Money Talks: Wisconsin Recall by the Numbers
Buy the numbers is more like it...
On the morning after the unsuccessful bid to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Gavin Aronsen of Mother Jones crunches the campaign finance numbers. Walker spent seven times as much as his opponent, Tom Barrett. Most of Walker's war chest came from out-of-state donors, while most of Barrett's money was raised inside Wisconsin.
Walker was under attack because he was campaigning to crush his state's public sector unions, the last bastion of high union density, and the financial and logistical powerhouse of Democratic politics in the state. Republicans around the country poured money into Wisconsin because they hope to bring Walker's union-busting model to their states.
Some pundits are saying that Walker survived because Wisconsinites were opposed to the idea of a recall election on general principle. The pro-recall contingent gathered more than 900,000 signatures to recall Walker in a state with only 5.7 million inhabitants.
The lesson of Wisconsin is that grassroots organizing is no match for unchecked political spending. As Damon Runyon said, "The race may not always be to the swift nor the victory to the strong, but that's how you bet."