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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Lindsey Meeks. Lindsey Meeks is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on gender, political communication, and news coverage. Prior to returning to graduate school, Lindsey worked in PR and marketing in Austin, TX.

November 7, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Baldwin’s win (and maybe Sinema’s) create new definition of representative democracy

SEATTLE — Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) beat former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) last night to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate. Baldwin is the first female Senator to represent Wisconsin. And with the race still close to call, former State Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D) is still narrowly edging out Councilmember Vernon Parker…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Arizona 9th District, Kyrsten Sinema, Sexual orientation

November 6, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Akin’s loss in Missouri to McCaskill teaches other candidates a lesson about rape and rhetoric

SEATTLE — Missouri has been a real-world experiment in politics. The question: Can a candidate push the rhetorical envelope, become a pariah of their party, and still win? Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R) has taken up this charge while running against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) for Senate. Akin has caught national headlines for several controversial…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Claire McCaskill, Clayton Williams, Missouri Senate

June 18, 2012 at 6:45 AM

Tammy Baldwin: First openly gay U.S. Senator?

For well over a year, Wisconsin had a governor in the national spotlight. Come this November, the state will feature another candidate who will be a national symbol: Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat in the House of Representatives, will attempt to become the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history. 

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

U.S. House Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) could become the first woman Senator for Wisconsin, and also the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history (Photo courtesy Tammy Baldwin Facebook).

MILWAUKEE — In the midst of Gay Pride Month, the politics of sexual identity have filled local and national news. In Washington state, Referendum 74 gained enough signatures to put same-sex marriage on the ballot in November. Nationally, the Pentagon announced they would observe gay pride month for the first time.

But come November, gay-rights activists and allies may break out their pride parade floats for another round of celebration: Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat in the House of Representatives, will attempt to become the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Eric Hovde, Herb Kohl, Jeff Fitzgerald

June 14, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Who owns patriotism? On this Flag Day, looks like Republicans.

U.S. flag being readied for folding on Flag Day

U.S. flag being readied for folding on Flag Day (Photo courtesy of Flickr member Vince Alongi).

SEATTLE — Today is Flag Day. It is a day that commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag, and the reason why the Galaxy Gold-painted Space Needle is adorned with the good o’ Stars and Stripes.

The American flag, and any flag really, often symbolizes patriotism, a love of one’s country.

In 2008, there was much ado over President Barack Obama’s on-again, off-again relationship with wearing a flag pin. To him, it was just a matter of circumstance whether the pin made an appearance: “If it ends up being on another suit, I might leave it one day.” But for many, it was an indication that Obama was unpatriotic, or at the least, he was not expressing their brand of patriotism. He was, in effect, not owning his patriotism.

In political communication scholarship, there is a concept known as “political ownership.” Most ownership is about political parties “owning” certain political issues. Who owns what is based on the public’s perception of which party has had a history of attention and effective handling of problems and matters related to that issue. For instance, Republicans are seen as owning military and defense, whereas Democrats are seen as owning health care.

A notion that comes up often is who owns patriotism.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: Ann Romney, Barack Obama, Flag Day

June 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Political rock stars hit the ground in Wisconsin recall

Usually, Republicans label Democrats as celebs because of their Hollywood support base. In Wisconsin, the tables have turned, and this time, Republican Gov. Walker is the “rock star.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigns on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker (WI-R).

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigns on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker (WI-R) (Photo courtesy of Scott Walker Facebook page).

MILWAUKEE — Tom Barrett, Milwaukee mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the Wisconsin recall, has taken a page out of the Republican playbook. Republicans have repeatedly labeled President Barack Obama as a “too coolcelebrity with one too many Hollywood supporters. Flipping the script, Barrett has frequently called Republican Governor Scott Walker a “rock star.”

At the May 25 debate, Barrett ramped up the line of argument. He said the purpose for the recall was because Wisconsinites “wanted an opportunity to get a governor who would put this state first, a governor who would focus on creating jobs in this state and not traveling around this country trying to enhance his national image.”

Lately, though, it’s been the rising stars of the Republican Party traveling to Wisconsin to support Walker. And in an attempt to keep pace, Barrett now has his own political tour de force coming to town.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Bill Clinton, Governors supporting Walker, Recall Walker

May 28, 2012 at 3:30 AM

Washington unions provide support, solidarity in Wisconsin

Wisconsin seems like a world away to many in Washington, and not just in terms of mileage. But the ties between union members in the states are strong as they seek to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

An early voting rally was held outside the SEIU Local 150 offices on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee, using the iconic imagery of a statue of Dr. King himself as the epicenter. Despite a large union showing and anti-Walker undertones, the event organizers maintained that it was focused on a nonpartisan early voting effort.

MILWAUKEE — Washington and Wisconsin have a few things clearly in common. Washington has the UW, and Wisconsin has the other UW. They also share an affinity for a good local microbrew. And when I was cutting it close to making it for an interview, I was delayed by a lifting drawbridge — it almost felt like home.

And that’s the way union leaders in the two states want it: tight and connected. Especially now.

On June 5 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) faces Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett (D) in a rare recall election sparked by Walker’s move to cut collective bargaining for public union employees.

Washington unions have joined the battle.


Comments | More in National | Topics: AFL-CIO, Recall Scott Walker, SEIU

May 21, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Monday Eye Openers: NAACP supports civil marriages; Paul continues to collect delegates

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous (Photo courtesy of

NAACP Supports Civil Marriage
The board of the NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, passed a resolution on Saturday in support of civil marriages. In a public statement, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said, “Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law.”

This move comes in the wake of President Barack Obama voicing his support for same-sex marriage, and concern that such support may divide the black vote.

Obama’s endorsement has also catalyzed significant shifts in African-Americans’ view of same-sex marriage in North Carolina. After Obama’s announcement, African-American support for same-sex marriage or civil unions rose 11% in North Carolina. Such shifts, however, came too late to impact the vote on Amendment One — which passed overwhelmingly and wrote into the North Carolina constitution that the only legal domestic partnership is a marriage between one man and one woman.

Paulites Keep the Hope Alive
Ron Paul officially suspended any active campaigning in upcoming primary states last week. In his announcement Paul said, “Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future.”

Most see the cease and desist of active campaigning in new states as effectively making Mitt Romney the Republican nominee. However, many Paulites haven’t gotten the message.


Comments | More in National, State | Topics: Amendment One, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich

May 19, 2012 at 7:18 AM

Obama is many things, but First Gay President?

Newsweek cover of Barack Obama

Newsweek cover of Barack Obama

In the political arena, words and images are powerful. They can make or break campaigns and administrations. Media outlets leverage these words and images which inject them into a national conversation and historic chapter. But words and images that sell magazines are often exaggerated and should be viewed through a critical lens.

SEATTLE — By now, many Americans have seen the Newsweek cover touting that Barack Obama is the “First Gay President.” Author Andrew Sullivan has publicly stated that the title was not meant to be taken literally. But the title, and the accompanying photo, have nonetheless been much fodder for public discussion.

In case you missed the discussion, The Daily Beast has conveniently rounded it up. They noted how Obama has been called the “First Female President” because of his compassionate ways, and how this relates to Bill Clinton being called the “First Black President.”


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, First Gay President

May 14, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Monday Eye Openers: Walker wanted to “divide and conquer”; protests Romney

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Tom Barrett (D) will go toe to toe in upcoming recall election on June 5, 2012 (Photo courtesy of and

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Tom Barrett (D) will go toe to toe in upcoming recall election on June 5, 2012 (Photo courtesy of and

Walker Caught on Tape
Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is against Tom Barrett (D) — Milwaukee Mayor who handily won the Democratic primary last week — for his June 5 recall election. The recall has received heavy national attention and national funds — approximately 2/3 of Walker’s $25 million have come from outside of Wisconsin. UW Election Eye has reported on the election before and will be in Wisconsin leading up to the election.

Recently discovered video footage of Walker has him stating a “divide and conquer” strategy against unions. In the video, Walker is speaking with billionaire Diane Hendricks in January 2011, right before he proposed a bill that curtailed unions’ collective bargaining rights. Hendricks asked: “Any chance we’ll get to be a completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work — what can we do to help you?” Walker replied, “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.”

Walker has said repeatedly that he is not trying to make Wisconsin a right-to-work state, however, some have noted that his response to Hendricks suggests the beginning stages of a plan toward that end. When asked about the video, Walker has replied in Alberto Gonzales fashion, commenting, “I don’t remember the particulars of that discussion.”


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, Betty White, Divide and conquer

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