Thursday, July 30, 2015

“Perhaps it’s the fight against Walkerism that will finally awaken us”

“…In a little over four years as governor, [Scott Walker] has obliterated moderate Republicans and mainstream conservatism in a state where both once flourished. In their place has evolved a win-at-any-cost new politics built around Walker, who has ripped up election laws, governance, and personal relationships so thoroughly that Wisconsin’s largest newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, calls him ‘the most divisive Wisconsin politician in living memory’—in a state that was represented by Joe McCarthy in the Senate as recently as 1957. Walker has not turned Wisconsin ‘completely red,’ but he has conquered foes in both parties and remade the political infrastructure to the point that he can now boast to compromise-averse Republicans: ‘If our reforms can work in a blue state like Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in America.’ 

“But which reforms? The changes that Walker trumpets on the campaign trail—assaults on public employees, public education, public services, and unions; the rejection of federal mandates; and the remaking of economic-development programs and tax schemes to distribute wealth upward—haven’t worked any better than the failed austerity schemes in Europe. Wisconsin trails far behind neighboring states like Minnesota and the rest of the nation when it comes to job creation and economic vitality. However, the ‘reforms’ that matter most to Walker—those that enhance his personal power and electability—have been successful enough to make him a serious contender for the Republican nomination…

“Walker has spent a lifetime preparing for this presidential campaign, and everything about his record says that he will do whatever it takes to win. If he were to secure the nomination and win the presidency—and arrive in Washington with a GOP-controlled Congress—he would no longer be restructuring the politics of a medium-size state to his advantage; he would be restructuring the federal government and the nation’s future. The prospect excites Limbaugh, just as it terrifies the Wisconsinites who have battled Walker the longest and hardest. If this man is elected president, we will be done with elections as we know them. We will enter a new age of winner-take-all politics, where ruthlessly ambitious tacticians assemble billionaire donors, cultivate an echo-chamber media, shove aside idealists, reimagine parties as reflections of themselves, and remake government as a vessel to be filled by the highest bidder. Perhaps we’ve already passed the tipping point, and Scott Walker’s candidacy simply confirms the crisis he exemplifies. Or perhaps it’s the fight against Walkerism that will finally awaken us.”

For the complete article, Get Ready for Scott Walker… and the Ruthless Politics of Walkerism by John Nichols, click here.

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