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Electoral signs of the times — or something

Posted by Richard on May 9, 2012

I’m not sure what these things mean, but I suspect they mean something.

In the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary, Keith Judd, a convicted felon imprisoned in Texas, got 41% of the vote in his run against President Obama, who got 59%.

In the Indiana Republican senatorial primary, incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar got 39% of the vote against challenger Richard Mourdock, endorsed by Tea Party groups and the Club for Growth, who got 61%.

So a convicted felon in West Virginia managed a better showing against the sitting president than an incumbent senator in Indiana managed against a Tea Party challenger.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin’s run-up to the June 5 gubernatorial recall election, Democratic voters by a wide margin chose Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett over Kathleen Falk to challenge Gov. Scott Walker, even though Falk had the backing of the labor unions who bankrolled the recall effort and made it possible (and who tried to pressure Barrett, who lost badly to Walker in 2010, into not running).

But here’s what’s interesting: The Democratic primary was hotly contested, while Walker faced no meaningful opposition on the Republican side. Nevertheless, 626,000 Republicans turned out to vote for Walker, despite no compelling reason to do so — almost as many as voted for the four Democratic candidates (665,000). That seems like a good sign for Walker.

Make of all that what you will. Being optimistic by nature, I’m inclined to see these as signs that the American people aren’t ready to emulate France or Greece.

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