There is panic in the suites of the Republican brain trust in suburban Washington DC that drives radical Republican governance throughout the nation. Tomorrow, all of their devious lies and machinations are about to be put to the test by the people of Wisconsin, one vote at a time.
Although the forecast for Tuesday is for more beautiful late-spring Wisconsin weather, in the dark caverns of their twisted minds and souls, a storm of spontaneous Democracy has them battening-down the hatches and preparing for the worst. For them -- the filthy monied interests of pollution and profiteering -- the uncontrolled masses heading to the polls to consider turning their star flunky Scott Walker out of office is something they tried to stop. Failing that, since then they have tried to twist and manipulate the process by using their apparently unlimited resources to churn the issues into unrecognizable Walker-friendly mush.
Using incredible amounts of money on fake "institutes" and media ads; the incredibly free, unlimited access to deliver their message-of-the-day on puppet talk radio; and the incredulous gullibility of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board to full effect, the powerful special interests that bought Scott Walker's services years ago have had their way with developing the "issues" and driving the debate throughout the recall process. And yet, their Boy Governor remains in a margin-of-error tie with Tom Barrett in the last major poll of the campaign. And the voters of Wisconsin will have the audacity tomorrow to take it all away from them.
It's not like they didn't try to make it harder for the Average Joe and Josephine to do just that. One of the first things on the agenda for the radical Republicans once they took over all wings of the Capitol was to engage in that ultimate exercise in voter suppression -- requiring photo ID and other hoop-jumping at the polls. This is the standard anti-democracy tool in the Republican playbook throughout the country, vote-blocking Democratic constituencies like minorities, the poor and the elderly who might have the temerity to try to affect their conditions through the ballot box. Unfortunately for the GOP in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Constitution protects the unfettered right to vote perhaps better than any state constitution in the country. At least until the issue gets up to the state Supreme Court -- currently controlled by a radical Republican majority -- the most vulnerable among us won't have to scramble to attain acceptable credentials to vote in the polling places they have frequented without hassles for years.
And it's not like they are not going to try some intimidating monkey business on election day. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is sending out assistant AGs and special agents of his Justice Department to Democratic strongholds on election day in a blatant attempt to intimidate voters. Along with hundreds of other "observers" from silk-stocking law firms like Michael Best and others, who knows what kind of tricks the Republicans have up their sleeves to make Election Day more complicated for certain voters than it should be. The Democrats will have their Election Protection Team in place throughout the state (alas, although I've enjoyed the privilege of serving on the Team in the last several election cycles, other duty calls in the Courthouse this week), and we should know by early Tuesday what the GOP has up its dirty sleeve.
The bottom line is we want everyone eligible to vote. They don't. We protect the vote. They try to suppress it. The participation of an informed and engaged electorate is the greatest threat to Republican rule -- especially the ruthless, uncompromising, divide-and-conquer variety practiced by Walker and his ilk in Madison.
As a trial lawyer, the most excruciating moments are when the trial is over, the closing arguments have been made and the jury goes into its protected space to deliberate. Second thoughts about strategy, evidence and arguments are inevitable and irrelevant as the jury conducts its deliberations in secret and on their own terms. Confidence about what it should do turns to fear of what it might. A client's fate out of our hands and in those of 12 honest-and-true jurors. So it is for the Republicans who, for the first time since Walker and the radical Republicans took the Capitol in 2011, will lose all control over what happens next. They justly fear the average Wisconsin citizen in the private space of a voting booth, his/her pen poised over the candidates names, connecting an arrow or filling in a circle, voting to take the state back.
In the end, it galls Walker's Republican overlords in Washington that they have to deal with the unwashed masses at all. That their power attains only in the consent of the governed drives them crazy. They never wanted this vote to happen and, despite their false confidence, they don't know how it's going to end. They don't welcome -- they fear the people's judgement.
Let's do everyone a favor and make their wildest nightmares come true.