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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Topics to track this semester

Madisonians have grown accustomed to political excitement over the past couple of years. Fall 2012 promises to be just as exciting in terms of political conflict. The items listed below are hot topics to follow as the school year starts.

Presidential Election: Wisconsin has been thrust into the spotlight of the presidential election for two reasons: Wisconsin’s status as a “swing state” and Paul Ryan’s vice-presidential bid. Although Obama won Wisconsin in 2008 by almost 14 points, Wisconsin has leaned right since that historic day. Gov. Scott Walker’s recall victory - the first time a governor has faced recall and remained in office - featured a slightly larger margin of victory than his initial election in 2010. The poll numbers from Walker’s election and recall show conservative strength in Wisconsin that the Romney-Ryan ticket hope to exploit come election day. According to recent polls, Obama’s lead over Romney in Wisconsin is minuscule. Although the state only possesses 10 electoral votes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a large amount of campaigning in the state these next few months.

Senatorial Election: The U.S. senatorial race between Tammy Baldwin (D) and Tommy Thompson (R) is already escalating and is sure to be a popular news item especially around Madison. Tommy Thompson is Wisconsin’s longest serving governor and has a strong advantage in early polling; however, Thompson’s history in Wisconsin isn’t all positive. Back in 2000, Thompson chaired a committee which authored the 2000 GOP platform that supported a constitutional amendment banning abortion in all cases including those of incest and rape. Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s recent “legitimate rape” remarks have brought women’s rights into a national conversation. Abortion and birth control will feature prominently in the national campaigns and these issues will echo down into this state-wide race.

Gun Control: After three shootings received nationwide coverage this summer, gun control and concealed carry issues will definitely attract attention this fall. The three shootings offer disparaging evidence regarding the future of gun control in the United States. Concealed carry advocates will posit the Oak Creek, WI and Aurora, CO shootings as evidence for concealed carry; if one person in either situation had a gun and the presence of mind to use it, a gun owner could’ve saved multiple lives. The empire state building shooting offers contrary evidence. When police officers went to apprehend the shooter, a fire fight broke out where the police officers injured nine passer-bys while killing the shooter. The officers in this case were highly trained handgun users but still caused a large amount of collateral damage. In Wisconsin, a hunting license is enough to receive a concealed carry permit. If trained police officers still have trouble hitting their targets how can a Wisconsinite years removed from his hunter’s safety class be considered a responsible concealed carrier?

John Doe Investigation: Walker’s issues didn’t end when he survived the recall election. A John Doe investigation has been circling around Walker’s staff and his actions, specifically the time he spent as the Milwaukee county executive before he won his governorship. The investigation hasn’t created much news since last spring; however, earlier this month it was announced that the scope of the investigation might have grown to include his time as governor, not just the time he spent in Milwaukee county. Any news regarding the John Doe investigation could be damaging to Walker, and the investigations longevity suggests – but does not prove – its importance.

Party School Ranking: The University of Wisconsin - Madison fell to 13th in Princeton Review’s new rankings. Wisconsin’s plummeting party school ranking is an outrage that should inspire us all to live up to the halcyon days when Wisconsin was still ranked #1.

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