Friday, April 08, 2011


A huge cache of votes was found yesterday in Brookfield, Wisconsin -- enough to put David Prosser, the Walkerite right-wing judge who appeared to have been defeated, back in the lead, and probably an insurmountable lead.

If your first thought is that this is skulduggery, well, the whole thing looks deemed legit, alas: the news conference with [Waukesha County Clerk Kathy] Nickolaus, Ramona Kitzinger, the Democrat on the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers, said: "We went over everything and made sure all the numbers jibed up and they did. Those numbers jibed up, and we're satisfied they're correct."

As a Democrat, she said, "I'm not going to stand here and tell you something that's not true."

Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, who sat in on Nickolaus' news conference, said voters can be confident in the results because "all the votes are in that office. If anyone wants to look at them and verify, they can."

And you know what? Even before this, where were we? As CH said in my comments on Wednesday, when Prosser was trailing in the vote count but the race was too close to call:

And while we're eyeing Wisconsin, I note that in the state Supreme Court election (in which the incumbent is a sure-fire Repub vote), the results appear 50/50... after a pathetic 33% voter turnout. A lousy 33%, after all the hoopla, demos, yadayada, and at that, it's higher than the usual 20% in a spring election there. Hell, no wonder we can't make a dime.

The fact that this race was even close is obviously a sign of increasing strength on the part of progressives -- but there's a long way to go, and I'm not sure how many progressives grasped that. Really, didn't a lot of people think that the good guys now had both the numbers and the motivation to start rolling right over the Walkerites in Wisconsin? Didn't some people think that the sleeping giant had been awakened and it was only a matter of time before recalls tipped the Wisconsin Senate back to the Democrats, with Governor Walker next in line?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a couple of posts arguing that the recall poll numbers didn't look good enough to justify a great deal of confidence -- Scott Walker wasn't nearly unpopular enough in districts where recall elections were likely to be held, while the recallable Republicans were mostly ahead of generic Democrats. And that was in the immediate aftermath of the union-stripping battle, when feelings were still raw.

The good guys have done a hell of a job -- but it's not enough yet. We have no experience at the sort of total war the right has been fighting nationwide, particularly in the last two years of well-financed teabaggery and Citizens United. At best, our side is nearly as angry and fired up as Wingnut Nation is every day, thanks to Fox and talk radio.

The fallacy is this: In '08, Obama won Wisconsin in a landslide. That's a lot of Democratic votes. I'm a Democrat. I'm furious about what's happening in Wisconsin. Therefore, all those people who voted for Obama in Wisconsin must be just as angry.

It's not true (at least not yet). The noise machine keeps large numbers of rank-and-file rightists angry and engaged. We're not caught up.


UPDATE: I'm sure a lot of you think the found votes indicate something fishy, but (as Steve Benen notes), Nate Silver thinks what happened is probably legit (See this series of tweets).

And, well, if it's a dirty trick, we'll see if Democrats have the firepower to fight that, too.


UPDATE: Nate Silver elaborates, in great detail. He still thinks this is a matter of incompetence, not conspiracy.

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