I wrote last month about how, as a result of gerrymandering, the representation of Republicans in the state and federal legislatures far exceeds what they should be entitled to by the proportion of votes they got, with 49.2% of the votes netting them 62.1% of the seats in the state legislature. I wrote that Ohio could be called the gerrymandering capital of the US but it looks like Wisconsin can give it a good run for the money.
In other Wisconsin news today, the state posted the official 2018 Assembly election results. It's a beautiful gerrymander. Dems got 190,000 more votes but Reps got 63/99 seats. Key is assuring many GOP districts get just over 50% of vote even in a bad year for the party. pic.twitter.com/WEOvpr4EUD
— Barry Burden (@bcburden) December 4, 2018
As Burden points out, the key to gerrymandering is to draw districts so that the other party’s voters are all crammed into as few districts as possible. They will win fewer seats by huge margins while your party wins more seats but by smaller margins.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, we see that in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan, where Democrats won the governorships replacing incumbent Republicans, the gerrymandered legislatures are rushing through legislation in the lame duck session to strip as many powers as they can from the governor’s office so that the new governors cannot roll back any of the measures they passed when they controlled both the legislature and the executive. They are following the pattern set in North Carolina two years ago.
A month after longtime Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker lost his re-election bid to Democrat Tony Evers, Republican lawmakers moved forward with legislation to curb his successor’s power over a key economic development agency and over state litigation, including a lawsuit over Obamacare. The measure, which will be voted on Tuesday, would also limit early voting to two weeks. Another proposal to move the date of the 2020 presidential primary, so as not to coincide with the re-election of a conservative state supreme court justice, did not advance out of committee.
And in Michigan, where Democrat Gretchen Whitmer defeated incumbent Gov. Rick Snyder, Republicans put forth proposals to give the legislature authority in legal fights and to create a commission to oversee the state’s campaign finance laws, according to the Detroit News. The moves come nearly two years after the Republican legislature in North Carolina made similar efforts, some of which are being challenged in court, to lessen the power of Democrat Roy Cooper, after he narrowly defeated GOP incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory.
Republicans know that they are currently on a downward slide. Donald Trump’s shameless demagoguery has bought them some time by firing up the racists, xenophobes, misogynists, and anti-Semites but that is a shaky foundation on which to build a long-term future for the party. So this kind of political shady work is a desperate attempt to hold back the tide.