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Turnabout in Wisconsin

The gloating left tastes stunning, bitter defeat.

By 4.8.11

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Wow! That's really all I can say as I read the news that a County Clerk in Wisconsin failed to save on her computer, and thus failed to report, 14,315 votes cast in the heavily Republican city of Brookfield.

Those new votes, combined with "typing errors" in two other parts of the County appear to add a net 7,582 to Prosser over Kloppenburg, giving the incumbent non-leftist justice a lead of about 7,378 votes before other vote total adjustments from around the state. With a total of votes cast at about 1.494 million, the current margin of Prosser's lead is now less than 100 votes short of what would be needed to force Kloppenburg to have to pay for a recount, an effort that would cost at least a million dollars and would be, in my view, as good a use of union dues money as anything; after all, it would keep them from being able to spend that money in another election.

If any more errors are found prior to a recount process which add to Prosser's lead, one could see a situation where there is no longer a free, automatic recount, though if that were going to happen you'd probably expect it to have happened already. So far, the reported changes in vote totals in other counties are small, with a net gain for Kloppenburg based on one news report of about 30 votes over seven counties, nowhere near enough for her to reclaim victory, but putting her slightly more safely inside the margin needed for a free recount.

The Kloppenburg campaign is, appropriately and not surprisingly, "filing open records requests for all relevant documentation related to the reporting of election results in Waukesha County, as well as to the discovery and reporting of the errors announced by the County." The vice-chair of the Waukesha Democratic Party acknowledged that she and Democrat election watchers were "satisfied that (the new count) is correct."

Although I'm rarely shocked by the arrogance of politicians, and even giving Mrs. Kloppenburg a little wiggle room for not being a seasoned politician, the arrogance of her press conference on Wednesday was annoying and disturbing, showing a remarkable self-centeredness for someone angling to be a Supreme Court Justice.

The first question to her during that conference: "How do you feel comfortable declaring victory when the margin is so thin? Certainly Justice Prosser's supporters think they may be able to pull out a victory in a recount process." Kloppenburg mostly dodged the question, offering some pablum about having run a "respectful" campaign, adding "and we did win and we're confident that the margin will hold."

The questioner persisted: "Many observers say that with a vote count that's this close, that could be one adding error in one county that's making up the difference. Why do you feel that vote count is so reliable at this point in time?" (This reporter certainly gets the Carnac award for the month...) Kloppenburg's response: "You know, the number showed that we won and we are gratified to have that victory in hand."

Later, Kloppenburg said she was "confident that the (Government Accountability Board) will certify the numbers that we all have in front of us now" and that "we are enjoying our victory."

Another question from a reporter who was also gunning for the Carnac award: "What would happen if during the canvassing certification that the vote flips around and Justice Prosser wins? Would you seek to challenge that?" Kloppenburg: "I won't speculate. We've won right now and we're pleased with our victory."

In typical leftist fashion, a commenter on the Democratic Underground (with agreement from others), never fearful of the most intense hypocrisy, suggested, "In a civilized world we could expect Prosser to concede" even if the original count showed him "beaten by one vote." Can anyone say Bush v. Gore?

I don't like anything that makes American elections look "dodgy," as my Australian wife might say, but despite the expected grousing on the left there is no reason to think that this was anything other than simple human error (leaving out the totals for an entire city is much less likely to be an attempt at fraud than some huge change in a city's original count would be).

Still, one can't help but sit back and enjoy -- at least for a few minutes because obviously this is a rather fluid situation -- an election where the last votes aren't from Democrat strongholds, aren't likely to be votes by the dead, the illegal, the late-arriving absentees, and the incarcerated -- each group a remarkably reliable Democrat voting bloc, such as those who gave the U.S. Senate Race to Al Franken in 2008.

Although this is just a statewide judicial race, the implications are substantial, perhaps made all the more substantial by the apparent change in victors. If Kloppenburg had won (or if she does end up winning), it could be highly motivating for unions and other leftist organizations; they would come to believe that with enough advertising spending, they can convince taxpayers that, as Ann Coulter aptly put it, "People who are already suffering have to suffer more so that those who are doing pretty well don't have to suffer at all."

A Kloppenburg victory would likely spur the unions' fund-raising gains and generally raise their level of political optimism just at a time when the Tea Party and other supporters of liberty and capitalism feel that the left is finally on the ropes in America (at least until the next time that the public forgets just how bad Progressivism is for our economic health). A Kloppenburg defeat, especially after the left poured a few million dollars into the race early, propelling Kloppenburg from being at least 30% behind in the polls to being in a dead heat even in internal GOP polls, according to National Review, should take the wind out of its sails. The gut-punch should be that much more intense for the unions after believing they won.

One has to wonder, after blowing millions in union dues money on this race, and after perhaps $10 million incinerated in a failed attempt to beat Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln in a primary challenge after Lincoln came out against "card check," when the average union man or woman will revolt, even a little bit, against their money being wasted like this. Still, at the level of the union bosses this is an existential battle for their power and they won't give up until the last of their members has been sacrificed on the altars of "social justice" and "soaking the rich." Too bad it's really the rank and file being soaked.

 

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About the Author
Ross Kaminsky is a self-employed trader and investor and is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute. He is the host of The Ross Kaminsky Show on Denver's NewsRadio 850 KOA on Saturday mornings from 6 AM to 9 AM. You can reach Ross by e-mail at rossputin(at)rossputin(dot)com.