The similarities between Ohio's John Kasich and Wisconsin's Scott Walker are unmistakable. Both men are first-term Republican governors who rode into office on 2010's conservative wave. Both represent Midwestern swing states. Both wasted no time pushing large-scale, often controversial reforms, including stripping away collective bargaining rights for public workers and weakening organized labor's political clout. And both men stood firm in the face of statewide protests, capitol occupations, and plummeting popularity.
The two rookie governors' efforts to restrict the rights of public workers are often lumped together, seen as two fronts in the same war pitting Republicans against "Big Labor." But when it comes to the blowback against Kasich and Walker's anti-union agendas, there are key differences that help explain why unions and their allies will likely repeal Kasich's SB 5 on November 8, while their colleagues in Wisconsin have yet to notch a satisfying win since Walker's union fight began. Here are four reasons, based on dozens of interviews and on-the-ground reporting in both states, why Ohio's clash is fundamentally different from Wisconsin's.
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