The Wisconsin teachers' union and the AFSCME encouraged public employees and their supporters to show up to two rallies today at the capitol in Madison, one at noon and the other at 5:00 p.m. The noon rally seemed a little sparse, and the 5:00 p.m. rally was even smaller. As you can see in this video, shot around 5:30 p.m. this evening, there couldn't have been more than hundreds of protesters outside the capitol:
There are 5 million people in the state of Wisconsin, including 300,000 public employees. At the University of Wisconsin in Madison alone there are 42,000 students. A lot of public schools had the day off for Presidents' Day, and the DNC and unions, including the Chicago teachers' union, called for workers to show up in solidarity today. That's the best they can do?
To be fair, inside the state capitol building was pretty crowded. One police officer told me that the max capacity for the capitol building is 9,000, and he estimated that there were more than 5,000 protesters inside the building. Still, 7,000 protesters in Madison is hardly Cairo in the Midwest.
If tomorrow's crowd is even smaller than today's, there may be more national journalists than local protesters left in Madison.
Update: Just in case you really, really want to be sure that the crowds were that small, here's a video from my walk around the capitol around 5:30 p.m.