That means the Republicans retain effective control of Wisconsin's State Senate. But the presence of a single, independent-minded Republican who often votes with the Democrats means this special election will have local significance.
The nation was watching this recall with interest. Recalling two of the six Republican state senators was a clear-cut Democratic victory — even if it was more modest than some had hoped.
This was a case where the hope and the hype outstripped reality. Going into election day, polls suggested that the Democrats would win only one of the seats. That they won two is a real and solid accomplishment.
This story is not over yet, however. Next week, the Republicans will try to knock off two Democrats in another round of recall contests. The Democrats must win both to consolidate their gains.
The lesson in all of this is the power of voter turnout.
Barack Obama was elected president because of huge turnout among minorities, women, and young people. These constituencies did not vote in force in the 2010 midterms. The result? The Tea Party Congress that is now driving the economy — and the nation — over a cliff.
Voter turnout on both sides was huge in Wisconsin. But it was Obama voters turning out in large numbers that gave the Democrats the limited but welcome win they enjoyed.
Wisconsin has reminded those who despair about Republican rule that voting is the key to squeezing the Tea Party and its GOP enablers out of public life.
: The Editorial Page
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