Milwaukee’s Black voter turnout will be the deciding factor in governor’s recall race

By Lynda L. Jones,

Milwaukee’s Black elected officials worked the streets and rode the city buses over the Memorial Day Weekend to reach out to voters one on one. Pictured above are: Ald. Ashanti Hamilton, State Sen. Lena Taylor, County Supervisor Michael Mayo, Ald. and Common Council president Willie Hines, Rep. Elizabeth Coggs, Supervisor Willie Johnson, Ald. Milele Coggs and Ald. Willie Wade. (Photo by Robert A. Bell)

Milwaukee’s voter turnout will be a major factor in the recall race between Barrett vs. Walker and Mitchell vs. Kleefisch, but Milwaukee’s Black voter turnout will be the deciding factor. The primary results showed an 18 percent Black voter turnout and this dismal turnout has advocates for Scott Walker celebrating.

In a recent television interview with Mahlon Mitchell and Rebecca Kleefisch together, Kleefisch was so over confident that she stated that she could not picture a election result that did not have her remain as Lt. Governor and Walker as Governor.

Marquette Law School poll numbers continue to show Walker leading Barrett by a few percentage points. And another poll conducted by The Washington Post has reported a tie earlier this week 49-49 released on the same day as the Marquette poll. What both polls are missing is the potential Black votes, and what they will do, because the pollsters, Walker, Kleefisch, and their advocates have counted Milwaukee out and especially the Black voter.

The Barrett and Mitchell campaigns are not following this assumption road, these campaigns are not counting Black voters out. Black elected officials are continuing to lead the charge in motivating the Black vote, and reaching out from the streets to riding the city buses. Officials hit the streets this Memorial Day Weekend through early voter drives, walking the neighborhoods, waving down drivers and they rode the buses talking to Milwaukee’s Black voters.

Photo by Robert A. Bell

Milwaukee has been undervalued and continues to be viewed that way by the State Republicans. Part of the GOP mind game is to downplay the importance of Milwaukee and what this city, (the state’s largest) brings to the entire state of Wisconsin. Even the city’s largest daily newspaper overwhelmingly concentrates on all of the ills of Milwaukee. Walker’s most recent ads demonstrate this by citing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s reported violent crime numbers, and stating that Mayor Barrett has lied on the numbers. But, does the mayor of a city control crime numbers of any city? Can anything that a mayor has the authority to do determine the amount of crime that hits a city? Many studies have shown and reality shows that poverty is one of the major determining factors to crime. So, closing parks and pools, killing job opportunities like high speed rail and sending $810 million back to the federal government, laying off teachers that have resulted in crowded classrooms and taking federal money for foreclosure victims ($30 million) to use it to plug a budget hole once you’ve claimed that all the cuts produced a balanced budget all contribute to poverty and all of these things were done under the tenure of Scott Walker as Milwaukee County Executive and since he has been governor. As stated in several editorials in this week’s Courier (see page 4), if Black voters sit this election out, and Walker survives this recall election, Milwaukee can forget it. The future of Milwaukee will be in the hands of a governor and legislators who just do not believe that Milwaukee matters. Black voters need to turnout like they did in the presidential race in 2008 for Obama. An 18 percent turnout will not do it, if voters sit this one out and don’t vote they will feel the pain. There are no excuses, this is one of those opportunities that will not come again. If Walker stays in, you can bet one of the first things he will do first is change the rules on how to recall an elected official, because guess what, he tried it before he got recalled.