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Governor-elect Tony Evers during his first visit to Milwaukee City Hall. Photo: http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com
Governor-elect Tony Evers during his first visit to Milwaukee City Hall. Photo: http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com

The Republican mechanism to undermine democracy in Wisconsin

In the aftermath of their losses in November's midterm elections, Republicans in Wisconsin have decided to amend legislation in an apparent power grab, to…

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Common sense says that if voters elect a candidate - whichever party they may be – it’s because their policy proposals have also been chosen as the preferred option for the community.

According to Republicans, however, this is not quite so.

After losing their majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans have shown they will not leave without putting up a fight, however anti-democratic it may be.

We're talking about what happened after November 6 in Wisconsin - the state that emerged as one of the country's most politically divided.

According to the results, Republican Gov. Scott Walker will have to hand over his seat to Democrat Tony Evers in January, just as Sen. Leah Vukmir will pass hers on to Democratic winner - and the state's first openly gay senator - Tammy Baldwin.

Similarly, Josh Kaul will be the new Attorney General of the state, having defeated Republican incumbent Brad Schimel by a narrow margin.

While Democrats will take office beginning in January, "the state’s GOP-controlled legislature is passing bills to curb Evers’s power in office, potentially making it harder for Democrats to get elected in the future," Vox explained.

More than a week ago, "Republican state lawmakers unveiled a 141-page package of bills that would give Republicans power over key gubernatorial decisions," the media continues. This maneuver will also "weaken the role of the attorney general," including proposals "to limit voter turnout."

Any modification that the new leaders of the state want to make must pass through the legislature and, therefore, could be blocked unanimously by Republicans.

Proposals range from reducing early voting to two weeks, to limiting the governor's ability to change laws, and restricting the attorney general's office's ability to withdraw federal lawsuits.

The message that the Republicans are trying to send is that the legislature "is the most representative branch of the government", even when the voters have said otherwise, echoing the district manipulation that favors the Republican party in a large part of the country.

As the New York Times explained, "Republican gerrymandering in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina has pushed the limits of how much the urban voter can be devalued."

"In Wisconsin, Democratic candidates for the State Assembly won 54 percent of the vote statewide," the paper said. "But they will hold only 36 of the 99 seats. They picked up just one more seat than in the current Assembly, a result of a gerrymandered map drawn so well that it protected nearly every Republican seat in a Democratic wave election."

Between the manipulation of the electoral districts and the approval of anti-democratic measures to bypass gubernatorial power, Republicans are simply assuming that no matter who you vote for, power will always be in their hands.

Any resemblance to what happens at the presidential level is not a mere coincidence.

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