By Srijan Sen
Incumbent Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Party nominee Mary Burke agreed to two debates this fall sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation Board. One held on Oct. 10 at the La Crosse-Eau Claire market, the other on Oct. 17 at the Milwaukee market. Neither one delivered a decisive blow.
The focus of both candidates so far has been on the economy and job creation ignoring other hot-button issues such as labor rights, minimum wage increases, reproductive rights, shadowy campaign donations and environmental implications that has divided the Wisconsin since 2010.
While Gov. Walker talked about recent, positive jobs and unemployment numbers, Ms. Burke criticized the Walker administration on the failure to make the promised goal of 250,000 jobs during his first term.
The debate in Milwaukee centered the city’s nonwhite residents. Many of the night’s questions ranged from unemployment rates over 50 percent in African- American men to concerns over the Milwaukee Bucks moving to different city.
Walker routinely uses a football metaphor to explain his failure to meet the jobs promise.
“When I took over for Wisconsin it was like inheriting a team that was 0 and 16 and I promised that we’d go to the Super Bowl,” Gov. Walker says. “We’re not at the Super Bowl yet. I’m asking for a four-year contract renewal to get there. But we’re winning again.”
The morning after Gov. Walker survived the recall election, political climate around Wisconsin started talking about a second Walker term and a possible Presidential run. In 2012, the possibilities seemed endless for Gov. Walker, but things have not been the same since.
Within weeks of taking office, Gov. Walker made massive cuts to the benefits and bargaining rights for most public-sector workers leading to Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state in what was high drama political theatre.
In the years that followed, state legislature cut taxes and froze public university tuition; set new limits on early voting; permitted concealed weapons and expanded school vouchers. The state’s controversial voter id law is also an epicenter for debate, but will not be in effect during the Nov. 4 election. Gov.
Now Gov. Walker finds himself locked in a tight battle for office in what can be attributed to a post-Walker depression.
Ms. Mary Burke, whose highest public office achievement has been a seat on the Madison school board, is seeking to overthrow the incumbent Governor. Early voting showed Gov. Walker leading 54-40, however within a span of two week, the race is now evenly tied at 47 percent.
If elected, Ms. Burke will be Wisconsin’s first woman Governor who is single and has contributed enough of her own money to her campaign.
She had her own potentially damaging controversy after it was reported a Burke campaign consultant plagiarized himself while writing portions of her jobs report. Ms. Burke downplayed the episode saying she fired the consultant, but stands by her job plan.
Gov. Walker, 46, son of a preacher who left college without finishing, has a regular-guy ability to win over an audience, and is a polished politician rallying the troops.
Ms. Burke, 55, boasts of Georgetown, Harvard Business School and private sector experience at the Trek Bicycle Company founded by her father, as her resume.
These are the candidates, and as envisioned by Italian political scientist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto, this gubernatorial election reflects an ideal type of political scenario known as the circulation of elite.
The election for the Governor and Attorney General of Wisconsin will be held on November 4.