Behind G.O.P. Power Play in Midwest: Fear of Losing a Gerrymandered Advantage

New York Times Dec. 10, 2018

LANSING, Mich. — When Michigan Republicans began moving legislation last week to limit the power of newly elected Democratic officials, some liberal activists shouted “shame!” through the Capitol rotunda while others trailed legislators with boom microphones, live-streaming their interactions online to make them uncomfortable.

But if many on the left see a power grab underway in this state and a similar one in Wisconsin, Michigan’s incoming Democratic governor sees something more: political possibility.

“This gamesmanship will keep voters and activists active through the 2020 election,” said Gretchen Whitmer, who takes office on Jan. 1. Referring to Republicans, she added, “They’re thinking short-term.”

The ongoing legislative maneuvers in Michigan and Wisconsin are part of a broader war for power in the Midwest, a politically prized region for both parties — but especially for Republicans, who are trying to dilute Democratic control ahead of bigger battles. The G.O.P., which lost the House in November as well as four key governorships in the Midwest, depends on its gerrymandered districts in the region for a trove of seats in both Congress and state legislatures. Without these safe seats, they would be unlikely to attempt such last-minute tactics.

But now, with incoming Democratic governors set to have veto power over the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census, a handful of states are confronting either court challenges to the existing districts or new, more equitable rules for drawing the next decade of legislative boundaries. In Michigan, voters this year approved an independent redistricting commission, but Republican lawmakers are using the current lame duck session to try to curb the new Democratic secretary of state’s implementation of it.

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Contact Governor Walker to speak out against bills to curtail Gov. Elect Evers and AG Elect Kaul.

  CALL TO ACTION:
 
While we all are waiting to see what Governor Walker will do – Veto or sign these bills to curtail the incoming Governor and AG powers, let’s raise our voices and send a message to Madison.    Here are just some of the ways you can engage and speak your mind. Send your emails now!

Click here to send an email to Gov. Walker:
 
https://walker.wi.gov/contact/contact-form
 

Email this link to express thoughts to Gov. Walker as well.

http://bestpractices.wi.gov/Contact-Us
 
Call on Monday to voice your concerns.   Call 608-266-1212 to reach Governor Walker’s office. You may have to leave a message but you have lent your voice. Keep trying even if you get a busy signal. If the phone is ringing, let it ring until someone answers (it may take a while for them to answer).
Don’t give up! We all need to ACT NOW to raise our voices together!


Wisconsin lawmakers vote to strip power from the incoming Democratic governor, attorney general

Washington Post

Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature passed legislation early Wednesday to weaken the power of the incoming Democratic governor, a move critics and Democrats said amounted to a naked power grab that subverts the will of voters.

The legislation consolidates power in the legislature and strips it from Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, both Democrats. While Republicans lost all statewide seats in last month’s midterm elections, they retained majorities in both houses of the legislature, a result that Democrats said was achieved by gerrymandering.

Amid a throng of protesters, the legislature stayed in session all night to pass the bills, which will make it harder for Evers and Kaul to enact their proposed agendas. The state Senate approved the legislative package 17 to 16, and the Assembly passed it 56 to 27.

As a result of last month’s elections, Republicans picked up a seat in the state Senate, which they will control with a 19-to-14 majority, and lost one seat in the Assembly, where they will enjoy a 63-36 advantage.

Outgoing Gov. Scott Walker (R) has telegraphed his support for the legislation, which he has 10 days to sign. Evers, the state schools superintendent who bested Walker by more than 29,000 votes in last month’s election, has sharply criticized the efforts that he said “pushed aside” Wisconsin values so lawmakers could “usurp and cling to power.”

“Wisconsin has never seen anything like this,” Evers said in a statement released Wednesday. “Power-hungry politicians rushed through sweeping changes to our laws to expand their own power and override the will of the people of Wisconsin who asked for change on November 6th

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