The Sad Badgers Fan

The unofficial mascot of the Democrats’ humiliating Wisconsin loss is – of course, what else! – a man in a Badgers cap, looking and sounding sadder than anyone else this side of a Bergman movie.

Easy to laugh at him, but has anyone offered a better, bullshit-lighter explanation of why Walker’s win was so devastating? Last winter, when the fight over Walker’s budget repair bill was joined, Democrats in the state Assembly warned of the end of “labor peace.” It was an implicitly spooky term, suggesting that unions were kept at work and off picket lines only because no one had come after their bargaining rights. Walker would be punished if he tried. And… he wasn’t. Democrats gained the state Senate, sure, but that’s a real-life example of a player exterminating some pawns in order to win the chess game. The Sad Badgers Fan says that Democrats were outspent “$34 million to $4 million” – and he’s right, almost. Labor tried to make up the spending gap, but it was playing with union dues. Labor Super PACs, like Worker’s Voice, are supposed to be the left’s answer to billionaire-funded Super PACs. But pass the right reforms, and you can shrink the unions down to the point where they can’t spend this money. Fail to beat Scott Walker, and you show that nothing can answer the money spent by business interests if they really want to swing an election.

I’ve seen some amusing spin about how Wisconsin wasn’t a complete Democratic debacle. Republicans, after all, had to spend more than $60 million to hold on! But for them, in an era of politically engaged/scared tycoons, the money is effectively inexhaustible.