An Evers Recall is a Phenomenally Stupid Idea


A recall movement against Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is surging in the wake of his negligent handling of last week's riots in Kenosha as well as his inflammatory comments that helped to incite them, but recent history suggests that any effort to recall him would only serve to empower him.

This, of course, isn't what many conservatives want to hear, but it is a truth they need to accept.

Just eight years ago, former Governor Scott Walker became the first governor in American history to survive a recall, and doing so made him a national figure who even led early presidential primary polling before Donald Trump entered the race. Given Evers' age and obvious incompetence, he would be unlikely to see a similar ascendancy to national stardom, but a recall movement against him would almost certainly fail and backfire against the conservatives who support it.

In 2010, Walker was elected in a Tea Party-driven Republican wave with a 52.3%-46.5% win over Democrat Tom Barrett. Within three months, Democrats were storming the Wisconsin Capitol to protest his public union reforms that were eventually passed into law as "Act 10." Anger over this legislation prompted a union-driven effort to recall a number of Wisconsin State Senators and ultimately Governor Walker himself.

When Walker eventually faced a recall election against Barrett in June 2012, he increased his margin of victory to 53.1%-46.3%. He won 200,000 more votes than he did just a year and a half earlier. Clearly, hundreds of thousands of people who didn't vote in 2010 were energized in 2012 and a substantial number of them didn't necessarily support Walker the first time but were motivated because they didn't like the concept of a recall election being used over political opposition to a bill that employee unions didn't like.

Walker rode this momentum to an easy victory over Mary Burke in 2014 and used his victory speech to essentially launch his presidential bid. Because his name recognition was so strong and he was seen as something of a folk hero in conservative circles, he spent the first six months of 2015 as the conservative choice for Republican presidential nominee. While this sentiment evaporated the second Donald Trump entered the race, Walker was clearly boosted by the failed recall against him.

Walker wasn't the sole beneficiary, either. Republicans across the state have benefited from voter dissatisfaction with the Democratic recall effort. In 2016, Republicans won their biggest margin of seats in the State Assembly (60-39) since 1956. Two years later, they upped their majority to 63 seats. In the State Senate, Republicans too hold the largest majority they have in decades.

This rapid move towards the Republican Party everywhere but Madison and Milwaukee started with the 2012 recall. It energized grassroots conservatives like nothing before in recent Wisconsin political history, and this engagement hasn't really subsided.

Why give a similar gift to liberal grassroots activists? Why redirect their efforts from the political suicide that has been their support of rioters in Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Madison over the past three months?

And, more importantly, why distract conservatives from the most pressing issue now before us? Delivering Wisconsin (and thus likely the White House) to President Trump is the only battle that needs to be fought for the next two months.

Anything else is a distraction and, honestly, a badly misguided one.

Dan O'Donnell discussed this at length during Monday's show. Click on the player below to listen and click here to subscribe to "The Dan O'Donnell Show" so you don't miss a minute!