Wisconsin US Senate Seat Race 2012 – Other Possible Matchups

By YeOldeScribe ~ May 26th, 2011 @ 12:57 am

Our writer is back online with a new computer and after literally spending all day installing everything from Windows to printer drivers, he’s ready to roll. Political Progressives apologizes for the delay in providing you with the best progressive insight you can find on the interwebs, and we’ll be doing double posts (two posts a day) for the rest of the week!

When we last left off (it feels like ages ago to us too, don’t worry), we were covering the race for one of Wisconsin’s Senate seats, which became a lot more competitive since Herb Kohl, who had the seat for four terms, announced his retirement. We went into detail going over possible Republican and Democratic candidates, then we shared with you how we thought the election would eventually play out. We also gave an in-depth breakdown of all the possible matchups we considered.

But who are we to say that these are the only candidates who can run? When Tommy Thompson dropped out of the 2010 Senate Race, the Democrats thought they had that seat all wrapped up. Then, out of nowhere, Ron Johnson swooped in and rode people’s hysteria over healthcare all the way to Washington, removing one of the best politicians this great state has seen since the days of LaFollett. Who’s to say the same thing won’t happen in 2012?

The same setup is there – both parties have their heroes that they’re hoping will run – Feingold for the Democrats, Thompson (again) for the Republicans. But if either decide not to run (we’re thinking it’ll be Thompson, although we won’t be shocked to see Russ stay with teaching and running Progressives United), the field opens up considerably, allowing a wealthy businessman to come out of nowhere – like Johnson did – and basically buy an election.

So today at Political Progressives, we’re going to look at how a political newcomer from either party would fare against an established politician from the opposite side – and we’ll also take a look at how a final matchup between two newcomers would shake out.

A quick look at changing views on political newbies

It’s so strange to us that having no experience in what you’re doing comes remotely close to being a good thing. And this wasn’t always the case – while there have always been times where the public trusted the government less than it normally does (see: Vietnam and Watergate), things eventually simmer back down and people begin to trust the government implicitly even if they shouldn’t (see: Ronald Reagan, aka the “Teflon” President). And yet ever since the middle of the Bush area, people have trust the government less and less – even if they know very little or nothing about it. Sure, there’s always been some people who have said that they’re all crooks and liars, but those people have always been in the minority. Not so anymore.

Yes, candidates are now promoting the fact that they have zero political experience rather than trying to hide it like they used to. It’s so strange to us because it’s like trying to persuade the hiring manager of a company that you should be their next employee because you know nothing about their company and you have zero experience related to that profession. It’s especially troubling for our writer, who went to school for four years to earn a degree and has five years of legitimate writing experience, yet can’t find steady employment because he’s “not qualified enough”. Yet billionaire businessmen not only can run for politics even though they know nothing about it, they’re encouraged to by the political parties themselves. Keep this in mind as we look ahead to potential matchups:

Democratic Newcomer vs. Established Republican Candidate

In 2010, it was the Republicans who rode political angst and discontent to success. Now, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Democrats to try the same. The best reason is because they can say they weren’t around for the last two/four/six years. Current Dems are facing criticism for passing things like Health Care Reform and bailouts. New Democrats can say they would have never supported those policies (even if they would have). Second, Democrats can hitch a ride with Obama’s re-election campaign. We’ve talked ad nausem about it, but that doesn’t make it any less true – Obama will campaign hard, and Democrats who turn out just to vote for him are more than likely to tick the box for a Democrat in the Senate, too. Third, in Wisconsin a Democratic Senate candidate could say that they vehemently oppose the Budget Repair Bill while arguing that they wouldn’t have “cut and run” like the Democratic State Senators did (again, even if it’s not true). In this matchup, the Dems just have too much of an advantage, and would win by five points.

Republican Newcomer vs. Established Democratic Candidate

If Ron Johnson has taught us anything, it’s that humans can live without a brain money can buy an election – if the climate is right. Just as there’s a lot of backlash against Republicans over the Budget Repair Bill, many people also aren’t happy with Democrats who fled the state. And even though this is an election for US Senate and not the state’s higher legislature, people will still take it out on the Dems. We’ll caveat this discussion by saying that if Feingold is in, he wins. If he doesn’t run, then we’re looking at a Republican with money going up against a very liberal Democrat who has experience in being very liberal. Sorry to say that in this case, money talks – we’ll give the Republicans the edge by two points, meaning that the state’s US Senate seats would both be controlled by Republican businessman who don’t have a clue as to what they’re doing. Great.

Republican Newcommer vs. Democratic Newcommer

This is exactly what we don’t want to see in an election. These types of elections instantly become the most expensive, drawn-out and dumb campaigns in the history of politics. Why? You’re pitting two people together who have infinite sums of money with deeply entrenched viewpoints with no idea of what they’re doing or what they’re getting themselves into. The real issues get ignored and the race becomes all about political buzzwords or topics that don’t really mean anything to anyone. The end result is that nobody wins – certainly not the state and certainly not Democracy. Traditionally, these elections go to whoever has the most money, which is usually the Republican. But in this case, the Democratic party will spend even more money than usual to ensure that Wisconsin stays a purple state instead of solid red. Between that, the special interest groups, the candidate him/herself and Obama’s re-election boost, we’d predict a close (two point) Democratic win.

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