David Prosser and the Supremes


Image by OnTask via Flickr

Tomorrow’s Election Day!

Well, not everywhere, but tomorrow, April 5, in Wisconsin there’s an election being held that carries enough drama, excitement, tension and nationwide significance to gladden the heart of any political addict.

Normally this would just be a sleepy by-election drawing, on average, about 10 to 15% of registered voters to the polls. But this year, as we all know, is anything but a normal political year in Wisconsin. The contested seat is on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Incumbent David Prosser, a Republican, was until recently expected to easily hold the seat. He is being challenged by Democrat JoAnne Kloppenburg, environmental lawyer and long-time state attorney, who has strong union support. In this campaign the rancor is deep and the tension is sky-high. The Supreme Court election is seen as a proxy for the bitter battle currently being waged between governor Scott Walker and the state’s labor unions.

The court is narrowly divided, usually ruling 4-3 along conservative lines. Prosser, who was first appointed to the court by former governor Tommy Thompson to fill a vacancy  in 1998, tends to align himself with the conservative majority. If Kloppenburg wins, the balance of power will shift dramatically.

From the linked article:

Both campaigns are concentrating heavily on the negative aspects of the opposing side, virtually eschewing a positive message. Much of the commentary is the same and boils down to basic assumptions. Prosser is too conservative and beholden to the Walker camp. Kloppenburg is inexperienced and in the hip pocket of the unions. Attack ads from both sides are viewed as fair game or despicable tricks, depending on which extreme of the political spectrum one falls.

The stakes could hardly be higher. This, after all, is the Supreme Court that will rule eventually not only on Wisconsin redistricting, but possibly on the statewide recall efforts currently being mounted as result of Walker’s union-stripping effort, and even on the legality of the anti-collective bargaining bill itself.

In a detailed article at National Review, Robert Costa lays out the stakes and strategy for both sides, and reports that internal polling shows the two candidates basically even…“an ominous sign for the incumbent.”

This will be the first electoral test of the strength of public opposition to Scott Walker’s union-busting bill. Polls close in Wisconsin at 8:00PM local time (CST). Check back at 538 Refugees tomorrow evening for up-to-the-minute poll results and live chat about this important election.

About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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218 Responses to David Prosser and the Supremes

  1. filistro says:

    Ooooh… this doesn’t look good for Prosser.

    He’s been endorsed by Sarah Palin!

    “Prosser’s campaign told the Associated Press that they didn’t seek out Palin’s endorsement, but they welcomed “broad support.”

    “Broad support.” LOL. And if that strikes you as a teeny bit tone deaf… this is a SC Justice who, in front of witnesses, called Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “bitch” and threatened to “destroy her.”

    No wonder Sarah is so fond of him. Don’t retreat, reload!

  2. Mr. Universe says:

    Judas kiss?

  3. Mr. Universe says:

    Support from a broad, maybe?

  4. TMS says:

    This will certainly be a good opportunity to take the pulse of the Wisconsin electorate. I think Prosser may lose the election, but I doubt that it’s a realistic reflection of the rest of the country.

  5. Justsayin' says:

    Hope Springs Eternal!! and its 80 degrees here, Yay!!!

  6. filistro says:

    @TMS.. I doubt that it’s a realistic reflection of the rest of the country.

    Why do you doubt it? Feelings seem to be running just as high in Ohio, where they are working to turn Kasich’s collective bargaining bill into a ballot initiative… and in Indiana where their fleeing legislators also came home to a “heroes’ welcome”.

  7. mclever says:

    It might be 80 today, but election day is tomorrow. Here, it was in the 80s yesterday and 40s today. Gotta love Midwest weather!


  8. TMS says:

    I doubt it because the midwest is different from the rest of the country. California is deeply divided about unions, and most of the south and west are opposed to them in general (except Las Vegas).

  9. NotImpressed says:

    So the Midwest may be the only part of the country that actually likes unions. But the Midwest is exactly what the Republicans have to win. The Democrats already have most of both Coasts in a lock. If the Republicans lose the Midwest, then they’ve become a southern and southwestern regional party. Minus Nevada, and Colorado, and maybe even Arizona. And maybe Florida. Even SC, Virginia, and Georgia are becoming swing states.

  10. TMS says:

    And if unions are the deciding factor for the presidential vote in 2012, Obama will carry the midwest. It may be enough in Michigan, and possibly Ohio, but I really doubt it would overcome the conservative streak of Indiana.

    But you’re seriously deluded if you think South Carolina or Georgia stands a chance of voting for a Democrat in anything outside of gerrymandered districts.

  11. NotImpressed says:

    You’re probably right about SC. I mean to type NC. My bad.

    Georgia was considered a toss-up in the runup to the 2008 Presidential. Redistricting (the gerrymandering done by the Republican-controlled state legislature) may keep the state legi and US Representatives as reds. But District boundaries don’t affect the statewide vote for pres. McCain only won Georgia with 52%. The statewide vote is going to be within maybe 4% to 5%, and I’m not at all convinced which way that’s going to go.

    In 2008, Indiana went for McCain by about 40,000 votes out of nearly 3 million cast. Union-busting Republicans could make all the difference next year.

  12. NotImpressed says:

    Oy. Looked at an early map. Obama actually won Indiana, didn’t he?

  13. TMS says:

    And this one’s a Democrat up for recall. Still think it’s all pro-union there?

  14. filistro says:

    Still think it’s all pro-union there?

    I never thought it was “all pro-union.” I do think it’s all-out war, and people on both sides of the issue are very engaged in how their politicians are behaving. I expect we’ll see a lot more participation tomorrow than the usual 10-15%…. which will give us a pretty accurate reading on the mood of the electorate.

  15. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    Based on your best guess concerning Wisconsin politics, how about giving you best guess on what is going to happen there in the next 4 months.

    8 GOP senators and 8 Dem senators are subject to recall. A net change of -3 GOP seats in the WI Senate would give control to the Dems.

    How many of each party will actually face a recall election?
    What will be the net change, if any in the WI Senate?


  16. filistro says:

    Make that three.

    This one’s also GOP… the one who’s been living outside his district with a 20-something girlfriend.

    I really don’t like his chances 🙂

  17. TMS says:

    I don’t know enough about the individual players to handicap it. But it sure looks like there’s a lot of animosity on both sides.

  18. filistro says:

    Election day is finally here.

    The whole issue is going to be whether conservatives are as motivated as Dems to get to the polls. But that might be a faint hope, since emotion is running really high in liberal Dane County.

    The city clerk in Madison is predicting a 60% turnout.

    This is almost unbelievable. Voter turnout in an election like this usually runs around 10%. The Republicans have run into a buzz saw on this one, and they should take it as cautionary tale. If taking away collective bargaining rights gets Dems all fired up… just wait until you start taking away their Medicare!

  19. mclever says:

    I’ll believe 60% turnout for an off-cycle election when I see it.

  20. shortchain says:

    The pendulum of political elections is starting to look a lot more in my mind’s eye like “galloping gertie”. I wonder if the out-of-control oscillations will end the same way they did in that case.

  21. filistro says:

    I’m trying hard to figure out what’s happening here.

    Why, after years of apathy, trivia, and absorption with scandal and nonsense, are we suddenly seeing such white-hot political passion out there in the electorate surrounding actual substantive issues?

    It must be a sociological phenomenon of some kind that’s happening… but what and why? Anybody got a theory?

  22. mclever says:


    My guess is that the recent economic downturn jolted a lot of people into paying attention to something besides blow-jobs, cocaine habits, and toe-tapping in restrooms.

  23. filistro says:

    @Mac… I’ll believe 60% turnout for an off-cycle election when I see it.

    I think the city clerk means 60% just in Madison… which is still, as you say, kind of unbelievable. But Madison has been ground zero for the union battle, and feelings are running high there.

    For Prosser to survive, the Republicans would have to manage something similar in the conservative areas upstate.

  24. filistro says:

    @Mac.. the recent economic downturn jolted a lot of people into paying attention

    I’m not sure that’s the whole answer… but it’s probably a contributing factor. And the truer it is, the more Republicans risk by their relentless harping on social issues. When you can’t pay your mortgage, your health care has been cancelled and your job is at risk, the last thing you want is the Church Lady down the street bugging you because your kids aren’t in Sunday school.

  25. dcpetterson says:

    The Republicans are about to propose that we eliminate Medicare, and replace it with private health care for the poor and elderly.


    How’s that going to play in 2012?

  26. mclever says:


    Please tell me that’s not a holdover from April Fool’s! They’d be foolish to propose such a thing! Last I checked, many more people support expanding Medicare than eliminating it!!

  27. I’ll believe 60% turnout for an off-cycle election when I see it

    mclever, I was thinking exactly the same thing

  28. dcpetterson says:


    The Republicans will present the elimination of Medicare as “saving” it, “reforming” it. You’ll have your own private insurance — you know what to do with your money better than the gubmint does, right? You should make your own medical decisions, not sum gubmint burrowcrat.

    Save it by privitizing.

  29. mostlyilurk says:

    “The Republicans will present the elimination of Medicare as “saving” it, “reforming” it. You’ll have your own private insurance — you know what to do with your money better than the gubmint does, right? You should make your own medical decisions, not sum gubmint burrowcrat.”

    And don’t forget that they’re proposing to repeal health care reform so that those private insurance companies can refuse to cover pre-existing conditions, impose lifetime caps and drop you when you becomes too expensive for them to cover. Is this really what people voted for in 2010? If so, why?!?

  30. Brian says:

    I could have sworn I heard the “save it by privatizing it” argument not too long ago in regards to Social Security. I don’t recall that ending too well for Republicans.

  31. dcpetterson says:

    Also, the Republicans will present the privatization of Medicare as, “It’s too expensive for the government to do. We can’t afford it.” But somehow, not sharing the medical costs over the entire nation will make it more affordable? Individuals will be able to afford it easier when they’re thrown out on their own? Really?

  32. TMS says:

    At least the Republicans are proposing to do SOMETHING about Medicare. The only thing we spend more on as a nation is defense. Thus far, the Democrats have proposed doing nothing, which is taking us to insolvency.

    So what would YOU do to make Medicare sustainable?

  33. mostlyilurk says:

    I’m wondering if the people who are proposing that Medicare be privatized are really thinking about what it is they’re proposing. I’m imagining the people who I know who are currently receiving Medicare trying to purchase insurance on the private market – it would impossible, absolutely impossible, for them to get private insurance yet this is exactly what’s being proposed. What in the world are these people thinking?

  34. dcpetterson says:

    So what would YOU do to make Medicare sustainable?

    I haven’t looked into it deeply. But one thing I’d look into is removing the age-65 lower limit, and offering it to the entire nation. Enlarging the risk pool by including younger and healthier people will definitely lower the per-person costs. Operating on Medicare’s 2% overhead rather than the 20% – 30% overhead of private insurance companies would help also.

    I’d like to see some studies done on the effects of this suggestion. No, I can’t defend it in detail; I advance it as an idea needing some scoring and sophisticated projections, of which there have been, as far as I know, none.

  35. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    So what would YOU do to make Medicare sustainable?

    NOT re-invent the wheel!

    Copy, to as great extent as possible the Canadian Medicare.

    fili, not sure the differences between Albertan and Manitoban plans vs Ontario, perhaps you may enlighten us?

    I DO know, seeing and talking to A LOT of winter Texans from Alberta and Manitoba that I have NOT HAD ONE that would swap THEIR healthcare for what we have in the States.

  36. filistro says:

    @Max… fili, not sure the differences between Albertan and Manitoban plans vs Ontario, perhaps you may enlighten us?

    There is no difference. The program is national in scope and application, and fully portable between provinces. If I were traveling or working in eastern Canada, my health care would be the same as in my home province. The major difference is in how much residents of various provinces pay for coverage, depending on how much the province is willing to kick in. This varies from a high of (I believe) about $100 a month for a family of four in the populous provinces like Ontario to a low of less than $30 a month out here in the oil-rich west.

    I have NOT HAD ONE that would swap THEIR healthcare for what we have in the States.

    Nor have I, not one, not ever… and I live here. 🙂

    And just for the record… Canadians are free to choose their own doctor, see a specialist if they wish and take their kids to any hospital they choose. They do not travel to the United States for health care, they have access to modern diagnostics like MRI’s and CAT scans, they get timely and up-to-date care as needed, their wait times for elective surgery are being steadily reduced, and after surgery they don’t go home the same day with a catheter and an IV stand. And they have better life expectancy and longer survival rates for most cancers than Americans while spending about half as much per capita.

    (Lest anybody disbelieves me, this is from wiki: The United States spends much more money on health care than Canada, on both a per-capita basis and as a percentage of GDP.[5] In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in Canada was US$3,678; in the U.S., US$6,714. The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in that year; Canada spent 10.0%.[5

  37. filistro says:

    From Madison city clerk… 17% of eligible residents had voted by 11 a.m.


    Spring Election Day – April 5, 2011!

    Polls open 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

    April 5, 2011 Election:

    11AM-17% Turnout: turnout by ward listed below.

    The Madison City Clerk’s Office issued 8,404 absentee ballots, including 4,187 voted at our office.

    92.5% of the absentee ballots issued have been returned to be counted.

  38. dcpetterson says:

    filistro, that all sounds terrible. How can you guys live with such …. such …. socialism???

  39. filistro says:

    @DC.. How can you guys live with such …. such …. socialism???

    LOL… I guess we just have shamefully low standards 😉

  40. polijeff says:

    Filistro said: “But I’m surprised to note I’ve actually moved a bit to the right since I last took the test. It must be the positive influence of my right-wing friends here at 538 Refugees.”

    I wish I could take some of the credit for your move towards rationality, but I think it’s more likely the result of maturity and studying the issues.

  41. TMS says:

    dcpetterson, you said:
    “But one thing I’d look into is removing the age-65 lower limit, and offering it to the entire nation. Enlarging the risk pool by including younger and healthier people will definitely lower the per-person costs.”

    That’s absurd. Yes, it would lower the per-person costs, but Medicare isn’t one of those things where the recipients of health care are paying the premiums. The people who pay the premiums are the same ones who pay into Social Security. It’s the workers, not the recipients.

    So if you expand the pool of recipients, you RAISE the costs. If it’s costing us more than we’re putting in now, how does increasing the costs make things better???

  42. TMS says:

    OK, filistro, since you’re better informed about the Canadian system…why is it so much cheaper there?

  43. dcpetterson says:


    Hmmm….. Maybe the solution is for us all to move to Canada.

    Seriously though, did you miss that if someone is in Medicare, they shouldn’t also have to buy private insurance? That the $1.7 trillion or so that we current hand to the insurance companies would instead go into the Medicare pool? (Understandable if you missed that, because I neglected to spell it out. Apologies.)

    If we take the money that we’re all currently spending on private insurance, and instead send it to Medicare (we have to spend that money anyway, one way or another), then I suspect the demonstrated better efficiency and better outcomes of Medicare will be a vast improvement over the current health care payment system. But as I said, I’ve never seen this scored or projected out. It’s something that I think should be studied.

  44. filistro says:

    TMS>.. why is it so much cheaper there?

    I’m not an expert on health care policy, but I’d propose two reasons. First, without insurance companies and HMO’s skimming their share of the money pool, virtually every dollar spent goes to actual health care instead of to admin expenses and company profits. Also, Canada is a much less litigious society and jury awards are controlled so less money is wasted on expensive, unnecessary and redundant tests that American doctors must order to safeguard themselves from lawsuits.

  45. filistro says:

    @Jeff… I wish I could take some of the credit for your move towards rationality, but I think it’s more likely the result of maturity and studying the issues.

    LOL! Oh, it’s lovely to have you back 🙂

    I think you probably do get a bit of the credit. Any political movement that claims you among its adherents can’t be all bad.

    (okay, 98% bad… but with some tiny redeeming features.. ;-))

  46. TMS says:

    filistro, from what I’ve read, malpractice insurance accounts for about 5% of medical costs in America. Administration of insurance accounts for another 15% or so. But Americans spend more than 20% more than Canadians, and I’m sure that Canadians don’t have insurance with zero administration costs.

    Something doesn’t add up. What is it?

    Oh…one more thing…have health care costs been going up 20% in Canada year over year?

  47. Brian says:

    Might also have to do with the preventative care they do up there. For example, I don’t think there’s so much obesity and associated ailments in Canada as there is in the US, which would be a major cost to the healthcare industry.

  48. mclever says:


    I think filistro touched on one reason when she mentioned all of the extra tests or “defensive medicine.” It’s not just the malpractice costs, but patient demands and skewed incentive structures drive prices up.

    Places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota consistently offer a better standard of care than the typical hospital at 1/3 to 1/2 the cost per patient as compared to similar facilities in other states. Why? Different payment and incentive structure, for one. There, doctors are compensated not on a per-treatment basis but on a per-patient basis, for example. Ordering more tests doesn’t mean more fees for the doctor, so the tests that are ordered cost less. There’s much more to the treatment design at Mayo, but that’s one example of how our medical compensation structure is skewed in this country.

    Also, when we’re hurting, we Americans tend to demand lots of sound and fury signifying nothing. If the doctor doesn’t immediately call for a dozen tests, we don’t think enough is being done to fix our problem right this instant, but sometimes the best course of treatment is wait a couple of weeks and see how things are doing. We don’t like that, so we demand a blood test, an X-ray, maybe an EKG, an ultrasound, or whatever before we trust that our doctor is really taking our problem seriously.

    A second reason is that prices go up due to larger numbers of under-insured, because those who are insured eat the costs to cover the under-insured. Medical providers pad the costs to make sure they come out profitable even after taking the hit from those who can’t pay. More uninsured means higher costs for everyone. Canada doesn’t have any uninsured, so their costs won’t have that pressure either.

    A third reason would be the lack of price controls on new pharmaceuticals. There’s a reason buying drugs north of the border is so much cheaper than it is here. Until those reasons are eliminated, our costs will continue to rise at a higher rate.

    Just a few thoughts off the top of my head. I’m sure others here can offer more.

  49. mclever says:

    Better preventative medicine. That’s a good one, too, Brian.

  50. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Check out article here on comparative costs.

    Note the difference in per capita for US versus everybody else.

    The question is not “what are the differences?, the question is “why we have let conservative ideology screw the best interests of the public?” !!!!!!!

  51. dcpetterson says:

    Check out article here on comparative costs.

    We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re #1!

    USA! USA! USA!

  52. Max,

    The question is not “what are the differences?, the question is “why we have let conservative ideology screw the best interests of the public?”

    Only if you’re merely interested in partisan bickering. If you’re interested in finding solutions, then the right question to ask is “what are the differences?”

  53. filistro says:

    @TMS… Administration of insurance accounts for another 15% or so.

    I didn’t say just admin. I said admin and PROFITS. I’m sure health insurers are not non-profit companies.

    In Canada, there ARE no health insurers needing to earn profits off the system. All health care providers, from GP’s to neurologists to therapists, provide services to patients as they see fit, and then bill Health Canada after the fact, which then reimburses them without question. As a result, far from having “the government come between you and your doctor” there is NOBODY between you and your doctor. You have a problem, you see your doctor, he treats you and bills the government. The patient files no forms, fills out no applications, pays no part of any bill and deals with no middleman.

    That “middleman,” it seems, is a very, very costly item.

  54. TMS says:

    filistro, two things about that:
    First, by “administration” I was including profits. Perhaps I should have said “premiums that aren’t paid out by the insurance companies” but that seemed too wordy. That’s what I meant, though.

    Second, you may be “sure” that they’re not non-profits, but you’d “sure” be wrong. Blue Cross and Blue Shield are both non-profit. So is Kaiser Permanente. And Mayo. Sure, there are several for-profit insurers as well, but neither side dominates the industry.

  55. filistro says:

    TMs… “non-profit” doesn’t mean they don’t make any money. It means they manage their books so as not to have any left over after salaries, administration, operating costs, capital expenditures, overhead and executive bonuses… all of which come out of the health care dollar.

  56. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    Sorry, but you are correct only in the “ideal” world, but sadly incorrect in the real world in which we must exist. The nature of our democracy makes your “ideal” world nonexistent.

    If you were correct en toto, the term “death panels” would not have become an issue two summers ago, and the false premises, played like a Stradivarius by the conservatives, would not create the atmosphere wherein TMS is correct in his recitation of poll numbers.

  57. mclever says:


    If your number is 15%, then you’re only off by a factor of 2 or so. Overhead and “profits” account for closer to 30% of medical costs.

  58. Max says:

    When I go to my medical provider and offer to pay cash, I get an immediate 20% discount without any haggling.

    That is a starting point for what the real take by the insurance companies actually is.

  59. filistro says:

    Voter turnout shatters predictions.

    Over 50% in some districts.

    Polls close in one hour. This could be a very good night for liberal commie pinkos who still believe in a healthy middle class.

  60. Monotreme says:

    From Twitter:

    RT @MadDanWSJ: Turnout update: Madison expecting 70% by night’s end. Had ballots to handle last Nov.’s turnout. Had to order addtl. 7,000.

  61. filistro says:

    Treme… woohoo!

  62. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    If I were the GOP, I’d be afraid.

    Very afraid!

    When We the People turn out in numbers, it is NOT a good thing for Republicans.

    While they, and their Tea Party core, like to TALK about “the People”, “the People“, in numbers reject them and their core talking points.

  63. filistro says:

    Polls are closed. Results will soon begin appearing here.

  64. dcpetterson says:

    filistro, I shiver with antici—


  65. DC,
    Sounds like it might be a rocky evening…

  66. filistro says:

    Elections are funny things, aren’t they?

    Seats on the WI Supreme Court are held for a ten-year period. So Scott Walker and his Great Right-Wing Overreach have ensured that the liberals instead of the conservatives will probably hold the balance of power on the WI Supreme Court for the next decade.

    And this after the right outspent the left 3 to 2 in this race.

    Shades of things to come in 2012? Do dogs chase cats?

  67. filistro says:

    It’s way too close for comfort. One of the Freepers just said Russ Feingold got 78% of Dane County and still lost.

    Freepers are notorious fibbers, but still…

  68. filistro says:



  69. filistro says:

    No votes at all in yet from Milwaukee or Madison….

  70. Monotreme says:

    Dave Weigel’s Twitter feed is full of comparisons of Bush-Kerry 2004 to Prosser-Kloppenberg 2010. Turns out, county by county, the percentages are the same (Prosser = Bush; Kloppenberg = Kerry).

    What was the 2004 outcome, you ask? 49.7% Kerry, 49.3% Bush.

    This one will be tight, folks. I am heartened by the lack of returns from Dane County (Madison) and Milwaukee, which will go 60/40 Kloppenberg.

  71. TMS says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a close one. Still tied up.

  72. filistro says:

    50-50 now.

    The Freepers are getting county results ahead of AP and are increasingly gloomy. Madison and Milwaukee precincts going very heavily for Kloppenburg. Their only hope now is Waukesha county which has about 50% reporting, strongly Prosser.

  73. filistro says:

    Kloppenburg now ahead by 4,000 votes… was trailing by 22,000 about 20 minutes ago. City precincts coming in.


    They say “SEIU thugs are stuffing ballot boxes, they’re going to steal another one from us.”

    Freepers never, ever lose elections… they’re always “stolen”. Either by ACORN or “SEIU thugs.”

  74. Monotreme says:

    Weigel’s comparisons in Ashland, Monroe, Richland: all these counties in, and Kloppenberg is outperforming Kerry 2004.

  75. filistro says:

    “Precincts reporting” number at AP is inaccurate for Waukesha. Almost all votes there already counted .

    Freepers have begun throwing in the towel. Some now comforting each other with the knowledge that “at least we made the union thugs spend a bunch of money.”

    Most, however, bemoaning the fact that “America is over.”

  76. Monotreme says:

    Their America is over. Sic transit gloria stultus.

  77. Monotreme says:

    It’s going to be close, but Kloppenberg appears to be pulling ahead, barely.

  78. filistro says:

    Man, the Freepers are bummed. They REALLY wanted this one.

    Sample post from a few minutes ago:

    The Communists, drones and spoiled punks have voted to guarantee their own depression for generations. Ben Franklin, we CAN’T keep our republic. Too many absolutely disgusting people populate this land today.

    863 posted on April 5, 2011 10:07:10 PM

    Jeez… and GROG thinks we’re mean!

  79. Monotreme says:

    It’s not over. Somehow, a new chunk of Waukesha just came in and Kloppenberg’s lead has been cut.

  80. Monotreme says:

    From Twitter, it sounds like Larry Sabato is calling it for Kloppenberg:

    @LarrySabato Whether 2008 vs. 2010 (USA) or 2010 vs. 2011 (WI), the pendulum swings both ways, and increasingly quickly.

  81. Monotreme says:

    Almost tied again.

  82. filistro says:

    AP was reporting 10,000 votes too many for Klop. Clerical error.

    Prosser now within 4K and some of Waukesha still out.

  83. Monotreme says:

    Best thing going for Prosser: 28 more precincts in Washington, 73 in Waukesha

    I’m having trouble with the math, but I think the turnout (votes/precinct) in Waukesha is much lower than Milwaukee, Eau Claire, or Dane, which are all going strongly for Kloppenberg.

  84. Monotreme says:

    Waukesha now coming in. Predictably, Kloppenberg getting hammered and has fallen (marginally) behind. It will depend on whether Dane and Eau Claire can save her.

  85. filistro says:

    Waukesha now fully in, some big precincts in Dane and Eau Claire still outstanding, Klop trailing by 1700..

    For the first time in an hour I’m cautiously optimistic.

  86. Monotreme says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic too. It’s going to a recount, almost certainly, though.

    All the counties that favor Prosser are in, and she still has some counties out that favor her or are neutral. She’s got a 2000 vote lead as I write this.

  87. Monotreme says:

    Something seems wrong with the math. The topline says 100 precincts are still out, but I can’t see where there are 100 missing in the county-by-county results. Weird.

  88. Monotreme says:

    From Twitter:

    Given that an AP error created then erased 10k votes earlier tonight, I see no way this doesn’t head to recount #wivote

  89. Monotreme says:

    On Feb. 15, Prosser won 55% of the vote to 25% for Kloppenburg. #fail #justnotsurewhofailedyet

  90. filistro says:

    She still trails by 1800.

    Freepers calculate the last Dane precinct and Eau Claire give her net 4,000, others are a wash.

    So she wins by 2,000 votes.

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  92. That’s close enough that we won’t know the answer for several days, at least.

  93. Mr. Universe says:

    Too close to call. Madison precinct still coming in. This one will be close.

  94. Mr. Universe says:

    52-48 for Prosser.

  95. Mr. Universe says:

    Here’s the latest:

    It’s now 12:25 a.m. Central time here in the United States. If you’re just tuning in we don’t have much to report on our ever so important Wisconsin Supreme Court race. Number keep fluctuating between David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg. The vote margin has consistently been between 1,500 and 4,000 since roughly 11:30 p.m. There are less than 100 wards left to report with a solid mixture of Conservative and Progressive strongholds (last count it was 3533 wards out of 3630). In addition to the wards still left to report the City of Milwaukee recently started hand counting 8,000 absentee ballots.

  96. Where do you see 52/48? Everything I see is well under 0.1% difference between them.

  97. dcpetterson says:

    According to AP, about 34 precincts still not reporting. Prosser currently leading by 585. In all but one of the counties with incomplete results, Kloppenburg is ahead, sometimes hugely. Taking just two incomplete counties: one precinct from Dane and 12 from Milwaukee still to report. If the current percentages and totals from Dane and Milwaukee hold, that could mean as many as 700 net additional votes for Kloppenburg.

    There’s no question there will be a recount. But recounts very seldom change the winner — not never, but seldom. We may not know the winner for weeks.

  98. Mr. Universe says:

    DC has the latest according to twitter. Milwaukee not in yet.

  99. Mr. Universe says:

    Lib Dem wins Scott Walker’s old seat.

  100. clmbusboy1 says:

    I believe the last Dane county ward has actually been counted. Dane county website shows all wards counted, yet has the same totals as AP.
    I believe its the same story in Crawford.

    The remaining Ashland votes are from rural areas and not likely to sway enough to make up the current difference, but will move the needle some.

    Not sure about the story behind the remaining Milwaukee votes. I did read they have begun counting 8k absentee votes.

    A few hundred in each case combined with Sauk would seem to be enough to make up the needed 585.

    Unemployment in Wisconsin will be dropping among election lawyers. 🙂

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  102. GROG says:

    fili said:

    Jeez… and GROG thinks we’re mean!

    No I don’t. (OK, a few of you are.) I love you guys!

  103. mclever says:


    And we love you, too. 🙂

  104. mclever says:

    If the tightness of the race in Wisconsin is any indication, it looks like we’re in for a vigorous election season. I’d say that the liberal Democrats appear to be very energized in the Democratic-leaning districts, and the conservative Republicans are apparently quite fired up in those conservative districts, too. As always, the real battle will be for the independents and moderates, which seem to be an ever-shrinking subset of our electorate as politics continue to become extremely polarized.

  105. dcpetterson says:

    According to AP, Prosser has pulled to a lead of a little over 800 votes, with 24 precincts still outstanding. That’s a hard lead to overcome at this point, even in a recount. The best chance Kloppenburg probably has may be in the absentee ballots, if the reports of 8000 +/- uncounted absentees in Milwaukee are accurate — and even then, Kloppenburg would have to take them by a better than 55%/45% margin.

    This was supposed to be an easy victory for Prosser. It wasn’t, even with the conservatives outspending the progressives 3/2. Still, a win is a win, and if Prosser prevails, it means bad times for unions nationwide. Republicans tend to take even hairs’-breadth victories and the slimmest of margins as enormous mandates. If Prosser is declared the victor after the expected recount, expect the Republicans to act as if they’d had a historic triumph by unanimous and divine acclaim, rather than having 49.925% of Wisconsin voters disagree with them.

  106. Mr. Universe says:

    There isn’t an automatic recount for this race. Either candidate has three days to file for one if they see good reason. Prosser said last night he expects there will be one. Kloppenburg started out as a long shot and wasn’t expected to get anywhere near unseating the incumbent, Prosser.

    Gonna be a nail biter.

  107. mclever says:


    Don’t forget about the ideological makeup of those 24 districts still outstanding. If you project the results for the 24 outstanding districts to have the same ratios as the already reported districts in the same counties, then you end up with Kloppenburg winning by a little over 350 votes. Not saying that’s what’s going to happen, but that’s why this remains too close to call even with an 800 vote margin at this late stage in counting. The potential for 8000 absentees in Milwaukee would probably be in Kloppenburg’s favor, too, because she’s been winning Milwaukee by 57%-43%, which is better than the 55% you say she’d need.

    It’s a gonna be a close one!

  108. filistro says:

    The Freepers, who are keen election watchers, have all but conceded. This morning they’re saying virtually all the unreported precincts are in liberal strongholds, and hold enough votes to put Kloppenburg over the top.

    They do expect a recall which they are also conceding because the Rats “always cheat” and will “steal, just like they did in Minnesota.”

    They’ve already moved on to fretting about what this means for next year. They’re afraid WI will be solidly in Obama’s column. And, taking an even longer view… it proves that communism is getting a foothold in America and probably can’t be stopped anymore.

    All in all… really not happy campers.

  109. clmbusboy1 says:


    Not being an actual member of the Wisconsin elections board, I’m just going off of things I can dig up on the net….
    – Looks like the 24 is actually 19. Crawford (2), Dane (1), and Dunn (2) county websites are reporting 100%, but with the same vote totals as listed by AP. Looks like a clerical error on AP’s part?
    – The 2 remaining Milwaukee precincts voted ~63% for Prosser in the primary.
    – The 6 remaining Ashland precints are said to be in rural areas, so lower vote % than the others?
    – I originally mentioned the 8k absentees last night (well, early this morning). I can’t seem to find anything truly official on that. If every other county has absentees as well, then it may be a wash.
    – Jefferson and Taylor should break for Prosser. Juneau about even.
    – The 8 outstanding Sauk precints (along with possibly the 8k Milwaukee absentees) will be the path to a Klop win.


    Just amazing that 1.5 million votes and this will be decided by ~500 votes.

  110. clmbusboy1 says:

    @ filistro

    Like you, I enjoy going around to the various websites and reading the commentary. Though I probably split my time 50/50ish among left and right leaning sites. I mean, why limit my source of entertainment to just half of what’s available. 🙂

    As you point out, the right leaning sites think this one election means everything is lost on every front, totally discounting the unbalanced voter turnout in favor of the Dems.

    The left leaning sites are finding a way to blame it all on Obama. No joke. The totally discount the fact of no party affiliation and that incumbents only lose these judgeship elections in cases of scandal.

    The one thing I never do, and I don’t believe you did either, is take these type of sites for anything more than entertainment. The emotion usually prevents them from being sources of actual fact.


  111. dcpetterson says:

    AP now shows the race within 420 votes.

    Just amazing that 1.5 million votes and this will be decided by ~500 votes.

    We’ve had a number of these important squeakers in the last few years — Florida in 2000, Minnesota Senate in 2008 and Governor in 2010. I’m not sure what it means, other than a few places where the population is very closely divided.

    Interesting maps here http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2008/ showing the 2008 Presidential results. When you get down to the nation’s population at the county level, it doesn’t look so close. Obama smashed McCain. There simply are a few pockets that are true swing areas. And the undue influence of states with small population weighs heavy, especially in the Senate.

  112. filistro says:

    clmbusboy… I’m not nearly as fair and balanced as you.

    For one thing, I really don’t like the far left sites at all, and seldom visit them. I think it’s because they’re on my side so I find their excesses vaguely embarrassing… kind of like that branch of your own family that you’re really not anxious to claim as relatives 🙂

    I mostly just observe the far right. I’m fascinated by social conservatives. Around here they call me the Jane Goodall of Freeperville. I’ve studied Freepers for years and can now easily recognize family groupings, dominant males and rogue individuals.

    Alas, I’m afraid I’m about to lose all of them. Freeperville has recently suffered a mutiny and diaspora that exactly mirrors the one currently happening in the Republican party itself. The slightly more reasonable individuals.. almost a thousand of them… have been driven out of the forest and formed their own troop, which is now vying for dominance.

    Free Republic is currently holding its quarterly fund drive…. they raise $94,000 every three months from Freepers for “website costs”. (I assume the moderators all have solid gold keyboards and ride around in executive jets..) Until now they’ve always raised this money within the first 3 or 4 weeks of the new quarter. This time, since the Big Split, the money has slowed to a bare trickle. They will never reach their quota.

    And everybody knows you can’t possibly maintain a website for less than $400,000 a year.

  113. dcpetterson says:

    AP now has Kloppenburg 140 votes up, with 10 districts not reporting.

  114. filistro says:

    DC.. told ya! 😉

  115. mclever says:

    According to the AP, just the results from one county (allegedly rural Ashland?) cut Prosser’s lead in half. If the remaining districts still shown as outstanding with the AP were to report proportionally to their counties, then Kloppenburg will eke out a 400 vote victory. If clmbusboy1 is right and I remove Crawford, Dane, and Dunn from the projections, then it’s less than 50 votes.


  116. mclever says:

    And in the time it takes me to crunch the projection numbers, another 8 districts in Sauk come in beating my projections for Kloppenburg!

    She’s now up by 140 in the AP count. If the remaining (according to the AP) 10 districts come in proportional to their counties, she’d now win by close to 600 votes. Eliminating Crawford, Dane, and Dunn, she’d eke out a win by 140.

  117. dcpetterson says:


    I’m not counting any chickens yet. But sometimes, it’s nice to be wrong.

  118. filistro says:

    Wow… this is stunning.

    David Weigel takes a graphic look at what happened last night in WI, how much lost territory the Dems reclaimed, and muses about what it portends for the upcoming recall battles.

  119. Monotreme says:

    Dave Weigel tells us what this means for the recall votes.

    Meanwhile, Kloppenberg has retaken the lead and most outstanding precincts are Democratic.

  120. filistro says:

    Monotreme and I roam the Intertubes as a team 🙂

  121. clmbusboy1 says:

    Turns out I was right about Ashland. Votes did go in favor of Klop, but not enough. Key was Sauk. AP has also corrected their mistake in regards to Dane and Crawford. Looks like I was wrong about Dunn, as the two remaining precints gave more votes to Klop.

    369 vote lead for Klop, with 5 precincts out:
    2 in Milwaukee, said to be pro-Prosser areas.
    1 in Jefferson, 1 in Juneau, 1 in Taylor

    Just amazing if you ask me. Prosser campaign said their math showed a ~30 vote margin when all votes are counted.

  122. mclever says:

    Taking the results just posted to the AP into account, the remaining 5 districts are projected to be pretty much a wash, if you go by how the rest of those counties already reported. That would hypothetically leave Kloppenburg with a 360+ vote lead. I expect that it’ll be closer than that.

    This will definitely come down to absentees and a recount when it was supposed to be a cake-walk for Prosser. Simply stunning how much the electorate in Wisconsin shifted in just a few short months.

  123. filistro says:

    This is really going to be one of those times when you flip a coin and it lands on its edge.

    The thing that’s sending chills up Scott Walker’s spine… 3 months ago, Prosser was estimated to have a 30-point edge.

  124. mclever says:

    I know, filistro! Right?! Even if Prosser manages to prevail in the recount, where’d that 30 point lead go?


  125. Mr. Universe says:

    Well, I was going to post a link to Slate but we are all apparently on top of things.

  126. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro and mclever,

    I don’t think it’s just Walker who should be scared. I expect we’ll see a completely obscene amount of money being spent on political advertising next year, most of it very nasty.

  127. dcpetterson says:

    where’d that 30 point lead go?

    Misprint. They meant 30 votes.

  128. mclever says:

    For those keeping track on the AP, a correction in Bayfield now puts Kloppenburg up by 447 with 5 districts outstanding.

  129. Mr. Universe says:

    MSNBC posts a ‘quit while you’re ahead’ warning to Scott Walker this morning in my e-mail inbox.


    Hate to say it, but we told you so, didn’t we?

  130. clmbusboy1 says:


    First, AP corrected a mistake and lead is now 447.
    Everything I can find on the net says the remaining districts will surely cut that lead. So w/e you are reading that says the remaining 5 will be a wash is looking inaccurate.

    Jefferson, Juneau, and Taylor should net Prosser ~50 votes.
    While Milwaukee was pro-Klop overall, the 2 remaining districts are in pro-Prosser areas. If that’s true, will it be worth +400?

    Then it comes down to 3 things, w/e absentees are out there, mail-in ballots not yet received, and the lawyers.

  131. Mr. Universe says:

    Prediction: Seven of eight Wisconsin Senate Republicans are recalled. Scott Walker, too. Wisconsin turns Blue in 2012

    I guess you showed those working class thugs, eh, Scott?

  132. mclever says:

    And a correction in Winnebago narrows the lead back to 311…

  133. filistro says:

    @DC.. I expect we’ll see a completely obscene amount of money being spent on political advertising next year, most of it very nasty.

    No kidding. Increasingly I have a feeling that 2012 will be one of those transformative, watershed elections that comes along once in a generation. I think a lot of really important issues that have been simmering below the surface of the nation for a long time are finally going to get aired.

    Racism… money in politics… entitlements… social conservatism… class and power… worker’s rights…

    All will be on the table. It will be fierce, and wild, and dangerous and cathartic. And by the end of it, America will be totally exhausted and (I dare to hope) a little more at peace.

    But its going to be quite a ride. We should all start working out and taking our vitamins so we’ll be ready 🙂

  134. dcpetterson says:

    Mr. U —

    I’d expect the Govs and state legislators of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana are thinking twice about some of their recent actions as well.

  135. Monotreme says:

    Filistro sez:

    Monotreme and I roam the Intertubes as a team

    I’m proud to be on the same team as you, fili.

  136. mclever says:


    I guess it all depends on how “pro-Prosser” those two districts in Milwaukee are. Juneau was also in the Kloppenburg column, so I wouldn’t necessarily count on too many Prosser votes there, either.

    I completely agree that it will come down to absentees and lawyering…

  137. clmbusboy1 says:

    I don’t get why so many people here are stunned about the closeness of this election.
    Sure, incumbent justices almost never lose, and it’s not particulary close.
    But that fact should only matter to the casual observer. This was far from your typical election. I thought I read somewhere that money was 10x higher than normal.

    The Dems made this a referendum on Walker and collective bargaining. Kloppenburg even campaigned that she’d overturn the new law – something that’s bascially never done by a prospective justice.

    Additionally, based on vote totals, Dem base was extremely fired up. For example, Madison gave Klop a bigger victory than it gave Obama.

    My peronal belief is you have to think bigger picture. This is one election for one justice in one state. If Obama had a 65% chance at reelection yesterday morning, perhaps he has a 65.001% chance now. It’s not as big as either side wants to make it.

  138. Mr. Universe says:


    I hear the sound of peddling backwards in those other states.

  139. filistro says:

    Treme… we’re formidable, all right.

    Can I be the sidekick? I’m not comfortable in leadership positions. 🙂

  140. mclever says:


    “I’d expect the Govs and state legislators of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana are thinking twice about some of their recent actions as well.”

    I should hope so! 🙂

  141. Mr. Universe says:


    One word: harbinger.

  142. mclever says:


    The reason we’re so shocked is that just a couple months ago Prosser was up by 30 points. I expected some Dem excitement and rabble-rousing, but given the apathetic showing in 2010, I was figuring it’d cut the margin to single digits or so. I didn’t expect anything this close, let alone a (maybe) win for little-known Kloppenburg. (I’m not counting any chickens yet, just remarking on the extremely narrow margin that’s currently has her with a narrow lead.)

  143. mclever says:

    (Oh, and a correction in Barron gives Prosser another 2 votes.)

  144. Monotreme says:

    Also, in terms of raw politics, there is a serious danger that the energy of February will wane by the time the recall elections come around.

    This much energy in April (1.5 million votes in a judicial by-election!) presages a continued energy and perhaps even anger going into the recall battles to come.

  145. mclever says:

    Juneau results are posted on the AP. Kloppenburg still with a tiny 263 vote lead with 4 districts remaining.

  146. clmbusboy1 says:

    So in the primary Prosser wins by 30. Typical of these type of elections. Then Walker takes on unions, national media reports constantly, hundreds of thousands protest, and you’re surprised there was a shift?

    Sure, had Walker decided not to make collective bargaining an issue, we would have likely seen an easy Prosser victory yesterday. But you can’t ignore the fact he did.

    Historically I believe these types of elections are lucky to net a 20% turnout. Yesterday that number doubled. If that doesn’t scream fired-up base, I don’t know what does. I’m not surprised at all and I don’t even follow this stuff as much as you.

  147. filistro says:

    Mac… I see 2 in Milwaukee, 1 in Jefferson. Which one am I missing?

  148. Mr. Universe says:

    It’s funny. I mean set aside the peculiar fact that people are voting on a Supreme Court Judge but when have we ever been this interested in such a minor election?

    Change on the wind.

  149. filistro says:

    busboy… I don’t think we’re surprised at the results. Most of us (I think) actually expected a close race and a small Kloppenburg win.

    I think we’re just surprised by the EXTREME closeness. When more than 1.5 million votes are cast and the difference is in the tens or even hundreds, it’s an amazing thing… and fascinating to political junkies. It’s like a green diamond, or a brown zebra, or something equally rare.

  150. mclever says:


    If nothing, these results show how much the electorate can shift in just four months…

  151. clmbusboy1 says:

    This is just amazing. 224 vote lead for Kloppenburg out of 1.5 mil.
    AP reports 3 precincts still out

    1 in Jefferson – overall a pro-Prosser area so far, but the specific wards are potentially pro-Klop so who knows
    2 in Milwaukee – overall pro-Klop, but said to be in very pro-Prosser areas. I’ve also seen where this could just be an AP error and they have been tabulated (something about the school board election there being 100% reported) If these are indeed still out, Prosser should emerge as the leader.

    The wild cards of recounts, absentees, and write-ins make this a pure coin flip.

  152. mclever says:


    You didn’t miss anything. There are only 3 districts outstanding now that Juneau has reported. 🙂

    And you’re absolutely right that the *closeness* is mostly what has us fired up. If Kloppenburg had won by 3%, we’d probably already be done talking about it. (Well, except for some gloating in some corners, of course.) If Prosser had won by 3%, we’d also be done talking about it already, except for some grousing about the unreliability of the Democratic electorate and some excuse making about how hard a 30-point deficit is to surmount when your candidate starts with almost zero name recognition.

    But a 500-vote margin heading to recount?! GOLD!!

  153. clmbusboy1 says:

    @ filistro

    busboy… I don’t think we’re surprised at the results. Most of us (I think) actually expected a close race and a small Kloppenburg win.

    My comments were a reply to mclever (11:27am) who said straight out he(?) was shocked. So yes, I do think some (or at least one) on this site are surprised.

    But yes, I too am shocked that an election of 1.5 mil can end up with a ~100 vote difference. It’s amazing.

  154. Mr. Universe says:

    Having trouble getting in here. The underwear gnomes have hijacked the Intenets.

    The Fix reports Kloppenburg up by 224 votes.

  155. mclever says:


    I’d say that “shocked” was perhaps an exaggeration. I’m mostly shocked at how close it is. I thought Prosser would probably still win, pessimist that I am, so I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s not all over already.

  156. Mr. Universe says:

    The race appeared headed toward a recount, which couldn’t be requested until after the votes are canvassed. The state board that runs elections has until May 15 to complete the canvas.

    We should probably stop worrying about this. It looks like we won’t know for weeks who officially won.

  157. mclever says:

    The second “shocked” was meant to be “excited,” as in, “I’m mostly excited at how close it is.”

    But you get the idea. We excited people sometimes get ahead of ourselves when typing…

  158. dcpetterson says:


    The point, for me, is in taking the temperature of the electorate.

    Since November, the elected Republicans have been strutting around as if they’ve had a magical sacred mandate to do as they please. As if they were swept into power by an irreversible rising tide of unquestioned truth. As if We the People wanted their narrow ideological social agenda to replace traditional American values of equality and fairness and civil rights.

    It is delightfully surprising to see that idea so soundly slapped down, and so soon after the supposed Teaper Tsunami.

  159. dcpetterson says:

    At this point, with Klop showing about 220 votes ahead, and with AP showing 3 districts out, those three would each have to give Prosser on the order of a 20% – 30% margin for him to pull ahead.

    Absentees and mail-ins might make a difference. A recount would be unlikely to sway things by more than a couple of hundred votes — but it’s probable that we’ll be within that couple-hundred-vote margin.

    Mr. U is right — we won’t know for weeks, maybe months. Just in time for the recall elections. In the meantime, if the court case concerning Walker’s anti-union bill continues to move forward, is it possible that Prosser could hear the case and be part of the ruling before the election is settled?

  160. dcpetterson says:

    Kloppenburg +235 with only one district in Jefferson Co. still out.

  161. mclever says:

    Right, dcpetterson.

    There was no change in the Milwaukee tally, just an update of the total districts reporting. There were minor vote total adjustments in Green and Richland which bring us to our current 235 total.

  162. filistro says:

    You know who’s probably a happy man this morning?

    Russ Feingold.

    Which brings to mind a question I often muse over. (After all this time, there are still aspects of American politics that remain a mystery to me. ) Which do you think is the higher-profile, more desirable position… governor or senator? There doesn’t seem to be a clear ranking… you see cases of governors running for senator, and senators running for governor.

    Are they just sort of a wash, status-wise?

  163. filistro says:

    Analysis from one of the really smart Freepers:

    AP is now showing Milwaukee as being all in (all precincts reporting), with no change in the vote totals. We’re now down to one precinct (Lake Mills) in Jefferson County, one that cast over 2,300 votes for Governor last November. Given the turnout numbers, it’s likely they cast 1,500 or so votes yesterday.

    They were fairly narrowly for Walker last time so I don’t think Prosser is going to win big there (for instance, Obama had about a 15-point margin in that precinct in 2008 even though the county as a whole was split between Obama and McCain). Close the 224-vote gap some, but not eliminate it.

    2,069 posted on April 6, 2011 10:48:35 AM by Numbers Guy

  164. dcpetterson says:

    If there are 1500 votes from Lake Mills, Prosser would have to win by more than 15% to overtake Kloppenburg. In one sense, it doesn’t really matter, because there will almost certainly be a recount. OTOH, a lead of even a couple of hundred votes is significant when going into a recount.

  165. mclever says:


    Good question.

    Offhand, I’d say they’re pretty comparable, though it may depend on the state. In some states, the Governor is little more than a figurehead, while other Governors have more power. Regardless of the state, a U.S. Senator is one of the most powerful positions in the country, right after President, VP, and Majority Leader… (We’ll leave the Supreme Court out of the prestige rankings, since they’re not elected offices.) But there are two of them per state, which dampens the pure prestige.

    It also depends whether you prefer more local or national acclaim. The Governor is the BMoC in the state, but the Senators are the BMoDC. Senators are powerful on a national stage and (on average) probably more legislatively astute than the typical Governor, but Governors have powers that Senators don’t within the state. A politically aggressive Senator can get more positive press attention than the typical Governor. I’d bet the average Joe on the street can name a handful of “famous” Senators, but they’d be hard-pressed to name the Governor of any state but their own. Everyone knew who Senator Teddy Kennedy was, but can anyone in Alabama name the current Governor of Massachusetts? Senators can get more national name recognition for their accomplishments, while Governors generally only get national recognition for some sort of scandal or entertainment reason. Also, many Governors are term-limited, so ambitious politicians in those states may be more inclined to see the Governor’s mansion as a stepping-stone for a permanent seat in DC.

    Just my off-the-cuff thoughts.

  166. mclever says:


    If there really are 1500 votes outstanding in Jefferson, then Prosser can make up the difference as long as his margin in the outstanding district is as good (or better) than his margin was in the rest of Jefferson. (57.9% vs. 42.1%). The other 40 districts in Jefferson have accumulated about 22,000 votes for an average of about 550 votes per district. Is the outstanding district really about 3X the size of the rest of the districts in Jefferson?

    Whatever the finally tally today, it won’t really count until the canvassing is done, right? At which point, that would include the absentees, I assume.

  167. filistro says:

    @Mac… great analysis re governor/senator.

    For someone with Really Big ambitions, a governorship is, generally speaking, a better stepping stone to the presidency, no?

  168. mclever says:


    The results of going from Governor to President or Senator to President are somewhat mixed and may depend on the mood of the electorate and the pros-n-cons of the actual candidates. The conventional wisdom has been that Governor is better, but recent elections haven’t always borne that out.

    The drawback of a lengthy Senate career are the number of votes that one’s opponent can weed through for “contradictions” to use in negative ads, but Senators start of with much higher name recognition and usually have better debate and/or camera skills for the Presidential run. It’s easier to see the legislative accomplishments with their name on it, and they tend to be better versed in national issues.

    The drawback for a Governor is the lower name recognition and an over-absorption with local issues, but Governors can claim “executive” experience, even in states like Texas where it’s a rubber-stamp figurehead whose only real decisions are pardons or commuting death row sentences. A savvy Governor can parlay any of the state’s legislative successes as if they were his own personal successes, even if they were only accomplished by the state congress overturning the gubernatorial veto… It all depends on what the electorate sees.

  169. polijeff says:

    The Wall Street Journal Online – Political Diary

    April 6, 2011
    In today’s Political Diary

    Recount Likely in Wisconsin Court Race

    The normally obscure race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat that suddenly became a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s attempts to curb public employee union power appears headed to a recount.

    David Prosser, a member of the court’s 4-to-3 conservative majority, has a 419-vote lead out of 1.5 million votes cast over JoAnne Kloppenburg with a scattering of precincts left to count. Ironically, if the race winds up in litigation the final arbiter of the dispute will be the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which when Justice Prosser recuses himself, usually splits 3 to 3.

    Any recount will be scrutinized for irregularities and possible vote fraud. A recount in a similarly close race in neighboring Minnesota’s 2008 U.S. Senate race stretched on for months, amid charges that some counties counted absentee ballots according to different standards than others did. Al Franken, the Democrat, was eventually sworn in after pulling ahead by 315 votes. His victory gave — for a time — Senate Democrats the critical 60th vote they needed to pass ObamaCare over a potential filibuster.

    A win by Ms. Kloppenburg could also have a significant impact. It’s possible that the court challenges to Gov. Walker’s changes in union rules and pension contributions could reach the state Supreme Court after Justice Prosser’s term expires on Aug. 1. In any event, Ms. Kloppenberg’s victory would mean the return of an activist liberal majority on the court that was notorious for its anti-business decisions on tort law and medical malpractice.

    A recount and any subsequent litigation in Wisconsin could bring the state’s unusual same-day registration law into the spotlight. Minnesota has a similar law that allows anyone to show up at the polls, register and then cast a ballot. ID requirements are minimal. If someone lacks ID, he can vote so long as someone who lives in the same city vouches for him. In practice, same-day voting becomes an engraved invitation to commit voter fraud with little or no risk of detection.

    A 67-page 2008 report by investigators for the Milwaukee Police Department blew the whistle on what it called an “illegal organized attempt to influence the outcome of [the 2004] election in the state of Wisconsin” — a swing state where recent presidential elections have often been very close.

    The report found that in 2004 between 4,600 and 5,300 more votes were counted in Milwaukee than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots. Absentee ballots were cast by people living elsewhere; ineligible felons not only voted but worked at the polls; transient college students cast improper votes; and homeless voters possibly voted more than once. The report found that in 2004 a total of 1,305 “same day” voters gave information that was declared “un-enterable” or invalid by election officials.

    According to the report, this loophole was abused by many out-of-state workers for the John Kerry campaign. They had “other staff members who were registered voters vouch for them by corroborating their residency.”

    The investigative unit believed that at least 16 workers from the Kerry campaign, and two allied get-out-the-vote groups, “committed felony crimes.” But local prosecutors didn’t pursue them in part because of a “lack of confidence” in the abysmal record-keeping of the city’s Election Commission.

    The police department’s report concluded that “the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of the fraud” would be elimination of same-day voter registration (which is also in use in seven other states). It also suggested that voters present a photo ID at the polls.

    But proposals to accomplish those two reforms have been bogged down in the GOP-controlled Wisconsin state legislature. If the Prosser-Kloppenburg recount reveals further problems in the state’s porous election laws, perhaps the legislature will finally be compelled to act.

    So much for the theory that this electioin would show a massive repudiation of Gov Walker ( who is almost as good as Chris Christie). Fuck those gov employee unions!

  170. filistro says:

    Thanks mac… I’m taking notes 🙂

  171. And so we see the immediate response from conservatives when a close election looks to be won by a Democrat:
    “They stole the election through voter fraud!”

    I watched this happen in Washington state when Christine Gregoire was elected. Allegations of dead people voting turned out to be absentee ballots that were sent in by people who died between sending in the ballot and election day. There was one case of fraud that came to light: a Republican woman sent in a voter registration form for her dog, and even submitted ballots for her dog.

  172. dcpetterson says:

    polijeff, thanks for posting that right-wing interpretation. It’s interesting to read what that segment of the pundit crowd sees.

    I particularly enjoyed the misleading shots at Minnesota. I particularly enjoyed the part about “an engraved invitation to commit voter fraud.” and, “the one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of the fraud” would be elimination of same-day voter registration What a crock! There’s never been a single iota of evidence that same-day registration has resulted in any fraud, much less that such alleged “fraud” has affected an election result.

    Anyway, I had a great laugh! The WSJ has become a total tool. Thanks for brightening my day! 🙂

  173. polijeff says:

    mclever says:
    April 6, 2011 at 08:27


    The reason we’re so shocked is that just a couple months ago Prosser was up by 30 points. I expected some Dem excitement and rabble-rousing, but given the apathetic showing in 2010, I was figuring it’d cut the margin to single digits or so. I didn’t expect anything this close, let alone a (maybe) win for little-known Kloppenburg.

    Yes it does take rabble-rousing for the left to improve their position, NOT good ideas.

    Can you say “President Barack demagogue?”

  174. filistro says:

    @Jeff… Yes it does take rabble-rousing for the left to improve their position, NOT good ideas.

    Never overlook the awesome power of really BAD ideas from the other side 😉

  175. filistro says:

    The local NBC affiliate in Milwaukee reports that the final precinct has reported: the town of Lake Mills gave Prosser a net pickup of only two votes: Prosser 366, Kloppenburg 364.

    Final tally… Kloppenburg leads by 204 votes.


  176. Monotreme says:

    While a 204 vote margin out of 1.5 million cast is essentially a coin toss, I’d rather go into a recount ahead by 204 than behind by the same amount.

  177. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    “Can you say “President Barack demagogue?””

    Can you say:
    “Scott Walker demagogue”?
    “John Boehner demagogue?”
    “Paul Ryan demagogue?”
    “Mike Pence demagogue?”
    “Peter King demagogue?”

    Be careful what you hold forth as examples.

  178. filistro says:

    Okay, this is a serious question. No snark, please.

    You all know I don’t visit lefty sites like Kos or FDL. So, to those of you who do, I really want to know… if the result had been reversed, Prosser by 204 votes… would the reaction on the left be like this?

    Or is this constant drumbeat of “vote fraud, vote stealing, ballot stuffing and dirty tricks” a uniquely far right phenomenon? Because at Freeperville I see it every time an election is even close. I often even see it happening pre-emptively advance of the vote… and ALWAYS in advance of a recount.

  179. mostlyilurk says:

    “Can you say “President Barack demagogue?”


    How so with respect to Wisconsin?

  180. Monotreme says:


    I think it’s a reflection of cognitive dissonance. If one’s worldview does not permit the possibility that one is simply wrong (or in this case, outnumbered), then it’s better to say, “well, we’re still in the majority but they stole the election!

    I also don’t think it’s an exclusively RWNJ phenomenon, and I don’t think overt voter fraud has a left- or right-wing bias.

    I personally doubted the outcome of the 2000 Florida recount, and recall my mother (unlike me, a RWNJ) saying the same thing, loudly and repeatedly, about the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson (“landslide Lyndon“). So I think the meme is a convenient one for either side to resort to.

  181. filistro says:

    Even Scott Walker is whining… about all those annoying city voters:

    Gov. Scott Walker said this afternoon that the spring election results show there are “two very different worlds in this state.”

    “You’ve got a world driven by Madison, and a world driven by everybody else out across the majority of the rest of the state of Wisconsin,” Walker said at a press conference in the Capitol.

    As one wag observes over at TPM… “If it wasn’t for the voters, we would have WON!”

  182. filistro says:

    Treme… I guess what I’m asking is if persecution and paranoia are as prevalent on the far left. Because the far right in America seem truly convinced that everybody is against them, and conspiring by any means necessary to defeat them.

  183. mclever says:

    I don’t frequent Kos or FDL either, but I agree with Monotreme.

    The “voter fraud” excuse isn’t exclusively right wing. If the result of a vote is close or undesirable, the left tends to complain more about systemic vote suppression or hackable Diebold machines rather than individual voter fraud, but it’s basically coming from the same place: an inability to accept that the rest of the world doesn’t always see things the same way.

  184. filistro,
    It’s hard to say whether or not it’s as prevalent, but it certainly exists to varying degrees on the left, too. It doesn’t take a tinfoil hat level of paranoia to conclude that the Presidential election in a key state, whose governor is the candidate’s brother and whose secretary of state is the candidate’s state campaign manager, might have had some help in pushing the results in that candidate’s favor. Does that make the left paranoid about Florida in 2000?

    Just because someone’s paranoid doesn’t mean that nobody is out to get them.

  185. mclever says:


    If you are asking if there is persecution and paranoia on the far left, then the answer is yes. I don’t know if the extent is the same as on the right, but it definitely exists.

  186. mclever says:

    @Michael–Exactly what I was thinking!

  187. By the way, in regards to the Diebold machines, there is some pretty compelling evidence of genuine badness going on. Some of it through incompetence, and some of it through more nefarious stuff.

    The scary thing is that if we have an electorate pretty evenly divided between the two parties, but deeply divided, there is a tremendous amount of incentive to push the needle a percent or two in either direction. At that point, a small nudge can have a tremendous impact.

  188. filistro says:

    Okay, let me put it like this… these two are separated by 200 votes. They are TIED, and going into a recount. Is the left already expecting the recount to be unfair, and the election ultimately to be stolen from them?

    Because the right certainly is. I’m already seeing it everywhere.

  189. Brian says:

    Damn, the Freepers are freaking out over this.

    “Eventually, the States are going to just have to decide that they will STARVE Washington, DC to death. Just STOP funding the Federal Leviathan altogether. STOP sending ALL the $$ to DC and KEEP IT in the STATES. Let the Legislatures authorize ONLY ENOUGH to send DIRECTLY to the PENTAGON for National defense and to FINALLY enforce the BORDERS. And if the Washington Politicians and bureaucrats get ugly, the STATES will authorize the Pentagon, and/or OUR National Guard, to throw their behinds in JAIL!”

    I wasn’t old enough during the 2000 election (only 14) to monitor it, but I can’t imagine the fervor being that bad if HuffPo was around then.

  190. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    ““Eventually, the States are going to just have to decide that they will STARVE Washington, DC to death. Just STOP funding the Federal Leviathan altogether. STOP sending ALL the $$ to DC and KEEP IT in the STATES. Let the Legislatures authorize ONLY ENOUGH to send DIRECTLY to the PENTAGON for National defense and to FINALLY enforce the BORDERS.”

    I KEEP TELLING all y’all that EVERY SINGLE TIME this type of ludicrous statement is overheard, it needs to be proclaimed JUST as loudly that the Civil War was fought over this issue, the blood of over 600,000 Americans was shed to settle this issue, and that, once and for always, this issue was settled in 1865.

    The Compact Theory is DEAD! Nullification is DEAD!

    Those that even WHISPER this sort of nonsense are trying to relitigate the cause of, and the outcome to, the War Between the States.

    They need to be shouted down.

    Every time.

  191. mclever says:


    I’m trying to decide if the preemptive wailing about unfairness that you and filistro are reporting from Freeperville compares to Florida in 2000. From my perspective, there wasn’t quite as much of it then as now, but that’s probably because the Internet hadn’t yet become the amplifier of echo chambers that it is today. In 2000, the echo chambers were just getting the walls put in and testing the acoustics. Today, they’ve got high-tech amplification built in…

    I’m a little surprised the Freepers are so convinced there’ll be unfairness in WI of all places. (Louisiana, Alabama, Illinois, or Ohio I might understand.) It’s traditionally one of the fairest and least corrupt states.

  192. Brian says:

    The Freepers can’t be shouted down though. That’ll just get your comment removed and you’ll be banned from posting. And they accuse us of being an echo chamber.

  193. Mr. Universe says:

    According to my inbox the Bold progressives for change is declaring it a victory by 204 votes.

    In other news, the Democrats report having nearly all the signatures to recall WI Republican Senators. The enthusiasm on the Republican side: not so much. They’ve had to narrow their focus on three Democratic Senators only. With less than a month to go they are still pretty far behind.

  194. Max aka Birdpilot says:


    Not in the relative privacy of their own little minds, but everywhere out in public.

    Every time!


    Bookmark this link for when you don’t remember the various html tags.

  195. Mr. Universe says:

    Very interesting:

    RT @aterkel: 19 counties that went for Scott Walker in 2010 flipped to Dems in Wisconsin Supreme Court race. http://huff.to/e6ORFk #wivote

  196. mclever,

    I’m a little surprised the Freepers are so convinced there’ll be unfairness in WI of all places.

    It’s simple. Their side lost in a close race. Ergo, it’s fixed. Your problem is you see nuance.

  197. filistro says:

    @mac.. I’m a little surprised the Freepers are so convinced there’ll be unfairness in WI of all places.

    The Freepers are still totally, 100% convinced, right down to the soles of their little cloven hoofs, that Al Franken only won in Minnesota because of deliberate, massive electoral fraud and dirty dealing.


    Is there any state in the entire union that runs cleaner elections than Minnesota?

  198. Brian says:

    Whichever state meets their expectations of how its supposed to go is guaranteed to be cleaner. If it were clearly in Prosser’s favor, there would be no claims of voter fraud, even if it were later determined that he personally stuffed the ballots and was caught on tape doing so.

  199. dcpetterson says:

    Is there any state in the entire union that runs cleaner elections than Minnesota?

    Thinks, fili! 🙂

    The Franken / Coleman recount was certainly one of the most thorough and open recounts in history. And yes, we’re so clean it’s like they soak the ballots in Lysol. That doesn’t stop certain right wing groups from claiming that our same-day registrations are the same as voter fraud.

  200. mclever says:


    Is there any state in the entire union that runs cleaner elections than Minnesota?

    Maybe Oregon. Iowa would be a close third. 🙂

    You’re right, elections don’t get much cleaner than in Minnesota!

  201. filistro says:

    @mac… Iowa would be a close third.

    I think you’re right. Now.. just wait till there’s a close election in Iowa someday, and the Tea Party goes around saying stuff like this about YOUR state. It must be deeply annoying to the targets of their ire…

    *We all know that the rats and the unions IN IOWA rig election results with a myriad of voter/ballot funny business. Just once, please let them get caught red handed and then exposed and prosecuted.
    4 posted on April 6, 2011 2:54:21 PM

    5 posted on April 6, 2011 2:54:41 PM

    *If you don’t allow IOWA Democrats to steal elections, you have disenfranchised them.
    And you are a racist.
    6 posted on April 6, 2011 2:54:41 PM

    *IOWA Communists will do anything to win. They are the worst criminals in America and they will get away with everything. No telling how many ballots were destroyed and will never be recovered. America is destroyed.
    7 posted on April 6, 2011 2:58:29 PM

  202. mclever says:


    The only reason we didn’t hear anything like that this past fall was because the three incumbent Supreme Court justices who voted that gay marriage was a constitutionally protected right in Iowa were all unseated with just barely over 50%. If they’d won narrowly instead, we’d have heard much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  203. mclever says:


    This link is for corruption between 1997-2006 rather than voting issues, but I’ll bet the results would be pretty similar:


    Apparently, Oregon, Iowa, and Minnesota score as the least corrupt. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky are the worst, followed by Alabama, Ohio, and Illinois.

  204. polijeff says:


    April 7, 2011
    Reading the Wisconsin Tea Leaves
    By Sean Trende

    As of this writing, conservative Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is trailing his liberal challenger JoAnne Kloppenberg by about 200 votes. There will probably be a recount, and it is conceivable, though highly unlikely, that it could reverse the outcome.

    Of course, no one outside of Wisconsin is following this race because they particularly care about the partisan make up of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. They care about two things: (1) the extent to which Democratic prospects have improved from last fall and (2) what it might tell us about Democratic prospects in the upcoming recall elections.

    Receive news alerts
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    Sean Trende RealClearPolitics

    The latter point is important: If the Democrats can flip three state Senate seats — they are challenging all eight eligible Republicans — they would take control of the Senate. This, in turn, could lead to further recall elections next year, when the remainder of the senators and the governor would be eligible to be recalled.

    The results offered something for both parties, though they probably offered more to the Republicans. Democrats were hopeful (and Republicans afraid) that the pendulum had already swung back toward a 2008 environment. Republicans were hopeful (and Democrats afraid) that not much had changed from 2010. The results portend an environment somewhere in the middle, if not a touch closer to 2010.

    As for the pending recall elections, there are three possibilities for what the results portend: (a) nothing, (b) good news for Democrats and (c) good news for Republicans. Once again, the results are a bit of a mixed bag, but with better news for Republicans on balance. In the end, the signs aren’t great for the Democratic recall efforts, and the race is more interesting for what it tells us about the state of party coalitions and the prospect for an emerging Democratic (or Republican) majority than anything else.

    (a) The elections portend nothing. No one has really been talking about this possibility, but it is an important one to bear in mind. The only other Wisconsin Supreme Court justice to lose his re-election bid in the past 40 years did so in the spring of 2008. That year, the state’s first African American justice lost to a white conservative. Of course, that portended nothing for the fall, when Obama won by 13 points. And just last May, pundits were convinced that Republicans had to pick up Jack Murtha’s seat if they were going to take the House in the fall.

    This race almost certainly has a closer relationship to the summer elections than those two races had to the fall elections, both in terms of temporal proximity and the issues involved. But it is worth remembering that even in the Prosser/Kloppenberg race, issues specific to the candidates played a large role.

    (b) The elections are good news for Democrats. There is certainly plenty of good news for Democrats here. It is unusual for Supreme Court justices to lose; only two have done so in the last 40 years. Prosser emerged from the primary with 55 percent of the vote; it is highly unlikely that he would have lost absent the passage of the collective bargaining law, and he almost certainly would not have lost had the race been held in 2010. Wisconsin Republicans have clearly taken a step back, at least in the short term.

    And of course, winning is wining; moral victories are for minor league coaches. To the extent the election was a referendum on the collective bargaining law, it lost, however narrowly. It will now be judged by a 4-3 liberal majority, rather than a 4-3 conservative majority. There was one other win last night that was perhaps more noteworthy: A Democrat captured the Milwaukee County executive office by over 20 points. It was a special election to replace none other than Scott Walker.

    (c) The elections are good news for Republicans. Nevertheless, while there was some good news for Democrats in the big picture, this doesn’t portend particularly well for the summer and next fall. This was an election held in the midst of a perfect storm of Democratic enthusiasm and outrage. The spring elections are usually low-turnout affairs, which maximize the potential effect of labor union organization and GOTV efforts (this, more than money, is the real contribution of labor). Democrats used this opportunity to take a Democratic-leaning state and turn it . . . purple.

    Remember, while this election was doubtless a step backwards for the Wisconsin Republicans, Prosser’s percentage was only two points lower than Walker’s and Ron Johnson’s from 2010. It was a touch higher than Bush’s in 2004, and was seven points higher than McCain’s.

    In February, there was an open, four candidate primary. Prosser won 55 percent of the vote. While reducing Prosser’s 55 percent of the vote to 49.99 percent was no mean feat, neither was it a colossal undertaking. Kloppenberg started with a base of 45 percent, as consolidating the vote of the three liberal Democratic challengers from that primary was fairly simple. Once the electorate became engaged and the race politicized, it was inevitable that the natural partisan tilt of the state would reduce Prosser’s margins.

    The general election did not go well for Prosser, even setting aside the collective bargaining bill. Among other things, e-mails came to light where Prosser called the chief justice of the court a “bitch” and vowed to “destroy her,” and there were accusations that he had failed to prosecute child molesters. All of this had more than a de minimis effect on his re-election effort.

    Finally, while it is true that incumbents have rarely lost, the typical judicial election is a non-election. Going back to 2000, only four justices have faced an opponent for re-election; two have lost. Including open seats, half of the races have been decided by two points or less, and only once (in 2000) has a candidate exceeded 60 percent of the vote. At the Court of Appeals level, 25 of the 28 races have involved unopposed judges. Out of the remaining three, one lost.

    (d) The summer recall elections. These results show a closely divided state. But a closely divided state will probably be insufficient for the Democrats to flip three state Senate seats. To see why, consider the following table. It shows the Republican candidates who are eligible for recall, the percentage their district gave to Walker, McCain and Bush, the average of these three results numbers and, for the Republicans, the results of a PPP/DailyKos/SEIU poll from a few weeks back of whether voters would support a recall and who they would vote for in the recall election (compliments to the Journal Sentinel and Swing State Project for the data).

    Senator Dan Kapanke is probably in some trouble; his district is quite heavily Democratic. But the remaining Republicans are running in districts that are more Republican than the state as a whole. While the gerrymandered lines make it difficult to determine precisely how Prosser fared in these districts, it appears that he ran poorly in the 32nd, about even in the 10th, and won handily in the remaining districts. In a year when the state is “purple,” we would probably expect these members to survive tight races (Randy Hopper also has some rather severe personal issues that could contribute to his demise).

    The flip side is that Republicans are attempting to trigger recall elections for the eligible Democrats. Here are the numbers for those seats:

    Senator Holperin — who barely won his election in the good Democratic year of 2008 — looks vulnerable, and Republican performance in three other seats is decent. It looks as though Prosser ran well in three of the four swing districts.

    In this environment, Republicans may lose a net seat or two, but it would be an uphill battle to flip the three seats necessary to claim control of the chamber. This also bodes poorly for recall efforts against the remaining Republican senators and Governor Walker in 2012, as the memories of these events will fade, although of course a lot can change politically between now and then.

    (e) Permanent majorities are not feasible. There is a larger lesson to be learned from all of this. For the better part of a decade, observers have been claiming that a new Democratic majority of liberals, minorities, working class whites and professionals is emerging (there was chatter of a Republican majority for awhile, but it faded away after 2006). But as Tuesday showed, the interests of these disparate groups simply are not sufficiently aligned to create a stable majority.

    Consider the following map, which shows how counties swung from the rough tie of 2004 to the rough tie of 2011. Counties become redder as they swing more heavily toward Republicans, and bluer as they swing toward Democrats. White counties swung less than three points in either direction:

    There actually was a bit of a realignment of the parties here. The blue collar counties in the north (settled by Finns, actually), along the western edge of the state (Norwegian/Swedish) and the liberal areas around Dane (Madison) County reacted to the budget showdown by moving toward the Democrats. This is exactly what everyone expected would happen.

    So why was the race even close? Because the suburbs of Milwaukee and the blue collar German counties in the east swung against the Democrats.* If you run a regression of how the counties moved from 2004 through 2011 against countywide per capita income, and control for the unique situations in Dane (liberal college town, state employees), Menominee (large Native American population) and Milwaukee (heavily heterogenous), there is a statistically significant relationship between higher incomes and movement toward Republicans. What the suburbs wanted and what the working class wanted were in tension, and so any dominant Democratic majority that could be built based upon the two splintered.

    If we compare 2008 and 2011, we see the same thing — provided of course that we control for Prosser’s overall improvement of seven points over McCain:

    Once again, the Democratic shifts in the blue collar and “core liberal” areas are countered by a Republican shift in the Milwaukee area, and a shift in the Germanic blue collar areas in the east. Had Kloppenberg been able to hold on to suburbanites that voted for Kerry and Obama, she would have dominated. Likewise, had Prosser not lost some blue collar areas, he would have won handily.

    As I noted a few weeks ago, we’ve seen similar results across the Midwest. This is especially true of Ohio, where Governor Strickland ran a populist campaign excoriating John Kasich for his ties to Lehman Brothers. Strickland ran well in blue collar areas of the state, but saw Democratic support collapse in the suburbs. This analysis doesn’t even begin to get into the tensions between liberals and the white working class, the white working class and Latinos, Latinos and African Americans; the list goes on. We are a country of diverse interests, and it is simply impossible — for either party — to build a stable governing coalition for any extended period of time.** Someone inevitably ends up on the outside, and decides to take a long look at the other side.



    * This German/Scandanavian split actually goes back for quite some time. There is a strongly significant relationship between a county’s “swing” from 1936 to 1940 and the percentage of the county’s residents that were of Germanic, Polish, or Norwegian descent. Counties settled by Scandanavians or Poles — countries that Hitler had invaded — swung heavily toward Roosevelt. Counties settled by Germans swung against him.

    ** Yes I am familiar with the Walter Dean Burnham school of realignment thought. No, I do not agree with it, a topic for another column.

    Sean Trende is Senior Elections Analyst for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at strende@realclearpolitics.com.

  205. Monotreme says:


    Here it is.

    From Twitter:

    @fleetadmiralj Josh Chambers
    County that ‘found’ 7000 votes? Vote tallies were being kept on PERSONAL computer of county clerk…who is a former GOP operative

  206. Mr. Universe says:

    Sorry PoliJeff

    It’s already swung back the other way. This may go on for awhile.

    Kloppenburg Retakes Lead In Wisconsin (For Now) http://tpm.ly/eBf4f2

  207. Monotreme says:

    More conspiracy theory (or is it just a theory? hmm…) from the Left:

    (via Twitter)
    selfdeprecate Jason Parker
    RT @MightyOCD RT @SandiBehrns: What have we here? Waukesha bclerk Kathy Nickolas has criminal history of campaign fraud? http://is.gd/02Y4aQ

  208. Monotreme says:


    Upthread, you asked:

    Or is this constant drumbeat of “vote fraud, vote stealing, ballot stuffing and dirty tricks” a uniquely far right phenomenon? Because at Freeperville I see it every time an election is even close. I often even see it happening pre-emptively advance of the vote… and ALWAYS in advance of a recount.





    The last of these even cites a Nate Silver tweet.

  209. filistro says:


    Still… they seem resigned and pretty low-key, overall, don’t they? They’re just going “hmmmm…”

    If this had been exactly the reverse situation, with an initial Prosser win and then a questionable DEM operative suddenly producing 7,500 votes, the Freepers would be going APESHIT. They would be burning the place down.

    They just always do freakout so much better than we do.


  210. Monotreme says:

    Yes, it’s all very scholarly and professorial. No flying spittle, that I can see.

  211. polijeff says:

    GROG says:
    April 6, 2011 at 04:13

    fili said:

    Jeez… and GROG thinks we’re mean!

    Grog said: No I don’t. (OK, a few of you are.) I love you guys!

    What Grog says holds for me too. You’re a bunch of Nice leftist scum-suckers.

  212. Monotreme says:

    Which reminds me of a joke…

    What’s the difference between (insert profession or group member here) and a catfish?

    One’s a scum-sucking bottom-dweller. The other’s a fish.

    I got to tell this joke in front of a crowd with an ASL translator, who taught me to sign “catfish”. “Scum”, unfortunately, has no sign and has to be spelled.

    Jeff, I’m impressed that you got your Dragon to type “scum” without a lot of fuss.

  213. Pingback: Free Forum Friday April 8 Edition | 538 Refugees

  214. Pingback: Political Drama With Cheese | Logarchism

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