I live in this liberal area that impacts Wisconsin. We even have an impact on the nation.
I already knew the power of our vote from these four liberal wards of Madison, and I strongly suspect everyone who lives here knows the impact that we make. But it is nice to see it in writing, and let the rest of the state know.
For decades, Madison’s quirky stock-in-trade has been its strong liberalism — yet the numbers paint a starker picture than outsiders may think. Basically, any Democrat who runs for local or state office begins with between a 7,000- and 8,000-vote lead just from wards 32, 33, 34 and 35, which run down Williamson’s south side.
In 2008, Barack Obama won these four wards (PDF) with 94.7% of the vote, beating John McCain by 7,700 votes. In 2010, Dane County’s own U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold pulled 95.2% (7,052 votes) against his challenger, Ron Johnson. Ironically, the Republican who fared best on the east side in 2010 was Scott Walker. He was able to muster 5.1% of the vote, as opposed to 4.8% for Johnson.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who has lived in Madison for more than a week that the near east side is liberal. Unique, however, is the sheer number of votes its wards crank out, and how uniformly one-sided they are. If between 7,000 and 8,000 votes doesn’t seem like a lot, ask Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, who lost by roughly that amount to incumbent Justice David Prosser last April. Ask George W. Bush, who lost Wisconsin in 2000 by 5,708 votes. Without the Lake Monona shoreline, Bush would have won Wisconsin — which means the nation wouldn’t have been paralyzed by the controversy over Florida for months, as Bush would have been well past the electoral-vote threshold.