Marquette pollster Charles Franklin ought to get a raise. His May 30th poll of likely Wisconsin voters showed Scott Walker with a seven-percentage point advantage over Tom Barrett. Sure enough, Walker won the recall by seven percentage points.
A victory for social science, and of course Governor Walker. For a full analysis of the election I urge you to read my colleague Christian Schneider’s breakdown at National Review Online. I will offer only a few hopes for the future.
I hope Walker’s win will be a cautionary tale against using recalls to settle policy disagreements. It is mind-boggling to consider the amount of time, money, and energy spent simply to retain the status quo.
I hope Wisconsin citizens of all political stripes will respect the important role played by public employees. Our public institutions and the employees that run them are key to Wisconsin’s quality-of-life and economic future. To that end, I hope new state revenues can be used to restore reductions in take-home pay for public employees.
I hope public employees are open to new approaches to service delivery in a post-collective bargaining world. A Government sector built on collaboration and mutual respect between public employees and management will be more productive than one built on mutual distrust.
I hope Tom Barrett will focus on being an advocate for the City of Milwaukee. His concession speech was classy, and the state’s largest city needs an advocate as sincere as I believe Barrett is.
I hope the urban non-urban divide so evident in the recall campaign is not a permanent fixture of Wisconsin politics.
Finally, I hope we can regain a little bit of civility, and really dignity in our public discourse. Dismissing policy ideas because of the messenger only guarantees good ideas will be wasted.