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Wisconsin GOP Should Not Be Asked To Pay Costs For Recall Primary Elections

July 13, 2011

Over the past six months Wisconsin has been roiled with highly partisan rhetoric and divisive politics.  There have been questionable antics in the legislature, numerous courts cases, historic number of recall elections, and promises of more to come.

But all of it, for better or worse, falls under the larger umbrella of democracy.  The process can be frothy and chaotic.  Our history books speak volumes about this combativeness over the centuries, and since human nature remains as it is, little is about to be altered anytime soon in how we proceed with our daily affairs.

We all have views on the issue behind the recalls, how the signatures were amassed, if there should have been ‘fake’ primary candidates, and how the ultimate outcomes of these races will stack up for the two parties.

While we can have a robust debate concerning all these things, there is one aspect I hope we all can agree on.

Democracy is not cheap. 

Today Mike Tate, the Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairperson, suggested that the roughly $475,000 of costs associated with the primary elections on Tuesday, which served as a run-up for the actual recall elections, should be reimbursed by the Republican Party.

I disagree.

While this blog found it preposterous that ‘fake’ Democrats would be placed on the ballot as a way to slow the recall process,  I find it really short-sighed for anyone to ask a political party to pay for, what is after all, a part of democracy.

Needless to say democracy can be messy.   But there was nothing illegal about the actions that the GOP took with these primary elections.  It sure looks and smells funny, but that is for the voters to decide in the weeks to come.  I trust the judgment calls they are about to make.

This all reminds me of those who cringe over the costs of a presidential trip, where added security and other matters can be costly to locations where our top leader lands.  But that too is the cost we pay to live in this nation where our leaders make contact with the people being served.

I know that the statement by Tate was designed for political purposes, and one has to give the party credit for doing the job they are paid to do.  But the political message  runs counter to the underpinnings of this nation, and the larger democratic umbrella that has well served us for over two centuries.

The only reply the GOP needs to send back to Mike Tate is the obvious one.

Democracy is not cheap.

2 Comments
  1. NatelyP permalink
    July 14, 2011 9:29 AM

    Technically, it is illegal in Wisconsin to run in a party primary under false pretenses, like when you’re a member of the other party. Unfortunately, the law is written in such a way that it’s unenforcible.

  2. July 14, 2011 8:33 AM

    What should be done is the state getting out of the primary business all-together. I’m neither Republican nor Democrat…so why should I pay for an election that determines who those parties want to represent them in an election?

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