Boots & Sabers

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0916, 10 Mar 24

Making lemonade out of lemons

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

Wisconsin’s new legislative electoral maps are heavily gerrymandered to the benefit of Democrats, but where there is change, there is opportunity.


First, let us recap how we got here. In the normal constitutional process, every 10 years the boundaries of the legislative districts are redrawn to reflect the most recent decennial census data. The maps are drawn by the Legislature and signed by the governor like any other law. The maps are then usually challenged in state and federal courts by special interest groups. In 2021-2022, Wisconsin went through the entire legal process and the courts agreed that the maps were fine. It was done.


After the leftists took control of the state Supreme Court last spring, their fellow travelers immediately sued to overturn the maps because they knew that the leftist court majority would ignore previous court rulings, the law, and the state Constitution to give them the maps they want. According to plan, the Supreme Court activists threw out the existing maps and was in the process of redrawing the maps to their liking in a complete usurpation of the other two branches of government.


Seeking to mitigate the looming court decision, the Legislature passed the version of the maps submitted by Gov. Tony Evers in a complete tactical capitulation to the Democratic governor. Although heavily gerrymandered to favor Democrats, the legislative Republicans thought that Evers’ maps were the least bad option that the court was going to impose. Backed into a political corner whereby Evers could not veto his own maps, he signed them into law. Since then, the high cockalorum of Madison has been crowing about his “fair” maps in full knowledge of how he gerrymandered them to favor Democrats. As the expression goes, however, it is what it is. The maps are what they are, and they will not change. As the state Republicans look at the landscape for November, what is to be done?


In the state Senate, the Republicans currently hold a majority of 22 of the 33 seats. Only the even-numbered districts are on the ballot this November. According to an analysis done by research fellow John Johnson of the Lubar Center of the Marquette Law School, three of even numbered districts are likely Democratic wins this year with Evers’ gerrymandered maps. It is unlikely that the Democrats will win a majority in the Senate this year, but there is a strong possibility they will in 2026 when more of the seats favor Democrats.


In the state Assembly, all 99 seats are up for election in 2024. Evers gerrymandered a double-digit Democratic lean in 42 districts versus 34 under the previous legal maps according to Johnson’s study. Overall, the maps still slightly favor Republicans, but are gerrymandered to extend the power of the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison into the otherwise Republican suburbs.


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.


0916, 10 March 2024


  1. MjM

    Side Bar: If you live in WI district 63 read this…

    Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, Robin Vos, is a board member of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF), a Chinese Communist Party-linked organization, Breitbart News exclusively learned.

    ….. and you haven’t already, go to Union Grove and sign the Vos recall petition. While they have more than enough signatures, the more the merrier. Last day. They are open today until 5pm.

  2. Jason

    >While they have more than enough signatures, the more the merrier.

    Well, someone learned from the shitshow that happened in Burlington for the Ever’s recall, where some “unknown” was able to drive off with a box of signatures, and no one ever saw them again. Nobody plays dirty than the Left.

  3. dad29

    Irony alert: Vos will be examining signatures on those petitions to determine “validity.”

    Vos NEVER demanded signature-matching audits after the Fraudlection of ’20, did he?

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