“Class based, gendered and racialized”; Scott Walker's campaign and politics
Scott Walker, tipped by some as a frontrunner for the 2016 republican presidential candidacy, has retired from the race to the White House stating “I did the best I could”. But just what were Scott Walker’s methods when it came to shoring support from a state that is“characterized by racial segregation”?
In an article from New Political Science, the authors find evidence to show that Scott Walker’s political success may have stemmed from an ability to paint the struggle of state vs. private business in the colours of race.
Through this lens, Scott Walker’s victories as governor take a new light; was his defeat of public sector unions an “attack on black equality”? Did white voters have “less to lose” from public sector cuts? And were Governor Walker’s communications designed to strike a chord with “economically anxious whites” in the “Iron Ring” of Wisconsin’s better-off suburbs? The authors tackle these questions with graphical data and analysis.
Finally, the article concludes with a finding that is perhaps the most troubling of all: that Governor Walker’s strategic attacks on the “undeserving” and “lazy” public sector work force may have been coded messages designed to be received in “highly racialized” ways by white voters. Studying evidence from newspaper articles, opinion polls, and online discussion forums, this article makes the case that Scott Walker’s failed campaign was fought among the lines of racial division, a conclusion that may have wider implications for right-wing politics in the west.
The Whiteness of Wisconsin's Wages: Racial Geography and the Defeat of Public Sector Labor Unions in Wisconsin
Hannah Walker & Dylan Bennett
New Political Science
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