Kloppenberg by 204, with all wards reporting. Wingnuttia is flying its flags at half-staff.

With all wards counted, JoAnne Kloppenberg leads David Prosser by 204 votes, and has consequently claimed victory. There will be a recount, and of course – since in the wingnut universe no liberal ever wins an election honestly – John Fund is already screaming “Fraud!”

The election led some conservatives, including Ann Althouse, to discover that electing judges, and politicizing the judiciary, can have bad consequences. As far as I’ve seen, none of them complained when Massey Energy bought the West Virginia Supreme Court, or indeed when the Wisconsin right wing successfully purged a liberal justice in 2008 to switch the court from 4-3 liberal to 4-3 conservative. The court is so faction-ridden that a judicial discipline complaint about the conservative who displaced the former liberal justice – a little matter of lying in campaign ads – split the remaining justices 3-3.

Note to Republicans:  if you don’t like a politicized judiciary, try not appointing career partisan politicians to judgeships; Prosser used to be the Republican leader of the state legislature. Oh, yes, and you might consider not stealing Presidential elections.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

11 thoughts on “Landslide”

  1. Or when NOM spearheaded the successful campaign against three Iowa Supreme Court justices last November; or when the right in California crucified the Bird court some 30 years ago; or at any point in the decades-long right-wing jihad against any judge who rules in a way they don’t approve of.

  2. Oh, Ann Althouse. The one thing I don’t miss about Madison. Ironically, except for not being a liberal, she’s the very picture of the cocktail-partying, brie-scarfing, symphony-listening-to snooty liberal professional elite caricature that the Wisconsin GOP accused Judge Sumi of palling around with.

    Congratulations, Justice Kloppenburg. If we have to have these worse-than-useless sham-elections for judges, I’m glad it was you who won.

  3. Ok, so we had a totally politicized judicial race, with the currently leading challenger all but promising to strike down the union law, and outspending the incumbent by about 2 to 1. As close to a real referendum on the law as possible, and all eyes focused on it.

    And it was a dead heat. Hm, guess the People aren’t so against this bill as you’d like to portray them. Maybe about as many people liked it, as hated it. Certainly wasn’t anything Walker and the Republicans should view as a repudiation.

  4. According to “But no matter what happens, and no matter how sharply and evenly divided Wisconsin has proven itself to be, this is still a fairly amazing result. In February, Kloppenburg managed to get only 25 percent of the vote in a primary contested by four parties. Prosser, a former state representative and speaker of the state assembly, was considered a shoo-in. Even more remarkably, in November 2010, Republicans swept overwhelmingly into office nearly everywhere in the Midwest. But just six months later, the Tea Party tide, at least in Wisconsin, has been matched by a wave in the opposite direction.”

  5. …and let’s not forget, Walker’s successor-to-be as Milwaukee County Executive lost 60%-40%. But, uh, the winner probably spent money on the campaign and promised stuff, so it’s all good for the GOP.

  6. For the record, Brett, according to that Marxist propaganda sheet, Forbes Magazine, it was the REPUBLICANS who outspent the opposition 2-to-1. Money quote:

    “While some $1.4 million of special interest money was spent in support of the unknown challenger by the unions and other left -leaning groups, the lion’s share of the cash dedicated to the election came from Koch Brothers financed organizations and the right-wing Club For Growth on behalf of of Justice Prosser.

    It’s not every day that the right-wing uber-rich can outspend the Democrats by nearly 2-1 and find themselves in a close election. That had to get some GOP stomachs churning.”

  7. I’ve no doubt that they view losing by under 250 votes out of 1.44 million as a massive repudiation, of the sort that defunding the Democratic government employee unions can’t possibly counter…

    But, yeah, I seem to have gotten the numbers backwards.

  8. i’m with brett, i remember how after he lost the popular vote in 2000 george w. bush took great pains to act modestly and make few changes in the way things worked . . .


  9. Oh, Brett, did you happen to see the primary results? A mere two months ago he got 55% to Kloppenberg’s 25%. The other 20% went to liberal candidates, but, realistically, the remaining candidate never gets all of those votes. So: two months ago he was up between 10 and 30% (probably about 16-18% in fact). He was so far ahead that some thought no one would contribute to Kloppenberg

    So here’s a brain teaser for you: what has happened in Wisconsin in the last two months that caused a 10 to 30% shift in voter sentiment? Then you can puzzle over the Milwaukee results, and, soon, puzzle over the recalls of state senators. I suggest you blame either ACORN or the GOP candidates being insufficiently conservative. Those are always good.

  10. What happened is that last time it was a vote on him, this time it was a vote on a law enacted by the legislature. He’s more popular than the law, which has the public split right down the middle. But split right down the middle is hardly the same as repudiated.

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