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Wisconsin: A Turning Point for Democracy

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The recall elections in Wisconsin in August are a test of our democracy.

The first two battles have been waged in Wisconsin and, if the opening clashes are any indication, 'the people' are going to take back the Badger State.

Last Tuesday, the first recall election was held in Wisconsin's 30th District and Wisconsinites overwhelmingly reelected incumbent Dave Hansen over Republican challenger David Vanderleest.

Similarly, the week before, all six Democratic hopefuls won easy elections over faux-Democrat candidates in a forced primary election that will cost the taxpayers of Wisconsin nearly $500,000 dollars. Running fake candidates was a costly, and unethical, political ploy to give Republican candidates more time to raise money, campaign, and muddy the process in the upcoming recall elections in six Republican held districts.

Will this tactic backfire on the Republicans?

The answer is, yes! As August 9th looms large for the voters in six districts, battles waged in the cities of La Crosse, Menomonee Falls, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, and Green Bay could bring sweeping changes in Madison.

It all began with Wisconsinites' swift reaction to crippling right-wing ideologies that overwhelmed the people. Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to avoid the stifling budget vote forced by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Congress.

Thousands of protesters, blind-sided by Governor Walker's draconian budget cuts and the attempt to strip away collective bargaining rights from the public employees' unions, gathered in front of the Capitol. The group grew each day and exceeded 125,000 by the end of the week.

Angry teachers, firemen, policemen, students, and other state employees strongly disagreed with the governor's austerity plan, which hit hard-working Wisconsinites with painful cuts after he had given corporations and the wealthy huge tax breaks.

Through the next few weeks their voices grew and and their focused anger led to the current recall elections.

An overwhelming number of signatures were collected in six districts to recall the six Republican senators eligible to be recalled: Robert Cowles (2), Alberta Darling (8), Sheila Harsdorf (10), Randy Hopper (18), Dan Kapanke (32), and Luther Olsen (14).

Republicans, attempting to recall six Democrats, were only able to collect enough signatures to place three Democrats: Hansen (30), Jim Holperin (12), and Robert Wirch (22), on the recall ballot.

Then, in a move to slow the momentum and gain an advantage in their districts -- and subvert democracy -- the Republicans ran the fake Democrats. Their tactic worked, forcing the primaries, but will it help them next month in the August elections.

Jessica King, who lost to Randy Hopper by a mere 184 votes in 2008, handily defeated fake Democrat John Buckstaff by 39 percentage points in their 18th District race, will meet Hopper again on August 9th. Her chances look great.

Two other Republican senators, Darling and Kapanke, won by less than 3% in their 2008 races and are facing good Democratic opponents in their Districts. A recent poll shows Sandra Pasch leading Darling by a percentage point and momentum is building.

All six of the Republican recall races are now set for Tuesday, August 9th. The two remaining elections in the Democratic-held districts are also set and will be held on August 16. Incumbent senator Jim Holperin is running against Kim Simac and Senator Robert Wirch faces Jonathan Steitz.

Are these state recall elections worthy of the national attention they've received?

The significance goes well beyond the borders of Wisconsin as state after state expropriates freedoms -- of speech and the right to vote; irrevocable tenets of democracy. And, they're going after collective bargaining; an attempt to destroy unions.

Wisconsin is truly the turning point for democracy and its survival.

The battle Wisconsinites are waging, against a subversive government, must also be waged in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida with the same tenacity and synergy that the voters of Wisconsin have marshaled.

No government should be allowed to usurp its citizens' individual freedoms.

The strength shown by 'the people' of Wisconsin must serve as an example of what the authors of the Constitution envisioned; in fact it is exactly what they intended.

Every hard-working American has a role in the battle in the Badger State, and will, also, when the struggle moves to other states.

Together let's work for the outcome in Wisconsin where 'the people' win; a clear and decisive victory for democracy.