On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” former Tennessee Democratic Rep. Harold Ford offered his theory on why last night’s Wisconsin recall election went in Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s favor: He “got a little lucky.”
Ford’s co-panelist, former Vermont Democratic Gov. Howard Dean, blamed money and “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist asked why the Democratic side is unable to match the Republican side when it comes to money, since the rules are the same for everyone.
“You know, it’s a good question, and it’s one that will play out and be answered over the coming months,” Ford replied. “I look at a little differently than the governor does. I think the money aspect is important and was important. But I think at some level, you look at what happened in Ohio when Gov. Kasich overreached on collective bargaining rights for voters. They put [it] on the ballot, it was voted down, and he lost that and repented in many ways and changed his ways.”
According to the former Memphis, Tenn. congressman, Walker has tweaked his message.
“Walker, if you read some of the local news, he pulled back some of his rhetoric,” Ford said. “He is not quite as divisive as he was a year and a half ago. You had him on the show — and some of the harsh things that he said. And I think a lot of voters were treated to a status quo position thinking, ‘If I’m working and I’m paying in, why is it that other workers, including government workers, are not?’”
And despite the six-point margin with which Walker took the win last night, Ford advised Walker not to read it as an approval of the policies he implemented early in his term.
“So, Walker shouldn’t view this as a resounding affirmation or resounding applause for what he has done,” Ford said. “But what Democrats should look at is that Americans, on the issue of fairness, many Americans believe that everyone should have to pay a bit of their fair share. So, Obama’s argument around taxes will resonate but people don’t want to pay more taxes. People understand that every working person should have to pay some share and some part to help reduce the debt.”
But Ford said there was an ingredient to Walker’s victory that was not in his hands: luck.
“Walker got a little lucky last night,” Ford continued. “A confluence of things worked in his favor. But the real message is to my party this morning and particularly to the White House as they look at their campaign message: Just organizing alone is not going to do it. It will take a stronger message and a more compelling message and a vision for where the president wants to take the country over the next four years. That’s what I draw from this last night.”