By Teresa Welsh |
Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker handily defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Tuesday in a recall election—only the third gubernatorial recall in U.S. history. Efforts for Walker's recall came with massive demonstrations protesting his budget-cutting policies that also went after union rights. Organized labor, which drove the recall measures, make up an important part of President Barack Obama's support; Wisconsin voted solidly blue in 2008. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who secured the delegates necessary for the GOP nomination last week, has aligned himself with Walker, even calling Walker to congratulate him on his win Tuesday night and offering a statement of support for "what sound fiscal policies can do to turn an economy around."
Though Wisconsin typically leans left, Romney supporters say the Walker victory puts the Badger State in play come November. But the failed recall has consequences outside the Wisconsin borders as well. Other Tea Party-backed governors like Florida's Rick Scott, Ohio's John Kasich, and South Carolina's Nikki Haley may be inspired to embark on drastic cuts to public spending and union rights similar to those passed by Walker. Furthermore, political analysts have long viewed Wisconsin—both the birthplace of the Republican Party and ground zero for progressive labor reform—as a microcosm for American politics at large. Conservative activists can now argue that Walker's fiscal reforms both work and have his constituents' approval, and thus, the country would get behind a similar Romney platform. However, Obama supporters are quick to point out that the president still edged out Romney in the recall's exit polls, that Walker vastly outspent Barrett, and that liberal voters will be energized by the recall. Did Walker's recall win pave the way for a Romney victory? Here is the Debate Club's take:
John M. O'Hara Author of 'A New American Tea Party'
James Sherk Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation
Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference
Douglas Schoen Democratic Campaign Consultant
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College
Karlyn Bowman Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute
Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and Former Democratic Nominee for Congress
Michael Kazin Author of 'American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation'