Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Report from the Polls

Today was Spring Election Day in Wisconsin. Primary election for the presidential race, and general election for many state and local offices.

My habit is to vote on the way to work in the morning; I had an 8:00 appointment this morning, so I showed up at the polls at 7:40 to find two lines (A-L, M-Z) leading from the hallway into the polling booth room. The M-Z line appeared shorter, but that was only because the M-Z table was further from the door.

My wait was only five minutes, but everyone I've spoken with this afternoon reports that their lines have been longer. My husband voted this afternoon, when the line extended back beyond the table where the person telling voters which line to get into was seated. Still, the lines in our village were nowhere near as bad as the lines in urban polling places.

National pundits find it remarkable that Cruz and Sanders are polling so well in this state. Wisconsin media skew conservative (a recent Washington Post blog post calling the Milwaukee J. Sentinel "left-leaning" showed that the writer hadn't read the Sentinel in decades), and talk radio was unanimous preaching their Vote Cruz To Stop Trump line. Whether Governor Snotwalker's endorsement of Cruz convinced anyone to vote for him, or Scotty was just following the prevailing right-wing winds is up for debate -- but I suspect the latter is true.

I think Sanders appeal among Democrats can be traced to the Republicans who came to power here in 2010 and crammed their agenda down our throats -- in marked contrast to the agonizing and futile attempts by President Obama to appease Republicans on health care, fixing Bush's wrecked economy, or scheduling a state visit to Indonesia. Incrementalism doesn't sell well among Wisconsin Democrats who see nobody on the Republican side open to reason.

I just hope that some of these millennials Feeling The Bern have taken some time to check out some of the other races on the ballot, particularly that for our Supreme Court. If JoAnne Kloppenburg can't beat the anti-gay, anti-contraceptive shill for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Rebecca Bradley, liberals might as well stop trying to elect any independent thinker to the court.

Locally, thanks to the Republican micromanaging gerrymanderers in Madison, my local school board went from nine seats at large to nine district representatives this year; and as a result, I had no choice in my district's school board race. The woman running as the sole candidate on my ballot may very well be a nice, intelligent and thoughtful civic-minded individual; but I seriously considered refusing to vote for her as the only way to protest having my voice in school board matters taken away.

Not that Madison Republicans would listen.

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