Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring elections dominated by progressive turnout

Liberal voters come out to polls in droves

The results from last night's spring elections demonstrate one clear reality: progressives are energized, and ready to take back the state from conservative and corporatist interests.

In an election that should have drawn Republican voters more than anything else (who were taking part in the presidential nomination process), conservatives saw several losses at the local levels across the state. In our own neck of the woods, the Dane County board saw significant progressive gains, with 28 of 37 seats now held by liberals, or just over three-out-of-four board positions.

Voters also rejected a Scott Walker-appointed judge, opting instead for a more progressive choice in Ellen Berz, whose legal career makes her more than qualified to wear the judicial robes. Additionally, Dane County residents overwhelmingly endorsed a non-binding referendum item that called for the restoration of collective bargaining rights for state workers.

The remarkable thing about last night's results isn't that citizens of Dane County voted liberally, but rather that they voted SO liberally. Despite its reputation as a "liberal oasis," the county does have a sizable conservative population as well. You wouldn't have known that, however, from last night's returns -- even with the Republican presidential nomination contest, the progressive vote in local races far out-weighed conservatives.

What does this all mean? Progressives are "pumped up," ready to take action against the "conservative wave" from 2010 that resulted in the biggest overreach of power memory can provide us with. The lesson that "elections have consequence" will not be easily forgotten, even in local races, for the consequences we've witnessed from ignoring that mantra have been disastrous over the past year or so.

This new "progressive resurgence" will likely play a significant role in determining the success of the recall of Gov. Walker. There's no doubt that his supporters will show up to the polls. What will matter most will be whether progressives match (or surpass) their numbers, can counter the conservative turnout with an even larger one.

If Tuesday's results are any indicator, that shouldn't be too difficult of a task to overcome.

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