When is 49% Good Enough and 50% Isn’t

I know that I ragged on the voter turn out already last week. How everyone was extolling the high turnout yet only 49% of eligible voters turned out. So the minority of voters made some pretty important decisions about local governments and of course the biggy…the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. So even though a candidate needed to win 50% of the votes cast…they actually logged far less than a majority of the citizenry that they are going to represent.

I hope I made my point last week…but it comes to mind again as I’ve read a number of articles recently about the issues with keeping qualified teachers in public education. It’s not a case of how do you keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree…its an issue with why should they teach when they are being attacked at every opportunity. And as teachers leave the profession, there are fewer and fewer candidates in our universities who are pursuing education degrees. Again why pursue a job that may feel rewarding…that you know is important to our future…when you will be demeaned and demoralized at every turn.

And then my mind wanders to teachers unions. Because they have been effectively neutered and can’t provide the kind of protection and representation that professional teachers are entitled to. Thank you Governor Walker and Act 10.

But speaking of Act 10 (I am working from memory here and not looking all of this up so please correct me where I am wrong), for a union to recertify it has to take a vote every year (?) and the membership has to vote in favor of continued representation…and it has to carry with greater than 50% of the total membership in favor. Not 50% of those voting…50% of the total membership.

Think about that for a moment…we elected a supreme court judge with far less that 50% of those voting…no where near 50% of all eligible voters…but a union needs more than 50% of total membership.

We seem pretty cavalier with electing officials who may have longstanding effects on our lives and livelihoods and futures…compared to the onerous requirements to do something as simple as recertifying a union. I just don’t get it.


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6 thoughts on “When is 49% Good Enough and 50% Isn’t

  1. And independents carried the Kloppenburg side of the equation as without them she’d have not gotten as far as she did. Thanks to Bernie for the turnout of young voters.

    Sadly the DPW dropped the whole ball as usual. Ineffectual and without a message as usual.

    Maybe I missed seeing it at the BB here, so I’d throw in this link to Martha and crew and the selling of the super delegates last August to the Hillary side, so your repeated and useless patter about voter turnout, Ed, really isn’t all that important to the D primary nor to the eventual POTUS winner.

    Perhaps the DPW should be working for independents or as I’ve suggested in the past, break from the DNC. Speaking as an independent myself, they need us more than we need them and Martha and Co just proved it by laundering a boatload of donations to the HVF.


    Three or four related articles.

    1. actually I don’t care a whit about the presidential primaries at this point or even the state supreme court race per se…so I apparently didn’t write this well enough to make my point. I am just dismayed that only 49% of the voters turned out…period. And you missed the call out for the hypocrisy around low voter turn out for elections with real consequences for the population at large…while union votes require extraordinary participation to be successful. It is the right’s ability to buy public elections and inability to influence unions…

      1. Not the first time I missed someone’s point, Ed, likely not the last.

        Not sure I get the hypocrisy either, but I’ll re-read it.

        To your last sentence and maybe I’m taking this out of your intended context, too, but the right certainly influenced unions by defunding their activities by cutting union worker compensation with ACT 10.

        The, “left,” does the same by essentially reinforcing the “right’s” message at every turn, i.e. by not opposing those conservative messages and by refusing to act on their own supposed ideology of supporting labor (they haven’t for at least 40 years, NAFTA for just one example, bank bailouts that didn’t go to defrauded mortgage holders, now TPP and TTIP, endless military imperialism) and in selling out their delegates (DPW, Laning) for the ability to launder money for a pro-corporatist, anti-labor candidate (Hillary), and refusing to attempt to organize for left candidates the way unions must to retain certification, etc.

        Quick summary, the right has influenced union’s ability to have any power, and the left buys elections by suppressing leftist enthusiasm in several ways. Both work to benefit the oligarchs. Simple, the two party system is a sham.

        The “left,” successfully discourages voter turnout by intentionally failing to offer any alternatives to the right. Individual candidates (Bernie, Feingold, Vinehout, etc) do, but not the party apparatus in any fashion.

        Apologies if I strayed farther off your intended point.

        1. Voter turnout is a big deal and we also need to look at what can the progressives push for to make things better. Why is NY state and all these other East coast States like 30 days ahead of time registration States? Look at the reforms Oregon and California are making to their electoral process. Down the road governor elections and most other elections should be during the Presidential general, and use the spring election as a primary for everything.

  2. Let’s agree there were a variety of issues that affected the outcome, some more harmful than others.

    I personally was greatly disappointed by the lack of effort and support for Kloppenburg. Surely Wisdems could have done much more!

    Wisconsin Supreme justice will now suffer for ten years with an inexperienced, character flawed, political prostitute.


    I thought we had reached the bottom in Supreme past ethics with Prosser’s handling as a district attorney of a sex abuse case by a priest.


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