“The people have spoken … and they must be punished.”
– former New York City Mayor Ed Koch
Ever since Governor Tony Evers won the election in 2018, some quarters on the political right have refused to accept the result. As a result, “recall Evers” has been a somewhat popular battle cry on the right in Wisconsin, especially in social media.
Some have even bought into conspiracy theories that Evers won by fraud because of the last-minute counting of the absentee ballots on Election Night. This, of course, was disproven, and no Republican politician or commentator should be taken seriously if they continue to spread such nonsense.
There has also been a burning desire for revenge after the recall elections of 2011-12. This is just unintelligent rage, an uncontrolled lust to “own the libs.” After all, wasn’t the best revenge for the recalls Walker’s easy victory in his recall election?
But, given the desire for “Recall Evers,” it’s not surprising that someone has reacted to the violence in Kenosha with an actual recall effort. This is not just ill-advised, it’s political malpractice by the Republican Party not to immediately attempt to squash it.
Support for Evers has never dropped below fifty percent. Whatever one thinks of Evers’ policies, from his mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis to his statements and lack of support for law enforcement contributing to the riots in Kenosha, the public has not yet caught up to Evers’ incompetence. Even Evers’ mask mandate has popular support.
Voters will, in time, turn their focus to Evers’ incompetence. The Kenosha News blasting the Evers Administration’s slow response to the riots is just the beginning.
However, the public is understandably a little distracted with the presidential election, the possible re-opening of schools during a pandemic, high unemployment, and did we mention the riots?
Not only is Evers too popular politically right now for a recall effort, but the logistics of a grass roots effort to recall the governor are impossible right now. Would organizers of such an effort really want to pull needed volunteers from political campaigns right now to go door-to-door seeking petition signatures in the middle of a pandemic? Does anyone have any idea how insane that sounds?
Worse, a recall effort would actually allow Evers to begin unlimited fundraising. Does anyone supporting the recall of Evers really want the governor to be able to take in unlimited campaign donations prior to the November elections and then spend them as he pleased to build the Democratic Party’s infrastructure?
Republicans should also be wary of grifters and assorted scam PACs that could spring up to supposedly support the recall effort. One need only to look at the alleged “Build the Wall” scam (supported by former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke) to see the number of Republicans who, despite all of the warnings, are willing to part with their money to make a few con artists rich.
Who will get a yacht at the McKinley Marina at the expense of gullible GOP donors?
But most important, recalling Evers should not be attempted because it’s the wrong thing to do. One of the reasons Republicans were so successful in fighting the recall elections after Act 10 is that the public correctly perceived that it was an attempt to undo the previous election. Republicans made the case that recalls should only be used in very limited circumstances to get rid of politicians who were corrupt and using the office for their benefit.
Evers may be an awful governor. He may indeed be incompetent. The lasting image of the Evers Administration will be plywood across storefront windows. But the case for recalling the governor, using the standards the GOP themselves advocated in 2011-12, has not been made.
The effort by Misty Polewczynski of Burlington is not the first effort to try to find support for recalling Evers.
Former state Rep. Don Pridemore, a flake-right candidate hoping to replace Sen. Scott Fitzgerald when he is elected to Congress, announced earlier this year that he was launching an “exploratory” effort for recalling Evers. As there is no campaign committee filed with the state, we have no way of knowing if Pridemore has collected funds or petition signatures for his effort and what he has done with them. Efforts to reach Pridemore and other recall “exploratory” participants went unanswered.
Republicans have more constructive things to do than attempt a quixotic recall campaign amid the rioting, the Fall election and the 2020 plague known as the Coronavirus.
Unfortunately, the state party was silent except to say it wasn’t involved. That’s not acceptable.
The Wisconsin GOP should immediately announce its opposition to the effort to recall Evers, and any other attempts to recall Evers. Unfortunately, this is the same Republican Party that supports putting Kanye West on the ballot as a presidential candidate and whose leaders (including President Donald Trump) cannot bring themselves to condemn the Q-Anon conspiracy theorists. Why should they take a stand for common sense now?
We can fully expect this nutty effort to recall Evers to go unchallenged by the GOP. There will be more than a few Republicans that will support it, some of them financially. What a statement on the current state of the Republican Party.