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Thursday, December 5, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Liberals are overreaching with impeachment, just like they did in my recall. It could cost them the 2020 election.

On Nov. 2, 2010, I won the first of three elections for governor in Wisconsin. That same day, someone registered the domain name RecallScottWalker.com. They were out to get me from day one. This is one of many striking similarities between the current impeachment process in Washington and the recall election in Wisconsin.


Since Donald J. Trump was elected president on Nov. 6, 2016, liberals have been preparing to impeach him. I remember running into protesters in Washington, D.C., the day after the inauguration. They had a massive march less than 24 hours after he took office.

In Wisconsin, I took office on Jan. 3, 2011. More than 100,000 protesters eventually occupied our state Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Al Green, Texas Democrat, is now pushing for impeachment for this fourth time. He started in 2017. Earlier this year, he said, “I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach this president, he will get reelected.” Hours after being sworn into Congress, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said, “We’re gonna impeach the motherf–—.”

The night when President Trump gave his first address to a joint session of Congress, I was on television with host Neil Cavuto. He mentioned that several members of Congress were going to boycott the speech and asked if I had ever heard of such a thing. I said, “yes!” He laughed. I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Shortly after the protests started, 14 Senate Democrats left the state to block a vote on our reforms. They fled to the neighboring state of Illinois (where they must have felt welcome as left-wing politicians who were afraid to make decisions to balance the budget and improve the economy). When I gave my budget address to the members of the state Legislature, all the Senate Democrats were gone.

[My favorite bumper sticker after we won said: “1 Walker Beats 14 Runners.]

After months of saying that an impeachment process must be bipartisan to move forward, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry on the day President Trump spoke to the United Nations in New York City. She had not even seen the transcript of the call with the president of Ukraine — yet she was announcing an inquiry.

During the protests in Wisconsin leading up to my recall election, numerous voices on the left suggested that the effort might backfire. They urged Democratic leaders to wait for the 2014 reelection and use the energy of the protests to elect a Democratic governor.

Like Mrs. Pelosi’s switch, liberal extremists took over the movement. They wanted blood and they wanted it right away.

Many of these activists lived in liberal enclaves like Madison, Wisconsin. Years ago, then-Gov. Lee Sherman Dreyfus called the capital city, “30 square miles surrounded by reality.” The only thing that had changed since then was the size of the city.

One of the few supporters I had on the staff of the University of Wisconsin — Madison told of how depressed he was on campus and around town. Everywhere he looked there were Recall Walker signs. His attitude changed when he and his wife took a drive to a town miles away. Once they crossed the county line, they began to notice “We Stand with Walker” signs everywhere along their journey. It was then that they realized we had a fighting chance.

In many ways, the same is true today. Support or disdain for the president generally matches the geography of the Election Night map in 2016. Protesters from liberal enclaves like New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco believe that everyone hates the president. All of their friends and co-workers share that sentiment (or are afraid to say otherwise) and the same is true with their friends and followers on social media.

During the protests and the recall election campaign, we saw incredibly favorable coverage for the opposition. Mr. Trump has to deal with elements of fake news each day. And it goes beyond traditional media outlets. Increasingly, people on social media tend to pick the news that associates with their point of view.

In the end, the protests and, ultimately, the recall energized our base. Surprisingly, it also turned off a majority of independent voters. They believed that the process was not fair. We won the recall election with more votes than in the original election.

I believe that the same thing can happen with Mr. Trump. Recent polls in Wisconsin and other battleground states suggest that Democrats have overplayed their hands. The public is growing increasingly frustrated with the “Do Nothing Democrats.”

As we did during the recall campaign, the president should continue to show how he is fighting for the American people — and winning. Not only will that energize Republicans, but it will also remind independents about what really is at stake in the 2020 elections.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.


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