Ohio voters rebelled at the polls 62-38% Tuesday against Republican governor John Kasich’s attack on collective bargaining rights, sending a strong message from the heartland that the Tea Party agenda may be unraveling. Next week, Wisconsin activists will launch their drive to obtain 540,000 signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker sometime next year.
Speculation by journalists and election-protection advocates like Harvey Wasserman that the One Percenters might steal the Ohio election proved unfounded.
Current polling in Wisconsin shows the electorate sharply polarized on Walker following a year of unprecedented popular protests and the voter recall of two Republican senators who supported Walker’s repeal of collective bargaining rights for most public sector employees. Starting with the signature drive, the campaign will become a massive political war on the ground.
Support for preserving labor’s rights in both states runs slightly ahead of current approval ratings for Obama.
Democrats’ chances in 2012 hinge partly on whether Tea Party Republicans are perceived by voters as standing for extreme cuts in social programs and fronting for the super-rich One Percenters like the Koch brothers. A majority of Tea Party Republicans oppose President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq, according to last week’s Washington Post-ABC poll, while all other voters strongly support the decision. (November 26, 2011)
For an overview of Tuesday’s races around the US, see John Nichals' report at The Nation.