Steve Benen: In the closely-watched Wisconsin state Senate recall elections, Democrats and their labor allies needed to pick up three GOP seats yesterday to win control of the chamber. As the dust settled last night, Dems came up one seat short:
Democrats won two state Senate seats in Tuesday’s historic recall elections, but failed to capture a third seat that would have given them control of the chamber.
By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor’s office. Tuesday’s elections narrowed their majority — at least for now — from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.
Republicans – in Wisconsin and DC – are understandably delighted, and no doubt feel quite relieved. For the left in general, this has to feel like a tough setback.
But I still consider the events of the last several months in Wisconsin rather remarkable….Also note the specifics of the electoral battleground: these six Wisconsin districts elected Republican state senators in 2008 — a great year for Democrats. In other words, yesterday’s recall elections were held in districts that can safely be described as GOP strongholds, making the left’s efforts that much more difficult. And Dems still managed to flip two districts from “red” to “blue.”
The trees are clearly disappointing for much progressives, but the forest still looks pretty impressive to me…..
Full post here
Greg Sargent: …. There’s no way to sugar-coat it: Unions and Dems failed in their objective as they defined it, which was to take back the state senate, put the brakes on Scott Walker’s agenda, let the nation know that elected officials daring to roll back public employee bargaining rights would face dire electoral consequences.
But nonetheless, what they failed to accomplish does not diminish what they did successfully accomplish. The fact that all these recall elections happened at all was itself a genuine achievement. The sudden explosion of demonstrations in opposition to Walker’s proposals, followed by activists pulling off the collection of many thousands of recall signatures in record time, represented an undiluted organizing triumph.
At a time of nonstop media doting over the Tea Party, it was a reminder that spontaneous grassroots eruptions of sympathy and support for a targeted constituency are still possible and can still be channeled effectively into a genuine populist movement on the left. At a time when organized labor is struggling badly and GOP governors earn national media adulation by talking “tough” about cracking down on greedy public employees, what happened in Wisconsin, as John Nichols put it, amounted to “one of the largest pro-labor demonstrations in American history,” one that carried echoes of the “era of Populist and Progressive reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
What’s more, no matter how many times conservatives falsely assert that labor and Dems subverted the popular will by fighting Walker’s proposals, in reality precisely the opposite happened.
Full post here