November and the Walker Recall

As Autumn draws near, there are groups such as “Recalls United Wisconsin” (not to be confused with “United Wisconsin”), and individuals demanding the recall effort for Scott Walker begin on the earliest possible date in November. As posted August 18 in a previous Badger Democracy blog, there are four strategic areas that need to be addressed and developed for  recall success – Communication, Education, Get Out the Vote (for the new voter ID era), and Money. As a follow-up to that writing Badger Democracy authors the opinion that initiating a Recall Petition of Scott Walker in November is, at this time, premature and strategically flawed – barring any significant changes in the recall effort and co-ordination. The November date, in fact, works to the GOP advantage. This is apparent from the GOP- rumored plan to launch a “false”  recall effort themselves; and was confirmed during an interview with a high level GOP operative conducted recently.

The first strategic obstacle to a successful recall petition in November is the calendar itself. Sixty days to collect in excess of 600,000 valid signatures is itself an enormous task. It will require hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers working seven days a week, 12+ hours a day. Any recall effort recall which begins in November will face holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, etc.) as well as Badger and Packer football scheduling conflicts. These issues alone will detract from the absolutely necessary volunteer availability. Ask your friends and family who may be dedicated to the cause how many days they would be available to circulate petitions from November 22 – December 26. Then ask yourself the same question.

The greatest obstacle to a successful recall effort beginning in November was revealed by a GOP operative during a research interview with Badger Democracy for an upcoming piece. Simply stated, GOP confidence is high that they own the message. They also believe they can position Walker in the coming months as a moderate to the mainstream press, and therefore, most of Wisconsin. In the messaging, a fair analysis would conclude they are correct. Democrats, Progressives, and Labor have been playing defense since Walker’s attack on the middle class began. The message from Dems is constructed around a response to the Walker agenda. If you disbelieve their theory they can position Walker as a moderate, you haven’t been paying attention to local media coverage of this movement. Remember, most Wisconsinites get their news from local media outlets – who have done a horrible job disclosing the far right-wing agenda at work in Wisconsin. The GOP strategy here is sound – and Progressives need a strategy just as sound to conduct a successful recall.

As stated in the August 18 blog – the key is to drive home a message that places us on the offensive, and puts Walker on the defensive, answering to our message. It is this writer’s opinion that November does not give us time to effectively communicate, nor educate in regard to that message. A co-operative, grassroots effort is necessary, and should stand to disclaim any pre-mature recall effort, to avoid confusion. A leader, either group or individual, is necessary to provide the initiative and message – especially when reached from a collaborative effort. As it is unlikely such a groundswell will occur in the next 30 days, a November launch would be ill-advised, and play into the hands of the GOP – who desire such a timeline. As groups collaborate on message, communication, and coordination, the organic (not forced) recall timing will emerge. In the meantime, it is our obligation to continue to fight, engage, and rally united as the course becomes clear. It is also our obligation to stand together, as Scott Walker’s policies will continue to harm all of us – and while that provides great emotion to recall him immediately, it will also begin to turn the moderate undecided, whose votes we will need to prevail. Although this will be an opinion many will see as “unpatriotic,” it is a conversation which needs to happen now, and all must be willing to set aside personal emotion and agenda to ensure a successful recall of Scott Walker – for the greater good of Wisconsin.