this was not an election as much as it was an auction.

Maggie Thomas

Social worker

The outcome of the recall elections is sadly predictable. There is no compelling reason to have confidence in the integrity of our elections in Wisconsin, or in the accuracy of the results. While much of our state still votes on paper, private companies without oversight own the machines through which our ballots are fed and presumably counted. Additionally, what we have seen and will continue to see is a move away from voting on paper and toward machines that are easily hacked, inherently flawed and intentionally proprietary.

Despite high voter turnout and exit poll reports of a 50-50 race, we see results that exceeded predictions, defy logic and, in some cases, reveal unexplained distortions in voter data. Until we have hand-marked paper ballots that are publicly hand-counted at each ward upon poll closing, with all citizens, parties and video cameras observing and with results posted right then and there before any ballots are moved anywhere, this is what we can expect.

Jeff Burkhart

Executive director, Literacy Network

In mid-February of last year, I wondered whether the people of Wisconsin would stand up for their democracy in the way that people in Egypt had. As more people have become active in politics, democracy is energized in Wisconsin. I think back to last December when a woman in her 50s showed up at a neighborhood meeting and said, "I've never knocked on doors to talk to people about politics in my life. And I'm scared to do it, but I'm going to do it anyway." She helped collect hundreds of signatures to start the recall of Gov. Walker.

No matter what the results, it is good for our state to continue to have activists making calls and knocking on doors. This gives me hope that the people who stood up for democracy in Wisconsin will continue to be engaged in politics and elect leaders who will stand up for their best interests. After all, money doesn't vote. People do.

Brian Austin

Police officer and blogger, Badger Blue, Times Two

On June 5 we saw the true power of money in our political system. It promotes false truths through the incessant shriek of political advertising. It allows for the purchase of entire news networks and talk radio shows whose only function is to support the political interests of a select few. Until our society ceases to accept this influence, we will continue to see a nation in decline. The reason is simple: this money is spent to promote interests that are contrary to our collective well-being. It supports only the super rich and corporate elite, and the result is a democracy that is broken and sick.

But people are responsible for the votes they cast, despite the influence of big money. It is up to our citizens to educate themselves about who truly represents the best interests of this state and nation, and to educate themselves about the character of the people for whom they vote. As long as people lack the insight to see they are voting against their own interests, we will be governed by individuals who are reckless stewards of our society. In the case of this election, it pains me that the majority of Wisconsinites failed to recognize that they voted for someone who is likely to face federal criminal prosecution for the way in which he has governed.

To all of my fellow winter soldiers, you have given me the tremendous gift of a new family. Despite the results of the election, the movement we created together is strong in its foundation and true in its purpose. For me, this has truly become a lifelong commitment. I have no intention of telling my children that their father surrendered the fight for the ideals that made this nation great.

Arthur Kohl-Riggs

Candidate for governor in the GOP primary as a Lincoln/La Follette Republican

Scott Walker spent over $30 million buying this recall, and it will be an amazing investment for his out-of-state venture capitalists.

What we saw on election night was a perfect example of the undue influence that money has on our electoral process. The undisputed winners were the Koch brothers and other out-of-state billionaires.

I hope this causes people to question the integrity of our election process. We shouldn't place trust in a system that can be taken advantage of so easily. We will continue to see elections that represent the interests of money over the interests of the people until we get money out of elections.

We need to fight to protect the integrity of our elections. We need to fight like our country depends on it, because it does.

But really, all of this could have been avoided if we'd just voted Walker out in the primary in May. I tried to tell you guys....

Melissa Malott

Water program director, Clean Wisconsin

Wisconsinites are more united than we appear to be. We agree on Packers, brats and beer. We want a government that is fiscally responsible, serves us as citizens, helps grow our economy, and protects our quality of life, safety and environment. We believe in democracy, as excellently displayed this week, and this shows we believe in the voice of each individual to decide our collective future.

Where we differ is in how to achieve what we all want. This difference has been the subject of intense focus for a year and a half now, and came to a culmination, and hopefully an end, Tuesday night. This divide has cost us much. We've lost rights, jobs, and trust in government officials. Both parties, and we as voters, are responsible for this. Bad job numbers may reflect poorly on Gov. Walker, but they affect all of us and are therefore our responsibility, too.

I was relieved and pleased that Gov. Walker chose to focus his victory speech on bringing people together, mending divides, and involving people in the process; he could have talked about a mandate. And truly, he can help bring us together by being open and responsive to all sides. Working together will help us find solutions that work for all of us.

Hawk Sullivan

Owner, Hawk's Bar and Grill

The political system in our country is broken. It promotes divisiveness, not compromise. It rewards few, while penalizing many. Our politicians are bought by the highest bidder, and chances are it isn't you. Too often our politicians are pushed to toe a party line, at all costs. No need for critical thought. No room for dissent. Simply vote for this bill, or else. This is how we got here. It would be easy to blame Scott Walker, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

Over the past year and a half I thought I saw something special happen in Wisconsin. Sadly, I live in my bubble called Madison, and apparently drink the sweet, tasty Kool-Aid that is always served here. The results of the recall election only strengthen the love I have for my city. This too shall pass. We survived eight years of George W. Bush, we can survive two more of Walker.

Chris Reeder

Organizer, Solidarity Sing Along

My heart hurts. It hurts for all those who have worked so hard, for so long, only to see their efforts wiped out by a tidal wave of money. Corporate money, money from out of state. All made possible by Citizens United.

We held three sing-alongs on Election Day. At each, we sang "We Shall Overcome." Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome. Someday. Not necessarily tomorrow. But someday. Some day soon. When people are counted more than money, and communities are valued more than corporations.

I know that there will be time for grieving, and time for anger, and time for confusion. And I know that after that, it will be time to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and get back to work.

But for now: My heart hurts.

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Blogger, Monologues of Dissent

Despite having put up a fight that will earn a place in history books, the grassroots efforts that captured the world's attention didn't stand much of a chance against unlimited campaign contribution and a messaging campaign so massive that the fact that it was full of lies and misrepresentations eventually became irrelevant.

Walker -- in true "divide and conquer" form -- contrasted the "good and decent people" who support him with "those who voted for the other guy" and spent the majority of his victory speech bragging about how his divisive policies and refusal to negotiate prove he's the kind of leader who will "stand up and make tough decisions." Then he had the nerve to claim it's time to work together.

Scott "Fundraising is Governing" Walker has zero intention of working together with anyone who is not handing him a check. We need now to strengthen our resolve to follow the money, and fight hard to keep it out of the politics that are destroying our schools, decimating our proud tradition of civility, and creating a vacuum where even the most inspiring display of citizen action is but a mosquito buzzing in ears that hear only the whispers of those who have shown us that democracy can, in fact, be purchased.

Walker got one thing right last night, and the heartless irony of it left me sobbing: "Bringing our state together will take some time. There's just no doubt about it."

Tag Evers

Concert promoter, True Endeavors

Last week Tom Morello reminded us that the recall was part of a bigger picture -- the global resistance to huge increases in profits for the few and declining wages for the many. He's right. Corporations functioning in unregulated markets shift costs off the books and onto the backs of working people, the poor, the environment and future generations. It's do or die in a competitive marketplace, regardless of the long-terms costs for society. The financialization of the American economy over the last 30 years has changed us from a country that made things to a country run by those who place billion-dollar bets. If they make the wrong bet, as they did in 2008, the taxpayers foot the bill. If they make the right bet, they get richer, hire more lobbyists, leading to more deregulation and tax cuts. Meanwhile, the middle class disappears.

The recall, indeed, is part of this narrative. Don't be distracted. Despite Walker's win on Tuesday, the struggle continues.

Bobby Peterson

Director, ABC for Health

The recall election brutally exposed that the concept of one person, one vote is threatened, if not lost in Wisconsin. The phenomenal influx of campaign contributions crushed our notion of a representative democracy and helped reduce our electorate to vassals capitulating to the still emerging and massive messaging power of our neo-feudal lords: the super PACs and large corporations. Unlimited campaign fuel is highly corrosive to our notions of democracy and our ideals.

Neither Scott Walker nor Tom Barrett had clean hands in the process. Most advertising blitzes reduced the campaign to a slugfest between big business and big labor. And sadly, there were other issues to debate beyond collective bargaining: What happened to BadgerCare and the 132,000 single adults on a waitlist for health coverage? The candidates and the ever-diminished media largely ignored these Medicaid issues that affect over 1.2 million people. The super PACs never blinked an eye while messaging to confuse, alienate and divide voters prevailed.

Most recognize that a divided Wisconsin must heal. We desperately need the promised reconciliation that may be hard for Gov. Walker to deliver. The corporate and super PAC paymasters will demand the return on investment that marginalized the issues for ordinary voters.

Alex Hanna

Grad Student, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The movement that grew out of the Wisconsin uprising does not end with this election. It was never meant to be the end, and the rhetoric that suggested so -- by people on the anti-Walker side, no less -- was dearly mistaken.

Movement-building rarely happens by leaps and bounds, but is the product of slow and steady mobilization over a number of years. Building effective organizations and networks that can put pressure on those in power takes a lot of time, much more than the month or so that had been spent during the Capitol occupation, or the month that the Barrett campaign had to build their operation. We are not just building for elections or even for occupations. We are building capacity for people power.

We've got a long way to go, and a lot of organizing to do. Building capacity means rebuilding our unions and our progressive institutions for the current moment. According to exit polls, 38% of union households voted for Walker. That signals to me that we've got to be very self-critical about how we organize in this state.

At the Get Out the Vote rally at the Labor Temple last Friday, longtime labor activist Ed Sadlowski said to me, "The most important thing is what we do on June 6th." Well, here we are.


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