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In Wisconsin, Recalls Now Taking Center Stage

The push to recall eligible Republicans was going strong this weekend. (photo: OnTask)

The New York Times finally figured out over the weekend that the debate in Wisconsin has not ended, even if Scott Walker signed the bill to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers. Over 100,000 people again protested in Madison on Saturday and welcomed the Fab 14 Democratic Senators back. Protests in smaller parts of Wisconsin grew in size as well – one in Washburn, timed with an appearance by Gov. Walker, doubled the total size of the town. Legal challenges to the bill and the process by which it was passed have only begun; the next hearing in Dane County Court is on Wednesday.

And then we have the upcoming elections and recalls. According to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they have collected almost half the required signatures needed to get the 8 Republican recalls permitted by Wisconsin rules onto the ballot. They have 45 more days to get the rest, so I’d say that a ballot action is almost assured. And they’ll have no shortage of funds to draw upon for the recall efforts, either: the state party has raised over $1 million from small donors in the past three weeks.

Talk of a general strike has cooled down significantly, probably because of the item in the bill that passed which would allow for mass firings if public workers participated in walkouts. I still wouldn’t be surprised by some kind of labor action, even if a symbolic one. But clearly, everyone has pivoted to the recall. And if successful, it would set up an interesting situation. I could see a new Democratic majority in the state Senate in late summer basically telling Walker that he will not pass his budget without changes to the collective bargaining parts of the law.

Meanwhile, Alberta Darling, one of the most threatened Republican Senators up for recall, cannot be happy about having her name on this invitation to a big-dollar fundraiser for the state GOP in Washington.

CommunityThe Bullpen

The Latest in Wisconsin: Recalls Taking Center Stage

The New York Times finally figured out over the weekend that the debate in Wisconsin has not ended, even if Scott Walker signed the bill to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers. Over 100,000 people again protested in Madison on Saturday and welcomed the Fab 14 Democratic Senators back. Protests in smaller parts of Wisconsin grew in size as well – one in Washburn, timed with an appearance by Gov. Walker, doubled the total size of the town. Legal challenges to the bill and the process by which it was passed have only begun; the next hearing in Dane County Court is on Wednesday.

And then we have the upcoming elections and recalls. According to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they have collected almost half the required signatures needed to get the 8 Republican recalls permitted by Wisconsin rules onto the ballot. They have 45 more days to get the rest, so I’d say that a ballot action is almost assured. And they’ll have no shortage of funds to draw upon for the recall efforts, either: the state party has raised over $1 million from small donors in the past three weeks.

Talk of a general strike has cooled down significantly, probably because of the item in the bill that passed which would allow for mass firings if public workers participated in walkouts. I still wouldn’t be surprised by some kind of labor action, even if a symbolic one. But clearly, everyone has pivoted to the recall. And if successful, it would set up an interesting situation. I could see a new Democratic majority in the state Senate in late summer basically telling Walker that he will not pass his budget without changes to the collective bargaining parts of the law.

Meanwhile, Alberta Darling, one of the most threatened Republican Senators up for recall, cannot be happy about having her name on this invitation to a big-dollar fundraiser for the state GOP in Washington.

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David Dayen

David Dayen