As I write this, it’s an hour and a half until the voting booths close in Wisconsin for the Walker recall. This week’s polling shows the margin closing, and Twitter rumor says that turnout has been through the roof, but I tend to suspect that what we thought was going to happen last month is going to happen tonight: Walker will win in another squeaker.
He outspent Barrett seven-to-one, after all, and had an even bigger margin in soft money. There are a lot of Republicans in Wisconsin. Not enough to win the state for the presidency, usually, but enough — for instance — to send Russ Feingold packing.
It’s not a deep blue state. The polls have mostly showed Walker up 3-5 points, and polls don’t usually lie. So I think the good guys are going to lose this one. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s what I think.
And here’s what I want to tell you if I’m not wrong: Folks are going to say this is a disaster for progressives, and for unions, and for grass-roots Dems, and for politically engaged students.
To hell with them.
The weird alchemy of electoral politics and horserace reporting says that 50.01 is more meritorious than 49.99 (and — even weirder, that 23.45 is more meritorious than 23.42). It’s not. It’s just the side that wins, that’s all. It’s just the side that the rules of the game say gets to go live in the big house and wield the big stick.
And not to say that the game is rigged, but the game is rigged. One side likes it when people don’t vote, and organizes to make that happen. One side likes it when people get turned away from the polling place, and legislates to make that happen. One side thinks that if rich people shovel money at you, you should be able to throw money at the voters with impunity, in secret, in volume.
And that’s bullshit.
I was thinking tonight at dinner about what it would be like to be a Republican and to wake up on election day excited if it was raining. To wake up excited because people who’d planned to vote wouldn’t make it to the polls. To wake up happy that old people wouldn’t chance a slip-and-fall with one hand on the umbrella and another unsteady hand on the cane. And what I thought was that that would suck. That it would suck to be that person. That it would suck to be a Republican, because — if you were serious about winning elections, serious about wanting to come out on top — you’d have to find the prospect of lots of people voting a drag.
I don’t know that I’m a Democrat, but I know that I’m not a Republican. And one thing that means is that I like people, and I like voting, and I like people voting. I like it when rich people vote, and I like it when middle-class people vote, but I particularly like it when poor people vote. I particularly like it when homeless people vote. I particularly like it when couch-surfing students vote. I especially like it when fifty-seven-year-old first-time voters with no birth certificates vote, and I like that my soupy sappy snuggly attachment to all those people voting isn’t undercut by panic about who they might be voting for.
Because I trust them. I trust their votes.
And so maybe Scott Walker is going to win tonight. Maybe the Koch brothers and #tcot and the big money and the union busters and the grammatically-challenged bigots are going to pop the cork in an hour and sixteen minutes. Maybe that’s going to happen.
But if it does happen, they have to wake up tomorrow morning and be them, and we get to wake up tomorrow morning and be us. And we get to start working on the next beautiful project, whatever the hell that is.
And I’d rather be us losing than them winning, any day of the week.