Wisconsin’s Republicans Went to Extremes in Gerrymandering. Now They’re Scrambling to Protect That Power.
Heavily redrawn election districts in the battleground state gave Republicans firm control of the legislature — and the leeway to move aggressively against officials and judges they perceive as threats.
The new maps have given Wisconsin Republicans the leeway to move aggressively on perceived threats to their power. The GOP-controlled Senate recently voted to fire the state’s nonpartisan elections chief, Meagan Wolfe, blaming her for pandemic-era voting rules that they claim helped Joe Biden win the state in 2020. A legal battle over Wolfe’s firing now looms.
The future of a newly elected state supreme court justice, Janet Protasiewicz, also is in doubt. Her election in April shifted the balance of the court to the left and put the Wisconsin maps in peril. Republican leaders have threatened to impeach her if she does not recuse herself from a case that seeks to invalidate the maps drawn by the GOP. They argue that she’s biased because during her campaign she told voters the maps are “rigged.”
“They are rigged, period. Coming right out and saying that. I don’t think you could sell to any reasonable person that the maps are fair,” she said at a January candidates forum.
She added: “I can’t ever tell you what I’m going to do on a particular case, but I can tell you my values, and common sense tells you that it’s wrong.”
As Trump Prosecutions Move Forward, Threats and Concerns Increase
As criminal cases proceed against the former president, heated rhetoric and anger among his supporters have authorities worried about the risk of political dissent becoming deadly.
At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, agents have reported concerns about harassment and threats being directed at their families amid intensifying anger among Trump supporters about what they consider to be the weaponization of the Justice Department. “Their children didn’t sign up for this,” a senior F.B.I. supervisor recently testified to Congress.
And the top prosecutors on the four criminal cases against Mr. Trump — two brought by the Justice Department and one each in Georgia and New York — now require round-the-clock protection.
The Wrecking-Ball Caucus: How the Far Right Brought Washington to Its Knees
Right-wing Republicans who represent a minority in their party and in Congress have succeeded in sowing mass dysfunction, spoiling for a shutdown, an impeachment and a House coup
Defying the G.O.P.’s longstanding reputation as the party of law and order, they have pledged to handcuff the F.B.I. and throttle the Justice Department. Members of the party of Ronald Reagan refused to meet with a wartime ally, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, this week when he visited the Capitol and want to eliminate assistance to his country, a democratic nation under siege from an autocratic aggressor.
And they are unbowed by guardrails that in past decades forced consensus even in the most extreme of conflicts; this is the same bloc that balked at raising the debt ceiling in the spring to avert a federal debt default.
“There is a group of Republican members who seem to feel there is no limit at all as to how you can wreck the system,” said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “There are no boundaries, no forbidden zones. They go where relatively junior members have feared to tread in the past.”
Brian Beutler/”Off Message” on Substack (inaugural post):
Welcome to Off Message
Refuge from a world gone mad
Many of my formative political memories and experiences as a political journalist date back to the late George W. Bush years, which in hindsight feels like a more innocent time. But that’s only by comparison to 2023, when social media is ubiquitous and distorting, Americans are awash in propaganda, and one of the country’s two major political parties has embraced a totalitarian kind of dishonesty, which back then it was only flirting with.
The truth is the old days weren’t so innocent. Two misbegotten wars—one completely lawless—had become quagmires, the United States had become synonymous internationally with torture and warrantless spying, and the world was on the brink of an era-defining economic calamity. But all of that coexisted with a bracing sense that most people had caught on to the malice and failures of the country’s leaders, were eager to rise against them, and confident enough in their righteousness that they were willing to air their internal differences without fear or favor. Or at least with less fear or favor than now.
To put it in more partisan terms, Democrats were tired of losing and ready to fight. Fifteen years ago, it seemed natural rather than heretical that new ideas and leaders should challenge older ones, and Democrats had more confidence to confront Republicans directly across a range of liabilities. They correctly identified a “culture of corruption” that had run rampant in the Bush years, and exposed much of it on their march back to power. They didn’t reflexively close ranks around whichever leaders felt most safe—far from it, one of the big reasons Barack Obama challenged Hillary Clinton for the presidency, and was able to win the nomination, is because Nancy Pelosi (who was then House speaker) and Harry Reid (who was then Senate majority leader) encouraged him to run. Liberals argued in a freewheeling way about the candidates they supported, without panicking that they might undermine the cause of change.
That whole spirit is gone.
Poll: Overwhelming majorities express concerns about Biden, Trump ahead of 2024 race
Trump’s lead has expanded in the GOP presidential contest, while Biden and Trump are tied in a hypothetical general election matchup.
“Yes, the numbers for Biden aren’t where he needs them to be,” said Horwitt, the Democratic pollster. “But the lens for most voters is still through Donald Trump first.”
The above is what most polling is showing (a close race). Some polling thoughts on an outlier (they themselves say so) Washington Post poll that had a big lead for trump over Biden:
It’s still too early to worry about 2024 polls. Worry about elections.
Early voting kicks off in Virginia with abortion as major issue for voters
Early voting has kicked off in Virginia with every seat of the General Assembly on the ballot this fall.
On Friday morning, it got off to a calm start at the Virginia Beach Registrar’s office.
Democrats held a small rally outside to discuss the issues they find important this year.
“Reproductive freedom is on the ballot,” said Michael Feggans, the Democratic nominee in the 97th House of Delegates district. “Support of our public schools and education is on the ballot. Making sure we’re taking care of our veterans is on the ballot.”
On Senator Robert Menendez, D-NJ and indicted on corruption charges:
Matt Robison and Daniel Cox on Trump’s polling status: