Boots & Sabers

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0728, 05 Mar 24

Making lemonade out of lemons

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

While the focus of the maps has been on political lean of each district, the opportunity for Republicans — by which I mean the Republican voters and not the elected Republicans — comes in the shakeup of incumbency. According to Ballotpedia, 99% of incumbents of state politicians of either party won re-election in 2022; 97% of them won in 2020. Wisconsin does not have term limits and the power of incumbency is, by far, the greatest force in state elections.


Under Evers’ gerrymandered maps, he intentionally drew as many districts as possible to pit Republican incumbents against each other. Thirty-five incumbent Republicans are now in districts with other incumbent Republicans compared with only seven incumbent Democrats. This is Evers’ attempt to counter the power of incumbency and to encourage Republican infighting to sap their strength before a general election.


For Republican voters, this is an opportunity to inject a substantial amount of new blood, new faces, and new ideas into the legislative Republican caucuses. Our system of government was never meant to be a job bank for career politicians. The outcome of incumbency is that elected Republicans are often reflecting the views of their constituents from when they were first elected instead of their constituents’ current views. And while a few career politicians remain energetic and effective for their constituents throughout their tenures, too many Wisconsin politicians slouch into the comfortable Madison scene and begin representing Madison’s interests instead of their constituents’ interests.


With the power of incumbency disrupted, Republican voters have a chance to have a rigorous debate during the primary to ensure that the elected Republican class is representing the views of the Republican electorate. Let us have that debate on issues and values. Then, let Wisconsin’s Republicans unite in the general election to elect Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate to ensure that the other two branches of government are not left unchecked to force their Leftist ideologies and turn Wisconsin into Illinois.


0728, 05 March 2024


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