Republicans aim for a lame-duck power grab in Wisconsin

The republican party in Wisconsin lost the governorship but maintained the state senate and house. So, much like in North Carolina, we’re seeing shenanigans:
The sweeping plan — to be taken up Tuesday — would remove Gov.-elect Tony Evers’ power to approve major actions by Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul and give that authority to Republican lawmakers.

That could mean the campaign promise made by Evers and Kaul to immediately withdraw Wisconsin from a federal lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act would likely be blocked.

This is a pretty long list. Perhaps the most bizarre item on the list involves a conservative state supreme court justice who is up for re-election. The state congress intends to shift the primary so that it isn’t on the same day as his election. No points for guessing why they want to that - it’s the turnout. Higher turnout almost always leads to higher democratic wins, so making people come out again for another vote makes it very likely to lower turnout. It’s also liable to cause a massive clusterfuck, as this would lead to the state having to run three statewide elections in three months, and good luck with that (this article has more details). 60/72 district clerks came out against the move; none have put forward a stance in favor.

All in all, though, what we’re looking at is a slate of bills rushed out in a weekend to strip powers from the governor and the AG (where republicans lost their reelection bids) to the state legislature (where republicans remain in power). Legal? Maybe. A good look for democracy? Ha ha, fuck no.

But yeah, this is starting to become a pattern - if republicans lose one branch of government, their immediate response seems to be to do whatever they can to hamstring that branch. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think this is how the separation of powers is supposed to work. :mad: It is a blatant power grab.

Is anything they are attempting illegal or something the courts may block?

If not, then it’s just politics.

I won’t hide my bias. Anything that prevents Evers from reversing the changes we’ve made over the past 8 years has my support. He has no mandate anyway. The election was a squeaker and Republicans even made gains in the legislature. In the face of the opposing party overwhelmingly controlling both sides of the state house I can’t imagine what, if anything, he thinks he’s going to get done in the first place. Even without the hamstringing he is destin for failure.

Inarguably this Wisconsin GOP effort, like the one in North Carolina two years ago, is a plan intended to subvert the expressed will of voters. As Eric Holder said on Twitter:


Attitudes like this are the problem. We have a party that uses underhanded measures to thwart the vote of the people and its supporters are all like “well, as long as my team does it, yippee!” What you consider to be progress under Walker are considered by others to be mistakes to be corrected. Evers has as big a mandate as Walker has had, he got the most votes. I would not be happy if Democrats did similar things and I would call them out for being sore losers if they did. We have one party that has no respect for the rule of law.

Similar crookedness is going on in Michigan, where sore loser Republicans are trying in the lame duck session to undercut the powers of the Secretary of State and Attorney General, as Democrats won both of these offices as well as the governor’s seat.

Is it illegal? If it isn’t it isn’t “cooked”.

Politics is a cut throat business. It’s not pretty or nice. I can see why you don’t like what they’re trying to do. IMHO Republicans are generally the ones who don’t know how to use power. Which is why when they have it they tend to drop the ball and not get things done.

As long as my Assembly Rep and State Senator are members of the majority I expect them to represent me. Tony Evers does not represent my interests nor the interests of the people of the district I live in.

Technically, as Attorney General Josh Kaul will be my boss. Can’t say I’m happy about that but the last two AG’s (both Republicans) admittedly did a couple of dopey things. It was only a matter of time before a Democrat got in.

Is that your moral compass? “Is it illegal?” :dubious:

That sentence shouldn’t end with the feeling of “at all costs” IMO and yet yours does. The amount of “attitude” in your whole post is off the charts.

So presumably you have multiple examples of Democrats doing the same thing when they lost a governorship?

Not on the same scale, but there was the Massachusetts legislature changing the rules on how replacement senators were chosen, after Ted Kennedy’s death.

Apparently the total vote for assembly seats went 53 - 45 (+8) to the Democrats. A solid majority. However, because of the careful drawing of district lines Republicans have 63 - 36 edge in assembly seats.

That’s a sickening perversion of democracy even if it doesn’t break any laws.

I do remember them running and hiding in another state to block legislation Governor Walker was trying to pass. Doesn’t get much sleazier or cowardice than that.

I thought your standard was if it’s not illegal it’s just politics.

For his side.

Sure, because the Wisconsin legislature was preposterously gerrymanded. Evers sure got a lot more of the vote than the legislature Republicans did.

Once you put partisan advantage over democracy, it’s time to admit you do not believe in democracy.

My point was that both sides will take extreme measures to forward or protect their agenda.

But passing restrictions in the legislature on an incoming Governor is nowhere in the same league as hiding out in a dive motel room across the border.

As President Obama said, elections have consequences. The Republicans were given control of both chambers of the state house. I am confident that when Democrats win the majority back they will return many favors. I’d be disappointed if they didn’t. Am looking forward to the show in DC that begins in January. Should be a helluva ride!

David Frum, a neo-conservative true believer, has said something similar as RickJay:

Correct, these are not in the same league. One delayed a vote on a bill for a couple weeks. The other one, combined with one of the most extreme state legislature gerrymanders in the country, will subvert the will of the voters for years to come.

Not even in the same league.


The important thing to remember is that this is not politics as usual, regardless of who may try to claim otherwise. This is an exclusively republican pattern of post-election power grabs against the will of the people. If you support it as a matter of partisan politics, well, good on you for being honest about your horribly antidemocratic beliefs. If you think it is “business as usual”, you are simply empirically wrong.

All of these bear repeating

Also, while dodging a vote by skipping the state is emphatically Not A Good Look™, it’s worth mentioning that the vote in question was a congressional redistricting which handed several additional seats to the republican party, that the vote did happen (if somewhat delayed), and that this was 15 years ago.