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Monday, September 1, 2014  |   Madison, WI: 71.0° F  
THE SCONZ: Breaking news and commentary on campus, city and state politics
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The Sconz has no idea who will win Wisconsin recalls
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I think this may have been the title of my post before the Supreme Court election. Call me a coward, but I really have nothing to base a prediction on. I can imagine a variety of scenarios, from a Dem sweep to a GOP sweep. I can see it all.

Over the past few months I've generally been turned off by the Democratic recall campaigns. The state party took an organic movement for workers' rights and turned it into another forgettable campaign of Medicare talking points, sex scandals and the usual tricks. I think this battle in Wisconsin was a rare opportunity for the Democrats to transform the political landscape and the public consciousness on economic issues. Every once in a while somebody can do it. Reagan did it and now the Tea Party/GOP is doing its best to further isolate the American people from economic reality. The GOP would rather this country crash and burn than raise taxes on rich people. The Democrats need to make that clear to people.

The Democrats never made clear what was actually at stake in this election. "We shouldn't balance the budget on the backs of working people," they've said without explaining. Some people identify with such slogans, but they'd be even more motivated if you gave tangible examples of the damage being done by cuts. For instance, I don't know what $800 million of cuts to public schools means; it's a completely abstract number. However, if you tell me that a teacher who makes $35,000 a year is getting an unexpected 10 percent pay cut, I'll understand that we may have a serious problem getting qualified people to teach kids in the next few years. Or tell me about the janitor who makes $12 an hour and is getting a 20% pay cut. Make the abstract reality.

Because the truth is, people in the state and country support higher taxes on the rich. Polls show it over and over again. And yet political professionals are so scared of being labeled as tax hikers that they are unwilling to ever be associated with one, even if the numbers say it's politically popular. This messaging problem is made worse when the political pros don't customize the message for the locale. They simply impose the formula that has been written in D.C. and Madison. The further removed the pros are from the populace, the more abstract the message is going to be, which makes it unlikely to energize new voters and activists.

Suffice it to say I hope the Democrats win. I really hate the Republicans. If the GOP wins I think I'm going to go off the grid for a while. Any hunting tips?

Follow The Sconz on Twitter or Facebookto get regular updates on city and state politics. Tune in to the radio show everyday between 10-11 a.m. on 1670 AM WTDY. Please send anonymous tips, interview requests or any other comments to jcraver@isthmus.com.

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