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Dallet (copy)

Judge Rebecca Dallet greets supporters on the way to the podium to speak at a victory party April 3. Dallet defeated Michael Screnock for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.


An executive whose party suffers historic election losses lashes out with angry tweets. Where have we seen this before?

But this time it’s not Donald Trump, it’s Scott Walker.

In the aftermath of a historic defeat in a state Senate race in January, Gov. Walker issued a “wake up call” to his fellow Republicans. Now, after his former lawyer and hand-picked candidate for the state Supreme Court suffered a crushing defeat, Walker has lashed out with a series of angry tweets disparaging fellow Wisconsinites who happen to disagree with his brand of regressive, special-interest-driven politics.

While Walker angrily takes to Twitter, his defenders in the right-wing noise machine are furiously trying to spin away the significance of Judge Rebecca Dallet’s victory in the race for state high court.

With their post-election analysis, Scott Walker and his conservative defenders are getting it wrong.

The traditionally older, whiter spring electorate has provided a built-in advantage for conservatives in state court and other races over the years.

And the victory won by progressives came despite a $2.8 million, all-out effort by the conservative campaign machine. Over 40 percent of Dallet’s opponent’s campaign war chest came directly from the Republican Party of Wisconsin. The National Rifle Association weighed in and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce spent $1.6 million, including $1 million on an abhorrent ad violating the privacy of the victim of a childhood sexual assault.

Democrats and progressives are energized, and they realize the power they have to make change with their votes. Far from being angry, they are filled with hope that by showing up and making their voices heard at the ballot box in elections they can alter the direction of their state for the better.

Judge Dallet’s victory reinforces that optimism, and that is a big deal.

And a closer look at the progressive margin of victory in the court race shows why Gov. Walker and the GOP are so desperately afraid of elections that they went to court to try to prevent them from happening.

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Of the five counties included in the 1st Senate District, where a special election is set to occur, Dallet took 62 and 55 percent of the vote in Door and Brown counties, respectively. She won Manitowoc County and was bested by less than 300 total votes combined in Kewaunee and Calumet counties.

Columbia County, which comprises almost the entire 42nd Assembly District, where the other court-ordered special election will occur, was taken by Dallet by 12 points.

The electoral numbers in the court race also show the possibilities for statewide and state legislative races if Democrats keep up the momentum into the fall. Good, progressive candidates turning on key constituencies, like Generation X and millennials who now comprise the largest demographic voting block in the state and nation, means these voters will turn out and vote.

Gov. Walker can lash out in frustration and his right-wing enablers can try to spin away what’s happened. But the blue wave is real, and it is here.

Joanna Beilman-Dulin is the research director of One Wisconsin Now.

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