Scott Walker, the 45th Governor of Wisconsin, has announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination for President. Promising a ‘conservative, bold and decisive’ candidacy, Walker’s promotional video pledges to buck the trend of politicians compromising on their principles, and instead run on them.
Accompanied by an appropriately nauseous amount of motivational music in the background, Walker sets out his achievements and track record, and vows to make America ‘great again’ - now then, seems an appropriate time for a recap on Scott Walker’s career so far and look at what it is that he has achieved.
Walker was elected the governor of Wisconsin in 2010, having been beaten in his 2006 campaign for the same position. His supporters point to his remarkable political resilience – surviving a recall election and winning three elections in four years, in what he calls a ‘blue state’.
Whilst it is impressive that Walker survived a recall attempt, his claim that Wisconsin is a blue state might not be completely accurate. As some commentators have pointed out, Walker has been taking advantage of partisan polarization and racking up just enough votes in red counties – rather than converting undecided voters that the Republicans have something to offer them. Such tactics of course would not be possible if Wisconsin was as blue as his supporters’ claim – so where is this statement coming from?
Wisconsin has voted for the Democratic nominee in each of the last seven presidential races, and so narrowly viewed it seems blue as can be; however this might be misleading as in fact many view it as more of a swing state regardless. The republicans lost by minute margins in 2000 and 2004, and both parties in 2012 sensed that it would be a close battle for Wisconsin’s electoral-college votes.
Social issues are also important to Walker, and he has in the past been outspoken about his commitment to pro-life campaigns, including cases of rape and incest. He has also actively spoken out against Obamacare and in 2012 rejected a federal grant worth over $35 million designed to set up a health exchange in Wisconsin.
The bottom line is that despite his claims, Wisconsin is not the firmly blue state that Walker claims it is and so his political resilience may not be everything he makes out in his corny YouTube announcement video. However he did survive a recall election and manage to achieve some praiseworthy accomplishments during office – how his campaign goes is still in the balance.
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