Groundhog Day


Groundhog Day, 2017: Hundreds of thousands of liberal protesters march on the Capitol as Democrat Senators run away from their duties in an effort to thwart the agenda of an energetic Republican who had been sworn into office only weeks earlier.

America may be shocked at the immediate, visceral, and downright unhinged response to President Trump, but Wisconsin is feeling a sense of deja vu, as this exact scenario has already played out six years before.

Groundhog day, 2011: A blizzard grips Wisconsin as Governor Scott Walker, who had been sworn into office less than a month earlier, prepares to unveil his sweeping collective bargaining reforms.  Years of fiscal mismanagement from his liberal Democrat predecessor had left the state with a seemingly hopeless deficit, but Walker had a plan.

12 days later, on Valentine's Day, Governor Walker introduced his reform package in the State Assembly, and Wisconsin's teachers unions went apoplectic, organizing a massive demonstration at the State Capitol the following day.

In 2017, liberals rioted in the streets during President Trump's Inauguration, but a massive protest was saved for the following day, when hundreds of thousands took part in the Women's March.

The "Capitol Chaos" protests, as they became known in Wisconsin raged on for weeks, with as many as 100,000 taking part, but through it all, Walker and the Republicans in the State Legislature remained resolute; continuing government business as increasingly angry protests raged outside their offices.

President Trump, meanwhile, and his allies in the Republican Congress, have done the same--focusing on implementing his "First Hundred Days" agenda.  One item in particular--a change to the nation's visa waiver program and refugee resettlement efforts--sparked immediate protests at airports similar to those in Madison six years earlier.

With chants of "This is what democracy looks like!" and "Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!" the demonstrators quite literally echoed the anti-Walker rhetoric from six years ago.

This organized chaos, though, was the extent of the Democratic Party's power.  Thoroughly defeated at the ballot box in Wisconsin in 2010 and across America in 2016, they could do little as Republicans implemented changes that they were desperate to stop.

Knowing full well that they couldn't stop anything legislatively, these Democrats simply stopped doing their jobs.  Every single Democrat in the Wisconsin State Senate fled the state for Illinois for weeks to as to prevent a quorum and thus a vote on Walker's collective bargaining reforms.

Democrats on various U.S. Senate committees, too, have successfully prevented votes on most of President Trump's Cabinet nominees by refusing to show up for votes, forcing Republicans to change quorum rules just so they can continue to conduct the business of government.

Eventually, Wisconsin Republicans were forced to do something similar to force a vote on Walker's reforms since Democrats refused to return from Illinois.

The parallels between what happened six years ago and what is happening today are so striking that it seems as though Wisconsin is Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day," grudgingly accepting the same day repeating.

And this movie will have the same same ending in 2017 as it did in 2011.  Walker's reforms were codified in Act 10 and passed into law.  President Trump will get his Cabinet and his Supreme Court nominee approved, with or without Democrat votes.  

In Wisconsin, those protests eventually gave way to a recall effort against Governor Walker the following year.  What impact did 100,000 angry demonstrators have in that election?

None.  Walker won easily.  And then he won again in 2014.  In 2017, Republicans have the biggest advantage in the State Senate that they have had since 1971.  In the State Senate, it's their largest majority since 1957.  Walker looks poised to win a third term in 2018 rather easily, primarily because the Democrats--who seemed so strong with a 100,000-person strong mob behind them six years ago--have been thoroughly, mercilessly rejected by Wisconsin's voters.

They saw the protests.  They heard the chants.  They understood the Democrats' tactics.  And they redoubled their support for Walker and his agenda.

Today, voters see the protests.  They hear the chants.  They see violence in the streets of Berkeley and fires on the streets of Washington.  They're starting to understand the Democrats' tactics.  And they will reject them just as assuredly as Wisconsin did six years ago.

This is Groundhog Day, and the left can't seem to stop itself from repeating its mistakes.



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