Come on, we all knew it as going to happen.
Much of this stinging defeat, I tend to think, has to do with the fact that the sort of voters upon whom we once upon a time relied to save us from the likes of Scott Walker and ALEC have left the state for greener pastures. Wisconsin simply isn't the culturally and economically "happening" place it used to be, and so intelligent and talented people have been leaving.
As to the main reason why Burke lost, I think a Reddit.com user on the Wisconsin Subreddit known as corduroyblack summed it up best:
I mean, nominate a businesswoman who was handed her position in business thanks to nepotism, has no political experience but a school board position she basically bought in the most liberal city in the state, and her only other experience was two years in the cabinet of the previous democrat governor who just so happen to leave office right before a massive recession. And add in the not so minor detail that she's never been married, has no children, and really has nothing in common with 95% of the people in the state.
And in continuation with this blog's tradition of telling people things they don't want to hear, I'll let you my three or so readers in on some scuttlebutt: There was a user on that subreddit who is a Wisconsin state employee who hates Walker on account of the witch-hunt going on within the ranks of his segment of the state government workforce based on who signed the recall petition back in 2012. According to this employee, a section of his colleagues who feel as he does about Walker decided to just abstain from voting in the gubernatorial race on account of their experience of working for Mary Burke when she was the commerce secretary. These state employees felt she was an incompetent disaster.
I realize that sounds rather like something I'm pulling out of my asshole. That is why I would refer the reader to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about Burke being dismissed from her position at Trek Bicycle. This isn't about the main topic of the story, because the one of the two witnesses who is way more credible doesn't think Burke was necessarily incompetent as a corporate executive, just that dealing with people from all those different cultures made that job too much for her. But what confirmed what I heard in that bit of admittedly questionable subreddit-gossip was this quote from an individual in state government who worked under Mary Burke when she was commerce secretary:
In a September 2006 email that first surfaced two weeks ago, [Cory] Nettles expressed a far harsher opinion of Burke.
"She's a disaster," Nettles wrote at the time to another political appointee who was still working under Burke at the state Department of Commerce.
Nettles recently said the note does not represent his current view of Burke's two-plus years running the commerce agency.
Nettles's recent denial of what he said previously doesn't sound terribly credible. What, after all, would have made him change his mind about such a strongly-held opinion?
So why did the Wisconsin Democratic Party choose such a weak candidate for such a vital race? One of two possibilities suggest themselves: They are either stupid and incompetent, or they simply took a dive. At this point, I find it fairly easy to believe both. As for Burke herself, I guess I feel about her the way I felt about Tom Barrett in the recall election: Her heart was certainly in the right place, but that wasn't enough to make her a strong choice for the candidacy in question. Both Barrett and Burke, after all, ran on not much more than not being Scott Walker, and as John Kerry learned in 2004, that particular tactic usually just isn't enough to carry the day in an election.
As you would expect, both houses of our well and truly gerrymandered state legislature also remain in Republican hands.
The national results appear equally grim for the inept and clueless Democratic Party. I would attribute at least some of this result to the fact that people aren't really all that enthusiastic about Obamacare now that it's here, all the Democratic-leaning blogs and websites drinking the Kool-Aid about it notwithstanding. President Obama tried to combine providing near-universal health-insurance coverage while also preserving the "for-profit" nature of the US healthcare system. These two goals are simply not compatible, and popping the economic healthcare bubble by instituting national single-payer healthcare isn't going to be an option on the table. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact that we're going to see a lot of this country's contradictions, conflicts, and ugly side come to the surface in a very nasty and obnoxious way now that we no longer have unlimited access to cheap and abundant energy and resources.
The Democratic Party's codependent doormat supporters will, of course, double down and mainline the Kool-Aid (not just about Obamacare) with a syringe and a tourniquet. But that's their choice and really none of my beeswax. As for me, I can now fully accept that whatever is going to happen is simply going to happen, and it will certainly not be good, and just fucking let it go and not feel the least bit bad about it. Going to demonstrations isn't going to help (and will probably backfire in the unlikely event they succeed in drawing any media attention), voting isn't going to help, writing to your elected representatives isn't going to help, because the Democratic Party is a joke, the plutocrats can buy any political race or politician they want to buy, the plutocrats also own the media, and the electorate is flat-out ignorant.
In fact, I intend to celebrate my new-found freedom from the malign influence of the politics industry tonight with some blue corn-chips and habanero picante sauce. Though I have to admit that even though I am accepting this intellectually, on the emotional level, there is part of me that is somewhat "having a cow" that we're really this fucked up of a state and a country now. But then again, any grieving process is bound to a complex and multi-faceted thing. As Reverse Engineer at Doomstead Diner is fond of saying, "See you on the other side!"