Mayor Dave proves it in his Isthmus opinion piece this week.
Wisconsin is not primarily a union state. It's an independent state. Only 14% of Wisconsin workers belong to a union, down from 21% two decades ago. Moreover, the big public employee unions (WEAC and AFSCME) are not all that popular with voters. People might love their kid's teacher, but not necessarily his union. Police, fire and trade unions do better with independents, and most of those unions have been smart to stay out of the race until the Democratic field was set.
I talk to lots of people across the political spectrum, and uniformly they believe that WEAC and AFSCME blundered by requiring a pledge to veto any state budget that didn't restore bargaining rights as a condition of their support.
What if that budget was good for the state in every other way — increased support for education, reversed the cuts on the UW, strengthened environmental protections and more, but didn't restore collective bargaining? Would a responsible governor really veto that budget?
And what if the Assembly continues in Republican hands, as is likely? The Republican radicals there would like nothing better than a budget standoff that paralyzes a government they hate anyway.
It's fun watching the talking heads of the Falk campaign try to paint all of these Barrett endorsements as being subtly anti-woman, or anti-union. Does anyone in their right mind really think that Dave Cieslewicz is a sexist? Or that he isn't supportive of the union cause?
I think what the Falk camp is really bristling at is that the Democratic establishment is being far more pragmatic about this recall than the leaders of last year's highly emotional (and largely failed) protests. Democrats appear more interested in winning and less interested in indulging more tantrums from their frenemies at One Wisconsin Now.