Thank the left for presidential candidate Scott Walker

Walker’s team kicked into overdrive and hasn’t really stopped, both in GOTV efforts and fundraising. Data-driven and determined, they acquired the list of recall petitioners and used it to modify their voter contact rolls. They opened the doors and welcomed help from any organization willing to join their efforts, and pushed those who could to vote early. Then-Slate reporter Dave Weigel trekked to Wisconsin in May, and came away stunned by the scale of the operation. Walker’s fundraising network is 300,000 donors strong, and believe me, his staff stays in constant contact with each and every one of them (full disclosure: I contributed to the Walker campaign in 2012).

To make matters worse, Democrats picked a candidate with zero appeal in swing areas: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who had already lost to the governor in the 2010 election. On the night of the recall primary, my side project, AoSHQDD, was in its infancy, and we were stunned at the tally Walker, facing only token opposition, received. The governor received nearly as many votes as all of the Democratic candidates combined, evidence again of a “silent majority” receptive to defending him. Things never got better for the Democrats as the recall election neared. Early voting returns out of Madison were impressive, but so were those out of Brookfield, the city in Waukesha County that saved Justice Prosser. Polling consistently showed the governor ahead, and he was: the final average found Walker winning by just under seven points, and that’s exactly what happened.

While Madison votes were assured, and his own city’s votes could be counted on, Mayor Barrett failed miserably to connect with the very voters that chose Walker in 2010, defended him in 2012, and continue to stand by him: white blue-collar and middle-class voters in the western and northeastern parts of the state. President Obama held Mitt Romney to a scant lead in Brown County (Green Bay), while Walker carried it by 20 points. The president also easily won the scattered “other” media markets outside of Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. Walker carried this same region by 12 points.