About an hour in, the network I was calling said that while urban and suburban turnout were high, what drove the astronomical turnout percentage was that rural Wisconsin voters turned out to vote in all-time record numbers. And that instantly reminded me of something, so I asked, "Hey, wait, that sounds like a gun control vote. What's Tom Barrett's record on gun control?" Quick Google search on my phone confirms what few of the national media had pointed out: voted for the assault weapon ban, founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Fuck. You think maybe Wisconsin Democratic voters should have paid some attention to how that was going to poll, outstate, when they were picking their candidate? Because I sure do.
When we think about the stolen 2000 election, most of us concentrate on illegal voter caging in Florida, the Bourgeois Riot in Florida's Dade County where paid Republican congressional staffers used threats of violence to intimidate election judges, and the nakedly partisan Supreme Court decision that stopped the state-wide recount that Florida law required. Not me. When I think about the stolen 2000 election, the first thing that I think of is that none of that would have mattered, none of that would have been sufficient, the Republicans could have even more cleverly and covertly stolen Florida outright and it wouldn't have put Bush the Younger over the top ... if it weren't for Handgun Control, Incorporated. You see, scant weeks before the election, HCI made a huge outside ad buy, buying radio ads in almost every radio market in America including rural areas encouraging people to vote for Al Gore because, unlike George Bush who was pro-NRA, Al Gore would do something about guns.
One, that was BS; there was no perceptible air gap between George Bush and Al Gore on gun policy. But more importantly, number two, what in the heck were they thinking?
Did they not look at those ad markets' demographics before they bought those ads? Because even HCI wasn't so insular, so caught up in their own closed-off reality bubble, that they didn't know that gun control polls terribly in rural areas. I haven't looked at the county-by-county numbers in other states closely enough, but I know my own state well enough to know for a fact that if that lying ad from our own side hadn't played in heavy rotation on downstate Springfield, Missouri radio, Al Gore would have carried Missouri, and that right there would have been enough to put him over the top even if the Republicans stole Florida, and the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts would never have happened. Thanks, Handgun Control! No wonder you had to change your name. Idiots.
And there is no excuse, in 2012, for a Democratic politician or voter in Wisconsin not to know that the only, only, only reliable way to get about 10%, maybe 20% of rural registered voters to bother to vote is to threaten to take away their guns.
If you're that anti-gun, if you're so anti-gun (and know so little about guns, or about what the law actually said) that you think that the assault weapons ban was a smart piece of legislation, that is absolutely your right. And it is absolutely your right to vote for candidates who agree with you. But if you do, and if you win? You just plain need to accept the fact that for statewide office in almost every state, and for national office, you just handed the election to the other party.
I went into last night howling for Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's head on a platter for writing off the Wisconsin recall election, for refusing to put any national Democratic money into the race. Now, I don't blame her. No amount of money could have elected an anti-gun candidate as governor of Wisconsin. And the Wisconsin Democratic Party should have known that. And because they didn't, Scott Walker is going to get away with claiming that the race was actually about his economic policies, he's going to trumpet a statewide and, dare I say it, national mandate for less pensions, lower wages, no contract negotiating rights, fewer teachers, less independence for the teachers that remain, and more, more, always more tax breaks and cash handouts for the wealthy.
So, congratulations Wisconsin Democrats. Your idiotic decision to put an anti-gun candidate at the top of your statewide ticket may well have just cost us the entire US economy. I hope you're proud of yourselves.