In modern times, have the democrats done any kind of power grab like the GOP are doing in WI, NC, MI

In NC, MI, WI, etc. the GOP legislature and GOP governor are working together to strip power from the executive branch since a democratic governor was elected. The goal is to make the democratic governor impotent and unable to wield power.

I heard someone mention that after Romney was elected governor in MA that the democratic legislature passed a law changing how a senator was replaced (I believe before the governor appointed one, after that they were elected, which led to Scott Walker years later).

Anyway, have the democrats done this too, or is this a one sided issue? In states with a democratic congress and governor, where a new governor was coming in did the outgoing executive and legislative branches come together to strip power from the new executive?

That should say Scott Brown, not Scott Walker. And apparently the democrats did it in 2004 out of fear Mitt Romney would appoint a republican to replace John Kerry.

The case in Massachusetts was that, in 2004 when Romney was Governor, the Democratic legislature changed the rules (over his veto) for filing a Senate vacancy. Previously the Governor was allowed to appoint a replacement until the next general election date, the new rules held the seat open and required a special election within 160 days. This was because Kerry was running for President and they didn’t want Romney filling the seat if he won. In 2009, with Ted Kennedy ailing and a Democrat in the Governor’s Mansion, the Democratic legislature tweaked the rules back to allow the Governor to appoint an interim Senator before the special election could be held.

Definitely (in my opinion) unseemly, but ultimately came back to bite them when Republican Scott Brown won the special election to replace Kennedy. One wonders if the current contretemps will have the similar repercussions down the road.

Alabama 1999


Those guys are mostly Republicans now.

Also Republicans in Wisconsin in 2011 desperately wanted to fuck over teachers immediately.

Democrats made them wait two weeks.

There was the case in California in 1994 when Willie Brown (D) retained his Speaker of the Assembly status despite the fact that the Dems had lost control to the Reps that year. In one of the biggest political scandals that year, Brown “convinced” two Republicans to vote for him.

I don’t know, suranyi… That might have been scandalous, depending on how he did the convincing, but it’s certainly not the same sort of thing as what the Wisconsin legislature is doing.

Ok, it was the only thing I could think of. It sticks out in my memory since I was in California at the time.

Thats not really the same thing, what I’m asking is has one branch of government tried to strip power from another branch (or multiple branches worked together to strip power from the incoming party)? In the states I listed, the executive & legislative branches are working together to strip power from the new executive. What you’re describing isn’t really the same thing I don’t think.

Other than the issue in MA in 2004, I’m not seeing evidence of the modern democratic party doing this

Yeah, thats my concern too. Southern whites in the Alabama state legislature were probably democrats as recently as 1999. They’re probably all republicans now, so I don’t know if that counts. Southern whites have a long, rich history of stripping rights from other people (Jim Crow), however in modern times southern whites tend to be republicans.

The modern democratic party is a coalition of white liberals, non-whites and various flavors of women (college educated and/or single). I don’t know if that coalition has worked to strip rights from other parties or other people.

THis is shady stuff, but it’s still democracy, especially since the legislatures remain Republican. At least I think they all do, I might be wrong about one of them, but I know WI and MI are still GOP. As with most elections where Democrats don’t get all they wanted, there’s a lot of portraying what happened as a huge anti-democracy coup or something. I think the word “coup” has actually been used by some in the media. It doesn’t rise to that level, and yes, similar things have been done before. Like gerrymandering, it’s a long time problem and the only solution for it is to punish those who behave badly.

One thing Trump’s Reich has done for me is make me automatically start googling when people make the “both sides do it” claim.

It will probably surprise no one who’s had to listen to conservative claims for the last two years to learn that the Alabama case is wildly, unbelievably different in scope, effect, and rationale:

As pointed out above, it would been impossible for the Democrats to have won a majority in the legislature unless they had a historically impossible turnout. They got a massively larger number of votes, and yet the GOP “won” a super-majority.

That’s a coup, and it’s definitely not democracy, no matter how much your side tries to spin it.

Or… Democrats are winning cities and getting killed in rural areas, which means you lose the legislature due to concentration. That’s still democracy.

The goal of a democracy is for each district to get the person they want. If District A goes 60-40 GOP and District B goes 90-10 Democrat, the Democrats don’t get a bonus seat because District B felt REALLY strongly that the Democrats should win.

It’s only democracy in form, in that all of these power-grabs are happening through legitimate governmental processes and institutions. It is not democratic in intent, not by a long shot.

But, again, it’s poorly executed democracy. If, statewide, one party wins the majority of the vote, but one powerful branch of government is overwhelmingly represented by the other party, then something is very, very wrong with the structures and institutions in that state. Yes, it is legal, and it is done within the democratic structure, but it is an incredibly flawed outcome that contravenes what the voters said they wanted.

I understand the idea of preventing the tyranny of the majority. It’s one of the reasons I like bi-cameral legislatures that balance power between geography and population. But tyranny of the minority is undesirable as well, and that’s precisely what we are seeing here. One party lost an election (by quite a bit), and has decided to re-shape governmental powers in a fit of pique. This is not good governance, it is not mature, sober thought, and it is not what the voters of Wisconsin want. It’s not any more complicated than that.

This argument would be a lot more persuasive if the districts were a natural feature of the landscape, rather than something explicitly engineered by the GOP to produce exactly this result. :mad: Given that it is something explicitly engineered by the GOP to produce exactly this result, and that “this result” means that that anything short of an absolutely-unheard-of drubbing (16%+ swing) means that the balance of power in the state senate will not change, this argument falls flat on its face. Do you need a “Gerrymandering 101” guide? If so, I recommend this video - it covers the absolute basics one should know before coming into this discussion. I’m surprised you need this explained to you, honestly.

I cannot remember the details, but as I recall, when the North Carolina shenanigans happened two years ago, a part of what the GOP tried to do was undo changes that Democrats had made some years previously when the opposite situation existed: they wanted to transfer power to the Governor away from the Legislature, which had an incoming (rare at the time) Republican majority.

People in power want to stay in power. That’s not a new thing. I think the thing that has changed is that the GOP right now is more desperate to stay in power, as they are truly worried they are not going to be able to have power under the changing demographics of the current times.

Yes, unseemly but for me there’s a fundamental qualitative difference between stripping powers from a sitting governor and stripping power from the office between the election and inauguration of an incoming governor.

How? By convincing a substantial majority of the population to vote them out of office? We did that, it didn’t work. So long as they can find 30+% of the population who would rather have them in power than have actual Democracy, they are untouchable.

Quite a few times

There’s really only two examples in there that are similar.