Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) is sounding the alarm bells to conservatives in his state and across the country, telling them that the “blue wave” is a very real threat to the party.
Wisconsin’s spring election results from Tuesday night were decidedly liberal. Judge Rebecca Dallet, the left-of-center choice for the post of State Supreme Court, defeated her conservative counterpart Judge Michael Screnock by 11 percentage points. It's the first time a liberal candidate for that post has won an open seat since 1995.
A statewide referendum to eliminate the constitutional office of state treasurer — which would have consolidated many statewide powers into Walker’s domain — also failed, as voters decided to keep that post intact as a potential check on the governor within the executive branch.
Turnout was considerably high for a spring election as well. While a 22 percent participation rate for any election is small, Tuesday’s race saw the most voters engaged in a spring election since 2011, when protests in Madison against Walker’s controversial union-busting bill were still ongoing.
Perhaps recognizing that his own seat is in jeopardy, Walker, who is up for re-election in November, sent out a warning to his fellow Republicans.
“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI,” he said in a tweet.
Walker, who was publicly shown on video years ago describing a “divide and conquer” strategy with a Wisconsin billionaire, also tried to vilify progressives in an effort to motivate his base.
“The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred...,” he said.
Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI. The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred -- we must counter it with optimism & organization. Let’s share our positive story with voters & win in November.— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) April 4, 2018
It’s possible that Walker had recognized the blue wave was coming long before Tuesday’s results came through. The governor had previously sought to limit democracy itself in the state, refusing to call for special elections to fill vacant state legislative seats until a court order forced him to reverse course last month.
But Tuesday’s results are demonstrative of a shift in Wisconsin, and the governor cannot hide away from it any longer. More citizens are starting to move away from supporting Walker himself, and rumors of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (who represents the First Congressional District in the state) resigning could grow as it becomes clear that Wisconsinites aren’t happy with the GOP.
Whatever happens in the immediate future, Walker seems to be scared right now. His recognition of the blue wave — and his immediate fixation on trying to villainize the left — should worry Republicans in The Badger State and beyond.