So, young ones, the votes were counted. Wisconsin broke all kinds of records for voter turnout. My own city, Appleburg, reached an unheard-of 84%. Madison even had over 100% turnout. All of the registered voters turned out, and new ones registered. The election was over, but the issues hadn’t died. Oh, we still had issues.
And in the aftermath, more issues surfaced. I had issues with the mainstream media for announcing election results long before all the votes had been counted. In fact, there were still people waiting in line to vote because their polls had run out of ballots. Polls officially closed at 8:00, but anyone in line by 8 was allowed to vote. No one is really sure whether Tom Barrett knew that people were still voting when he prepared to concede around 10. Some felt that the people were done voting by then, the votes just had not been counted.But even then, important precincts (like Milwaukee!) were not included in the early totals.
So I had issues with the mainstream media on election night. I also had issues with our local paper. Their headline said that Governor Walker had won “easily.” Easily? I think not. Estimates of his campaign spending hovered between forty and eighty million dollars. Millions! I believe the lower end of that range is more accurate. Even so, Walker and his rich buddies outspent their opponents by at least a 10 to 1 margin. That speaks of challenges, not winning “easily.”
Easily? The man should have won by a huge margin if he won easily. As the late votes were counted and the absentee ballots came in, the gap between winner and loser got progressively narrower. Walker still won, but he didn’t win easily, children.
There’s a lesson here; make your own value judgments. Don’t let the media decisions become yours. You do your own research, my dears; read, listen, talk to people close to the candidate. If a major bigwig on national television tells you it’s over, stick around. It’s not over until all have voted and all the vote totals are in. Predicting a winner too early can discourage voters and even affect a close race. Did I ever tell you about the presidential election of 2000? Oh, that’s a great story. I was teaching fifth grade that year, and we were learning about American history. I told my students to pay attention to the world around them because they were living in historic times. But back to the story —
The Wisconsin Recall Election of 2012 made waves worldwide. The BBC ran stories about it. Canadian media covered the events. Nationwide, people were watching us. We were, indeed, making and living history. Many of us felt that Election Night wasn’t the end; it was just the beginning.
Kiddos, would you like to hear about the presidential election of 2000? Well, not now. I’m bushed. Tomorrow morning over coffee, that’s when we’ll talk.