Are Democratic Candidates Too Liberal?
Walker is very vulnerable, but his challengers are blowing it with far-left campaigns.
How vulnerable is Gov. Scott Walker?
The most recent poll, by Emerson University, found that Democratic front-runner Tony Evers had a healthy lead over Walker, with 48 percent of respondents saying they would choose Evers and just 41 percent picking Walker.
That came on the heels of a Marist Poll that had Evers doing even better, with 54 percent, compared to 41 percent for Walker.
True, the Marquette University Poll showed Walker with a lead of 48 percent to 44 percent for Evers back in June, but one month later it found Evers’ lead in the Democratic primary had increased, meaning he might have done better in match-up against Walker that month — but the poll didn’t measure it.
The full picture from all polls shows Walker is clearly in trouble. Marist found just 34 percent of those polled thought the governor “Deserves to be reelected,” while 61 percent wanted to “Give new person a chance.” The Emerson poll found 40 of respondents approved of Walker and 46 percent disapproved. Independents in that poll disapproved of Walker 47 percent to 36 percent, and chose Evers over Walker by 47 percent to 34 percent. By contrast the Marquette Poll found 47 percent approved of the job Walker was doing compared to 45 percent who didn’t.
Walker is one of the least popular governors in the country, an analysis by 538.com found. And he is a President Trump loyalist in a state where people disapprove of the president by 50 percent to 42 percent (MU poll) and 52 percent to 41 percent (Emerson poll), with just 29 percent saying he deserves to be reelected (Marist poll).
Besides the inevitable voter fatigue which Walker faces after 8 years in office and three elections, he is vulnerable on a huge list of issues. The second worst roads in the nation. Worst-ranked state in new business creation and behind most states in job growth. Second-worst state for internet broadband connections. Electric rates that are higher than in most states and a policy of opposing cheaper renewable energies, and a Foxconn plan that will raise people’s electric rates even higher.
Walker has cost the taxpayers at least $1 billion — and the cost keeps rising — for turning down federal Medicaid dollars, and he did it to help him in his failed run for president. He is giving a $4.1 billion subsidy to Foxconn, the biggest giveaway to a foreign company in U.S. history. This has meant Walker has far less to spend on state and local roads, which are falling apart, and on public schools, which have seen funding decline by a cumulative total of $3.5 billion under Walker, as a state Blue Ribbon Commission has found.
His Act 10 legislation took $3 billion in benefits away from mostly middle class public workers and gave it back through tax cuts that gave the vast majority of it to the wealthiest people, with the top 1 percent getting 57 times more money than the bottom 20 percent of taxpayers. He passed a Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit that will cost $1.4 billion by 2019, with nearly all of it going to wealthy taxpayers. He passed a private school tax credit that mostly lowers tuition costs for wealthy people sending their children to some of the priciest schools in the state.
Walker’s tenure, in short, has done little for average voters, for middle- and lower-class Wisconsinites, while repeatedly rewarding the wealthiest people. There is no shortage of hugely important issues for Democrats to run on.
Yet what are they doing? The eight Democrats running for governor often seem to be competing for who can be the most socialistic, with nearly every candidate supporting free tuition for all students at two-year technical and community colleges. Some have also expressed support for free tuition for four-year colleges. And extending Badger Care to provide health care for every person in the state. And most want to greatly reduce the state’s prison population, with several calling for cutting the prison population in half.
Meanwhile the Emerson poll found 61 percent of independent voters in the state think there is not enough funding for education. The MU poll found 66 percent of people in the northern and western part of state think the roads are in fair or poor condition and 58 percent of all voters think Foxconn won’t benefit their local businesses, while just 30 percent think it will. An earlier MU poll found 68 percent of respondents believe environmental protection should take precedence over economic development — a telling result given how environmental protections have been decimated under Walker. And I don’t think we need a poll to show that most voters don’t support massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
Evers, wisely, has been the only candidate to disagree with free tuition for two-year colleges, and has less willing to jump on the far-left bandwagon. And Matt Flynn’s first TV ad smartly emphasized the need to stop Foxconn and spend more on schools and roads.
Sure, issues like prison reform are worthy of consideration for the next governor, but why run on these more controversial issues when there are so many issues that will give you an easy victory in a debate with Walker? The governor’s record makes for easy target practice, but many of these candidates aren’t just missing the bullseye; they’re not even aiming their guns in that direction.
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