Wisconsin’s Summer of Recall Elections Begins

Voters went to the polls as part of the broadest recall effort in state history.

Comments: 64

  1. The recall can be a wonderful tool as a clear and legal way to bring needed change. The people in Wisconsin have shown intelligence, unity and patience in this process. The results will reveal that the conscience of America is alive and well, after being rattled, in Wisconsin. Bravo!

  2. Every state should be so lucky as to be able to recall elected people. The clowns we have sent to Washington have turned the Congress into a 3-ring circus. They care not for the country, only for their own pay, perks and privileges and that is why they all want to be re-elected. Every last one, Democrat or Republican, should ne thrown out no matter how good you think they are or how long they have been in Congress. New people and new rules and new approaches to our problems are needed, and these guys with their red rubber noses are not doing the job.

  3. "In one sign of that intensity, among those competing on the Democratic side are Republican-leaning candidates posing as Democrats, running against the real Democrats."

    This isn't a sign of "intensity." It's just the usual Republican lying and deceit. If Republicans are so sure of their mission from god why don't they admit who they are and stand up for what they believe in? I hope the smart voters in Wisconsin throw all these lunatic right wingers out on their keisters.

  4. I live in Alberta Darling's district in WI. The republicans are running some 80+ year old republican as a fake democrat to force a primary, what a waste. Hopefully, in the end, at least 3 of the republicans will be recalled and WI can regain some sort of balance rather than just the crazy right-wingers pushing insane "king maker" laws through putting more and more power into the hands of the governor.

  5. Go get'em!

  6. What has happened to the Republican party? They've gone nuts. I heard a Republican Congressman on NPR this morning and he didn't speak on word of truth. He said that the current 9.2% unemployment had gone on longer than during the Great Depression. Absurd. He said that the tax hikes being proposed by Obama would land primarily on small businesses. Ridiculous. They don't have the facts on their side so they make stuff up and then people believe them, because they want to believe them.

  7. Even though I think that much of what the Republicans were trying to impose in Wisconsin was totally self-serving – part of their mission was to reduce the size and power of Government employees, which in and of itself it not a bad thing for the tax payers.

    We should pay close attention; when voter are told the hard truth, such as a program that they benefit from is not sustainable, they get mad and kick you out of office and are replaced by someone willing to tell you what you want to hear.

    Are we all living in a fantasy land? Everything has to be paid for and the Government has one source of revenue: Taxes. If we want lower taxes then government pay and programs must be reduced. If we want to continue status quo; someone has to pay for it and it will not be the ‘ultra-rich’. It is not rocket science – but there seems to be no middle in our totally polarized political environment.

  8. What will the entrenched special interest government unions do if the people in Wisconsin return a Republican controlled Senate? The clear message will be that Wisconsin's taxpayers will have had enough of paying more and more taxes for pensions and health care benefits of union employees in public "service". I would think that there are many more taxpayers than union members in Wisconsin and the rest of the country, for that matter. If taxpayers turn out to vote, Wisconsin's senate will remain under Republican control. The Republicans have already demonstrated that the state's budget can be balanced without another increase in taxes.

  9. Lesson learned about gubernatorial power bought and paid for by Kansas's worst polluters: the coal, oil and chemical fronts of the Koch brothers. Wisconsin, why are you letting Kansas buy your government?

  10. Democrat Sandy Pasch, a current State Representative, is running against Republican Alberta Darling for Darling's State Senate seat. Meanwhile, the Republicans are busy redistricting. If Sandy loses the recall Senate race, her state assembly district will have been redrawn to be heavily Republican, lessening her chances of keeping it.

  11. If more people, country wide, knew the power of the vote, and voted, recalls would be less necessary.

    As long as we continue to avoid the polls on election days, special interests and idiots will prevail.

    Where is the call for a National Election Holiday in order to make this sacred right available to all????

  12. Today is Tuesday, July 12. The article starts out referring to Tuesday's recall elections in the past tense, and concludes by talking about next Tuesday's recall elections.

    For many of us, this is our only source of information about the recall elections, but the article is definitely confusing about when they actually are. Or will be. Or were.

  13. Yes now they are famous for more than cheese. Throw the bums out. Everyone is against a Union until they need one. Sure the Unions need to clean up their act but why take away choice this is America!

  14. kick em all out, all of them! send the message loud and clear and let walker know he is next!

  15. I thought these Wisconsin Republicans were the party of "don't spend a cent." Why, then, are they wasting the State's money by having "protest candidates" run as Democrats and forcing an expensive, fake primary fight? Perhaps because all their idealism is as phony as their candidates?

  16. Payback time! Vote those union busting corporate puppets out of office.

  17. It appears that at least one conservative group is running robocalls telling registered Democrats not to vote at all in the primaries because, supposedly, an "absentee ballot is in the mail." It's blatant voter suppression:

    Registered Democrats from all over the district [District 10, Moore vs. Harsdorf] are reporting the same thing. They are receiving a robocall from a group claiming to be a Right to Life group explaining that they don’t have to go to the polling station to vote, “You don’t need to worry. Your absentee ballot is in the mail.”
    This is NOT true. Today, Tuesday July 12, is the last day to vote in the Democratic Primary. You DO NOT have time to mail in your ballot at this point. If you intend to vote, go to your nearest polling station today to vote or to deliver your absentee ballot in person.

  18. Uh, excuse me but wasn't the people of Wisconsin elect these folks in the first place?

  19. The Republican party has worked very hard at making Americans believe that government is the enemy and that both parties are equally bad. The fact is if the American people would patiently and diligently vet candidates they would realize their economic well-being and social views are served only the Democratic Party. Too often though elections are treated like popularity contests.

    The Republican "base" is about 25% of the population. That only can become an electoral majority through slick gerrymandering and depressinjg the overall turnout.

  20. Michiganders stand in solidarity with our good friends in Wisconsin. I hope that they prevail in their efforts to restore some system of governance, just as I hope that we prevail in our efforts to oust the disaster capitalists currently running our state government.

    Hopefully, voters are paying attention - follow the money and everything becomes clear.

  21. The primaries brought on by the entry into the race of these "fake Democrats" have only one purpose. It's not to give the Republican incumbents time to campaign, but rather to allow the Republican-controlled state government time to pass whatever gerrymandered redistricting scheme they have concocted before their thrown out. They see the writing on the wall and have adjusted their game plan.

    But I envy Wisconsinites. At least they have the chance to rid themselves of these parasites.

  22. Josh- Your statement (truncated)-

    "Everything has to be paid for and the Government has one source of revenue: Taxes. If we want lower taxes then government pay and programs must be reduced. If we want to continue status quo; someone has to pay for it and it will not be the ‘ultra-rich’."

    That's very short sighted. In every other business undertaking, and government is clearly a business, you improve efficiency, or you die. The "Only choice is fewer programs or more taxes" argument is nonsense on two major fronts-

    1- It should be a combination of the two, cut worthless wasteful programs, and raise taxes to make successful or important (education!) ones more robust.

    or preferably,

    2- Increase the efficiency of how the Government does business. There is an amount of waste in our governance that is apalling. Just because it has been doesn't mean it has to be.

    And as someone who is here in WI, this is all a bad joke, and a waste of time. It doesn't matter which party puts it's political hack in office, they will just continue to bicker like partisan children, and push the same tired partisan agenda.

    We need a real change in this state, and in this country. And this, my friends, ain't it.

  23. The voting machines are hacked, as evidenced by the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

  24. Should be fun and educational.

    Are Americans as ignorant, dangerous,and silly as in "The Gods Must Be Crazy?" Or are they just a bit clumsy, helpful to others in the tribe and world and concerned about the needs of others?

    Or has the tea addiction worn its course dry?

  25. You would think that;

    Gov. Scott Walker & fellow Republicans passed massive tax breaks for big business & the wealthy would be included in the article as that is what started the chain of events.

    Walker then announced a large budget shortfall, the laying off of teachers, the scaling back of Gov. workers benefits, & finally the end of collective bargaining for Gov. workers.

    Kind of like the end of democracy? No?

    And whats with the "voters went to the polls on Tuesday"? Tuesday had not begun when this was written.

  26. We have a 'recall' and it is called the election cycle or term. If people used their brains when these folks came up for election in the first place, they wouldn't need to 'recall' anyone. Get off your bums and vote the first time, and stopped being fooled by campaign rhetoric when you do. Then, if they lie or turn away from their promises or elected philosophy, then vote for someone else. It is simple.

  27. More Union tactics... The American people are not scared of you. We want our freedom and independence back.

  28. The old lie that "government is a business" is perhaps the most harmful all the lies that have ever been shoved down our throats. The purpose of a business is to create profit for its owners. The purpose of government is to provide services. See the difference? I'll bet not a single government health care worker owns a yacht.

  29. The comment about robocalls telling people not to vote because absentee ballots are in the mail is particularly disturbing if true. Among the few people to ever be prosecuted for voter fraud in Wisconsin (no, it's not a widespread problem) were an elderly couple that cast absentee ballots and they also voted in their precinct (they were acquitted). This will really cause some people not to come out and vote.

    The Republicans are running so scared on this that they are now calling a special session to force through the re-districting map before the election. This can only be done if they pass a law first permitting them to do the this before the local districts are redrawn. The map (which was unveiled on Saturday) will make sure that even if the Republicans are recalled, that they will be re-elected in the fall. Some of the gerrymandering is ridiculous with districts in the southeast part of the state which were roughly contiguous with counties (running east-west) have been set up to go north-south, thereby creating safe Republican seats. All's fair of course, they won the election, but in their haste to ram this stuff through before they lose absolute power (even if its for a few months), they will not let any laws get in their way.

    The irony, of course, is that the Supreme Court ruling in the Texas redistricting case means that if somehow the Democrats ever come back into power, they will redistrict the state again to their advantage, even it has not been 10 years.

  30. I live and work in Madison, WI. As I type this I'm looking across the street at the State Capitol. In response to poster #27, although these recall elections may have been initially instigated by unhappy state and local government union and non-union workers, they have grown into so much more. The genesis behind the recalls is that people are outraged over the blatant, "my way or the highway" approach of the Republicans who have assumed complete control over all branches of State government. We are the perfect example of what happens when there are no checks and balances at play.

    I'd argue that most people want intelligent compromise to be the touchstone of good government. They want evolution, not revolution. Sadly, the concept of compromise is anathema to current Republican politicians. They, and the people who vote for them, are really not interested in doing what's best for everyone; rather, they are primarily guided by selfishness and greed. They want to keep everything they can for themselves and give as little of it as possible to anyone else. That's why the Republican mantra of tax cuts resonates so strongly with supporters. Poster #27's plea to recover his "freedom and independence" is simple code speak for not wanting the government to help anyone with his tax dollars (other than, of course, the benefits he probably receives in one form or another from the government).

    I make a very decent living and I'm guessing I paid significantly more in income taxes last year than many of the posters here earned as income. Yes, I want competence and wisdom to control how and where the money gets spent, but I understand that as a citizen of this wonderful country all of us who are fortunate have an obligation to do what we can to help those who are less fortunate or need some extra help. It feels good to look beyond your own nose now and again.

  31. The democrats may get a surprise on election day. The taxpayers might note vote with the over paid over benefited early retiring unionized government workers. The taxtakers might not win this one!

  32. I followed the protesters and departing senators in Wisconsin earlier this year with great interest and hope. I continue to do so, and to congratulate them on showing us all that we don't have to take bad government lying down. There are legal, peaceful ways to address grievances, and the recalls are one. Good luck!

  33. This is a matter for Wisconsin residents to decide, obviously. But I hope many stop and pause and think about the ramifications of these recalls. Setting aside whether one likes or dislikes Republicans or Democrats, from what I understand, Republicans went into the decision to strip bargaining rights as a follow-up to a promise made by them to the public. The public voted them in as majority at some point in time. Those previous elections are the ones that count. Elections have consequences. Just because wither a union or a billionaire like Koch has money to run recalls sets a really bad precedent -- especially if the recall is for reasons other than malfeasance. That's the real can of worms that's being opened in WI and nationally -- run recalls when you dislike a vote even if the vote was a promise made via an earlier election. Do people really want to go there? because df the recalls succeed, unions and billionaires like Koch will see it as a warm-up to second guessing in mid-stream other issues they dislike elsewhere. Please . . . nip these in the bud. Democrats and Republicans should not lose focus on what's really at stake . .. our deliberative democracy. Sure, what the Governor and R's did was/is anathema to Democrats and progressives, but, in the end, it was done openly and honestly. Want to change that? Do it in the next general or primary election, straigh-up and honestly. Not via a recall.

  34. "The taxpayers might note vote with the over paid over benefited early retiring unionized government workers."

    You do realize that state employees pay taxes, right? And that some non-state employees will vote with them?

  35. #22 Erik

    I think you may be a little short sighted also.

    Government is not business. By its nature there is no incentive to do anything more efficiently, as a matter of fact there is more incentive to do them inefficiently i.e. a department head makes more money when he has more people reporting to him, not if he makes a better product and improves ‘profit’.

    However, I do agree that much cost could be saved through more efficiency and greater interest in education – but again that is not the nature of government.

    We do not demand it – we vote in whoever tells us what we want to hear and whoever will benefit us the most personally. Union members vote for the guy that supports union contracts. Business supports candidates that promise less government burden and lower taxes. Nobody votes for the great good – it is not part of the system.

    If one candidate told the real truth – ‘hey guys, I am going to lay off a lot of worthless government workers and raise taxes for really good things like education’ – he/she would not stand a dogs chance of getting elected because he/she would have no support base (or money to campaign either).

    We have the Government we deserve!!

  36. So I guess Republicans don't mind spending taxpayer money on stalling tactics (fake primary elections) - only on workers who do the state's work.

  37. It is a surreal political landscape divided by class. Does anyone really believe that the wealthy should be protected by sacrificing the rest of society? If they do, then they do not understand the gravity of the issues, and if this effort is not succesful in turning it back, then it will only get worse and the efforts more extreme.

  38. please do the right thing and get rid of the repubs

  39. The average person thinks the Democrats are the reason the country is in trouble because the Republicans have told them so over and over and over. The Republicans are the reason the country is a mess, going all the way back to Reagan, but the Democrats have done absolutely nothing to counter the immense propaganda war that the GOP has been raging. They have done absolute nothing to make more noise than the GOP/Tea Party/Right Wing "christian" fanatics, and allowed Congress, when they had control, to give Murdoch the right to own newspapers, TV and radio and internet resources, something which had been illegal for decades. The damage that Murdoch and the Koch brothers, alone, have done this country is beyond measure.

    I hope the people of Wisconsin are successful in getting rid of the dolts they elected, but who they put in for replacements could end up not being much of an improvement. Only time will tell.

  40. "Protest candidates"? Why not call them what they are: liars. I expect a candidate to state their intentions and then stand up to them. When someone says they are a Democrat but they are really a Republican, then they are lying. If someone who was a Democrat said they were a Republican, then they'd be lying too. I do not want manipulation of the system to be part of the election. Please do not use their terminology, calculated to make them sound legitimate, in your reporting. Just call them what they are: liars. If they aren't liars, then why aren't them running under their proper party?

  41. Oh my what fun!
    Good for the people of Wisconsin!

  42. Now it's time for our Wisconsin brothers and sisters to rise and and with one voice say NO to the Tea Party Coup D'etat that has savaged the working people in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. Only when we release the country from the vice like grip of people like Scott Walker and other members of the Tea Party cabal, will the U.S. be able to achieve the dream of our founding fathers to create a society where we look after all of our citizens. On Wisconsin!

  43. I think the result of this recall election will be very telling on how the nation votes in 2012. Too bad the election won't be held until after the August 2nd deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Maybe then the Republicans that claim "the American People" don't want them to raise taxes on upper income will finally see what the American people really don't want!

  44. The use of fake candidates by the Republicans....Oh My!

    Well if you can't beat them fairly then cheat - makes sense to me!

  45. To #30: But isn't that Democracy? Dont get me wrong: I'm a Democrat -- but, if you got the majority, why **not** impose your will? The Dems in your state just didnt win enough seats. One day, you will get the majority again, and the guv's chair. When that happens, impose your will like the R's did recently. But, egads, dont do this recall thing because it sets a bad, bad precedent. That's why we have regular elections . . . and those elections should have consequences.

  46. All I can say is "On Wisconsin". Too bad Americans can't recall Congress.

  47. Wisconsin is not the only fish in the sea. "The world is awash in debt", so says Davis Brooks in this morning's editorial in the NY Times.

    It makes one think the political class should not be allowed to make any decisions of economic import.

    That seems to be the problem no matter where you look--Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, California, Wisconsin, and The USA, to name a few.

    Public debt has grown to gigantic proportions compared to the GNP of states and countries.

    It looks likea we are unable to untangel ourselves from the crushing debt which is caused in no small measure by ever growing social programs and pension plans that no longer work.

    This looks like the Great Depression all over again.

    This is sad.

  48. This is going to be a contest between those who have their hands stretched out for public (read "taxpayers")funds and those who genuinely care about keeping WI out of bankruptcy and not saddling our children and grandchildren with huge financial obligations even before they earn their first paycheck. It's particularly galling that it is mostly public employees (who should care most deeply about the public good) who consider their obscenely bloated pension and other future benefits to have first priority to the State's funds. If you understand this, you will vote aagainst any recall.

  49. How times have changed. The WI Democratic Party now calls closet Republicans running as Democrats "fakes" and "imposters." Democratic "leadership" in the State Assembly and Senate have, over many years, recruited these very same folks to run against grass roots Democrats in primaries because they pledge allegiance to entrenched leadership and maintenance of the status quo, while those who support the Democratic Party platform and have local support have been viewed as upstarts and unwanted competition. These candidates have been punished by the "party faithful" for daring to seek public office.

    The Democrats who have served in office since time began have betrayed the State and its people for many years. The rot in WI electoral politics, as in so many other states, is wide and deep and extends to both sides of the aisle. A pox on both your houses; let the recalls begin!

  50. For their hubris alone I hope the recall gets rid of as many on the Right as possible. I would hope for a recall of Gov Walker too, for the same reason. Hubris, pure and simple - don't negotiate, just terminate your opponent, shows real class huh?

  51. More outright lies and gerrymandering from the GOP, eh? They shouldn't just be recalled, they should be PROSECUTED. Frank Rich and many others (myself included http://www.lepanoptique.com/formats/blogues/obamas-first-mistake/) got it right: Obama's failure to lead began on Day 1 of his presidency, when he said he wouldn't prosecute the war criminals and war profiteers of the Bush Administration.

  52. Maybe if the voters would have gone to the polls in the first place they would not need a recall vote.

  53. I am a newly elected member (April, 2011) of the School Board of Baraboo, a community of roughly 10,000--a hop, skip, and jump from the Wisconsin Dells. With three seats contested, but only one unoccupied by an elected incumbent (that seat was a midterm appointment occupied by the vice-president of the Sauk County Tea Party), I faced-off the founder and president of the Sauk County Tea Party and was elected by a 3-to-1 margin as the most progressive candidate running. I do hope this was a harbinger of things to come today (Tuesday's primary elections for recalls), tomorrow, and for the future of Wisconsin and the rest of the county.

  54. The people of Wisconsin have been role models for the right way to initiate change in this country. I wish them well. They have stood up for what they believe and are not going to give up !

  55. Is this any way to run a state?

    Why not new elections every month? The polling process seems to be the only part of governing that Americans care about--the horse race. The lousy job most of our elected officials do once they take office matters little, since the vast majority of them get re-elected every time.

  56. Good Luck, Wisconsin. You can make sure the following Wisconsin U.S. Congresspeople don't get reelected because they signed Grover Norquist's No New Taxes pledge: Senator Ron Johnson, Representatives Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrener, Tom Petri, Sean Duffy and Reid Ribble. Signing of any pledge for a special interest group is Unamerican.

  57. Here's hoping the people of Wisconsin will undo the damage they inflicted on themselves when they failed to show up at the polls in sufficient numbers to make sure the radical right-wing Republicans didn't win in the first place. When good people fail to vote, the bad guys win. The Republicans have proven over and over again that they will support only their rich patrons and big business. Period. Normal Americans can go hang, or sleep under bridges, at least for the time being until they are all "privatized," sold for a song to Walker's rich cronies and rendered unavailable as public sleeping quarters.

  58. The following is to the melody of "On Wisconsin"; the Official State Song of Wisconsin and the fight song to the University of Wisconsin. It seems very appropriate here.

    On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
    Recall the Repub line;
    Vote from Madison to Milwaukee;
    Recall them all, that's fine.
    On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
    The recall will be aye;
    Take back the Bddeger State;
    Fight, Fight, Fight!

  59. Thanks Rachel Maddow - you put this picture up front, on the line, and supported the workers of America. It will pay off, and again - Thank You for being a courageous reporter, an indepth investigator, a moral person with a conscience.

  60. Worked on Wall Street for years wore a suit but always knew a yes man in a suit as we called them. Gov Walker is the perfect empty suit working under orders. I thoughy that the people of Wisconsin knew better.

  61. Wisconsin must have been on some kind of drug in the last election to go from a traditionally progressive state to something far red. We're experiencing the hangover now. I hope a recall of Gov Walker happens and it cannot come too soon. He's making hay and ramming though his far right agenda as long as he is in office.

  62. Americans are split between Capitalism and Socialism.

    Americans voted in Obama, Barney, Nancy, Harry, and thousands of federal, state, and local Marxists to give Socialism a try - this includes judges that are elected and appointed.

    The result is Obamaville where 18% unemployment is normal, taxes are high, benefits ooze from government, our kids are as dumb as a box of rocks, and personal freedoms are vanishing.

    The same is happening at state levels - and local levels.

    Americans are going to have to make up their minds since the two systems are mutually exclusive - you can't have a mixture of both. That's the problem right now - Marxists control our schools, news organizations, and currently the federal government, private industry is controlled by Capitalists.

    Make up your mind Americans - you can see what's happening in europe - it will come here but will bt 10 times as bad - there will be blood in the streets - you will have to choose which system you favor.............

  63. In today's six primary elections for the recall of the Republican senators, all the "fake" Democrats lost, so the real Democrats will all be in the recall elections in six weeks.

  64. The very fact of the recall suggests that Republicans are guilty of extreme overreach and that they are in deep do-do. This goes for the whole country; it's not just Wisconsin.

    People are getting tired, no, exhausted, from Right Wing shenanigans. We have reached a tipping point.