Good riddance, Scott Walker: Democrat Tony Evers bested the incumbent Republican in yesterday’s race for the Wisconsin governorship. Though Walker has refused to concede, Evers’s 31,000-vote margin is just large enough to make the race ineligible for a recount under state law.
The Fight for $15, the SEIU-backed activist campaign, may have helped contribute to that margin. As I reported this week, the organization coordinated a massive canvass across Milwaukee to encourage turnout in low-income communities, mostly of color, where turnout fell in 2016 compared with earlier years. They knocked on 273,659 doors and spoke with 37,173 registered voters, focusing on encouraging voters to go to the ballot box with the salient, worker-friendly issues in mind that the Fight for $15 has become known for—higher wages, union rights, affordable health care—and that Walker outright attacked.
Walker actively made low-income people’s lives worse in Wisconsin through a wave of union-busting that inspired Republicans across the country, and by spending millions of dollars to restrict and slash public assistance for low-income people. Since Walker began his tenure, wages too remained mostly stagnant. He also refused to fully expand access to Medicaid, which would have provided health care for 70,000 Wisconsinites.
“That’s why you see cashiers angry … coming to work with frowns on their faces—because we’re not getting paid fairly,” Fight for $15 activist Wanda Lavender told me the day before the election, when describing what motivated her to help the canvassing effort. “You want to see a smile? Give us our $15 [per hour] and a union.”
Evers said he will work to raise the wage, expand Medicaid, and, though he may face an uphill battle in the Wisconsin legislature, try to alleviate the damage that Walker did to collective-bargaining rights in the state.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in his oft-used statement to describe the former governor, said “Scott Walker was a national disgrace.”
Note the past tense: Walker was a national disgrace. And now he’s out.