For the conservative wing of the Republican Party, the Wisconsin recall election on Tuesday is a test of core GOP doctrine. Of course, Gov. Scott Walker's career hangs in the balance, too.
For Republicans more broadly, the recall tests whether pragmatic-minded voters in a swing state validate or repudiate the conservative mantra that the best path to prosperity starts by shrinking the size and scope of government.
Perhaps no other governor has been more radical in this cause since 2010 than Governor Walker, who took on the Republicans’ historic bogeyman – unions – and won. Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has praised Walker for reining “in the excesses that have permeated the public-sector union and government negotiations over the years.” Other Republican governors are lining up to follow his lead. Walker could be a hero and his platform a model for the party – if he isn’t recalled.
IN PICTURES: Showdown in Wisconsin
Indeed, a clear-cut win in this swing state would raise Walker's stock on the national stage, adding his name to a shortlist of Republicans who could be tapped to run for a higher office.
“He can get the base out in a way that Romney can’t,” says Arnold Shober, a government professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. “He has a name now.”
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