Unions invested heavily in this battle in order to make an example of Walker. The goal was to show that Republican governors who attempt to roll back organizing rights will pay the ultimate political price. That effort failed, and the failure will have major repercussions for labor groups as they gear up for future fights over bargaining rights in states.Okay so far, but then he descends into the kind of writing that is why I don't normally link:
But Walker’s win also has major implications for Democratic elected officials across the country. It shows with crystal clarity that Republicans may very well be able to successfully use the new, post-Citizens United landscape to weaken the opposition in a structural way, and to eliminate major sources of support for that opposition....Thanks for the "crystal clarity," Greg. Think you could say the words "Citizens United" a few more times? Actually, there was another one that I didn't quote, a first-paragraph reference to "the true nature of the new, post-Citizens United political landscape." I wish some reliable pollster would take a reading of the level of understanding of what the Citizens United case actually stands for.
Indeed, one way of thinking about tonight’s results is that they say at least as much about Citizens United, and the ways it has empowered opponents of organized labor, as they do about the very real decline of union power. An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity found that Walker outraised his vanquished opponent Tom Barrett by nearly eight to one, and that outside groups supporting Walker vastly outspent unions, thanks to Citizens United....
[I]t seems unlikely that tonight’s outcome says anything too predictive about this fall.
But the outcome does say something important about the developing post-Citizens United landscape, and should prompt a major reckoning over how Dems, the labor and the left should deal with this new reality going forward.
I mean, here we have Sargent writing "outside groups supporting Walker vastly outspent unions, thanks to Citizens United," but Citizens United was about the free speech violation in restricting unions — along with corporations — as they spend their own money getting out whatever it is they'd like to say about politics. If unions were outspent, it wasn't because of Citizens United. It was because they had less money to spend or chose to spend less money.
Sargent is getting his column very widely distributed, because it's in the Washington Post. Would he welcome a government regulation that restricted the distribution of the Washington Post to create greater equality among opinion-writers? Or would the concept of free speech acquire some substance for him at that point?