Democrats see a prime opportunity to finally break the GOP’s grip on Wisconsin
With an overwhelming majority on the Supreme Court, and with new legislative maps being drawn, Democrats have their sights at reversing Republicans their long-standing advantages in the state that is a battleground.
In the battleground that is Wisconsin, Democrats are having an epiphany.
Liberals are the first to gain a majority at the state Supreme Court in 15 years. The new maps are likely to reduce Republicans with a long-standing majority of the state Legislature and, if they are successful, new favorable lines for the congressional sphere might be in the pipeline. The party is able to boast a solid majority on the U.S. Senate who still hasn’t got a top Republican opponent in her re-election campaign in the coming year. She also has an incumbent governor with consistently high satisfaction ratings.
As Democratic Governor. Tony Evers put it during his recent State of the State address, “Wisconsin, it’s been one heck of a year.”
In the midst of the presidential election cycle, Democrats in the critical swing state have a great chance to wrest control from the GOP that, up until a few years ago, had a firm grip over nearly every lever of the state’s government.
Despite a long tradition of Midwestern progressive movements, Wisconsin emerged as one of the central areas of the tea-party movement in 2010, after Republicans gained the governorship as well as each chamber of the Legislature.
In the course of Governor. Scott Walker’s term between 2011 and 2019which was further supported by a majority of conservatives on the state’s highest court -the GOP trifecta redesigned the state as a model for national example of conservative policy, which included significant anti-union measures, concealed carry legislation, abortion restrictions and voter ID laws.
Republicans also used this power to alter maps that consolidated their massive majority in the Legislature even though there was an equally divided electorate of the state. This imbalance persists to resonate, throughout the years, even when Evers was defeated by Walker in the 2018 election, despite numerous GOP attempts to stop his power.
However, with an enlightened the state Supreme Court now in hand and a growing political momentum to their advantage, Democrats have their sights to finally reverse Republicans the deeply entrenched advantages.
“This opportunity to have fair maps is going to change a lot of things,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. spoke about in an interview.
Walker admitted in an interview that the new plans and the courts could aid Democrats “wipe out” his legacy of conservative policiesthe result he said could have to be “devastating”– but claimed it wasn’t because his state was shifting towards the left.
Instead, he claimed that the enthusiasm that was felt by the state Democrats and also during the state Supreme Court race last year the reason for this is “because of Donald Trump,” the frontrunner of the 2024 Republican Presidential nomination.
“He turns people out on the left,” Walker said. Walker in reference to both voters and donors. “Trump motivates the left.”
Democrats’ turning tide:
After Trump’s unexpected victory in Wisconsin during the presidential election, Democrats (and candidates backed by Democrats) have swept 15 of the 18 statewide elections.
The most recent victory is also the most important. Following the April 2023 victory from Janet Protasiewicz, liberals on the technically non-partisan Supreme Court quickly put their new majority in action.
Then, almost immediately, they put on a challenge to the state’s Republican-friendly legislative maps and then a couple of weeks later declared the maps unconstitutional and ordered the legislature to design new maps prior to the 2024 elections.
If more maps with a strong political component are adopted, as is anticipated, a more evenly divided Legislature could be able to take away the years of conservative legislation -and reshape policy within the state over issues like Medicaid expansion as well as marijuana legalization, and paid family leave, which Republicans have resisted from moving forward.
The new maps are also likely to change Republicans closer to a supermajoritythey currently have one seat in the state Senate and is just two seats away from being able to have one within the state Assembly and, this will give them the power to change Evers the vetoes of Evers.
“While we’ve had incredible victories by narrow margins, in a lot of instances, one would think that the majority of Wisconsinites choose to vote Democrat and 50percent of Wisconsinites choose to be Republican. What is the reason we have the state Legislature which comprises two-thirds Republican in the state of 50-50?” Baldwin said. “It’s gerrymandering.”
The state’s case concerning map of the legislature was just one of a number concerning hot-button issues including the right to abortion that are expected to go before the state Supreme Court this term.
Progressives continue to make an effort to take advantage of the court’s composition The most prominent Democratic law firm has recently filed a lawsuit asking justices to examine the maps of Wisconsin’s congressional districts in preparation for elections in 2024. Republicans hold six of the eight Wisconsin U.S. House seats.
It’s highly unlikely, but not impossible that the court would decide to take the case in the coming year. However, Democrats within the State claim that the current events make evident that things are changing.
“Over and over again, in the years 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023 and beyond, Democrats beat MAGA Republicans at the state level. However, the legislative maps of Wisconsin were rigged to ensure that the GOP kept the power of the state,” Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler said in an interview. “As a result, many of our state’s policies, like the GOP’s refusal to expand Medicaid, make Wisconsin look bright red.”
“But now, because there’s a progressive Supreme Court majority, and the maps have been declared unconstitutional, we’re about to have the first unrigged election to our state Legislature in 13 years,” Wikler said.
Wisconsin Republicans have been unable to combat Democrats the recent rout.
After the Protasiewicz’s Supreme Court win, many Republicans such as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have responded with threats to remove her. Calls some made before she was sworn as a judge.
GOP lawmakers continue seeking policies to appeal to their base. They have moved forward with legislation in recent weeks to limit abortion and curtail voting rights.
Assembly Republicans approved a bill which would allow the possibility of a referendum that asks voters whether they want to ban abortions beginning at 14 weeks of pregnancyeven though it was vetoed of Evers as well as the matter being used as a political risk for the Republican party of late.
The restrictions on abortion were the reason behind the loss of conservative Dan Kelly during the State Supreme Court race to Protasiewicz in the year. In November, a Marquette University Law School poll revealed that 57 percent of voters registered in the state were against an Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, while polling by the University earlier that year found that 66% of voters believed that abortion should be legally legal in all or most instances.
The infighting also afflicted Wisconsin Republicans. Trump supporters across the state started a petition to recall Vos and cite his inability to push for attempts to impeach the state’s most senior official in elections. Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe has been the subject of conspiracy theories and threats from people who deny the validity of elections.
On a federal scale, Baldwin does not yet have a significant GOP candidate in a race Republicans have previously indicated could be a good chance to pick up the party. A businessman Eric Hovde, who ran unsuccessfully in 2012 for Senate last year, has likely to join the race in the near future following the fact that Reps. Mike Gallagher and Tom Tiffany passed on bids.
This current state of affairs has caused some to ask questions from Wisconsin Republicans about the direction the party is heading.
Walker declared that internal battles and the focus on restrictions on abortion have been affecting the state GOP He also urged the party to sharpen their message.
“Any time we’re not talking about the economy, it’s a lost opportunity,” the former governor told reporters. “They’ve got to show the discipline to do it. Don’t give them reasons to not support them.”
Brandon Scholz, a GOP strategist from Wisconsin He added that Democrats “are likely to receive redistricting, abortions and reversals from what conservative courts have did. There will be greater Democrats inside the Legislature.”
“What’s the Wisconsin GOP doing to bring back the voters they have lost?” Scholz stated. “It can’t be business as usual.”
The discontent in certain GOP groups in Wisconsin does not reach the level of dysfunction Republican parties have faced recently in other states that have been swing states. Chair of the Arizona GOP resigned last month due to allegations of bribery involving U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake. The head of the Michigan Republican Party has refused to allow a decision to remove her.
However, it is an unfavorable image for the political party in a state which will continue to be a major factor during the next presidential election.
In response to questions on how the state party planned to counter the recent series of Democratic victories across the country, Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brian Schimming said that “Democrats have failed the American people.”
“Whether it be the White House or statehouse, Republicans are committed to earning and honoring the trust of Wisconsinites with common sense policies,” Schimming declared in a statement made to NBC News.
The persistent challenges facing Biden:
Republicans in Wisconsin have also enjoyed their own success in the past few years. The 2022 elections were the most successful. the GOP changed the seat of the U.S. House seat in the western part of Wisconsin and Senator. Ron Johnson won a third term as well as the party keeping its large advantages within Wisconsin’s state Legislature.
In the coming autumn, the enthusiasm about Democrats in Wisconsin does not appear to be transferrable to President Joe Biden.
Only 42 percent of the registered Wisconsin voters surveyed said they were supportive of the work Biden was performing as president during Marquette’s November poll, whereas 57% disapproved.
The survey found that Evers approval rating stood at 53 percent (with 46% of voters saying they were not happy with the job he did as governor) While 51% of respondents were in favor of the work of the state Supreme Court was doing (with 43% disapproving).
The Wisconsin Legislature was less successful in comparison to Biden in the poll, with only 40 percent of the respondents saying they liked the work they were doing and 57% disapproving.
The Biden’s comments have caused concern within Democrats in the state as well as throughout the country. And the White House seems to have been paying attention too. In the month of March, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen trekked to the state on three separate trips in five days.
Biden stressed infrastructure on his visit, whereas Harris discussed the issue of abortion rights and Yellen exuded confidence in the economy. These are all important issues Wikler and Baldwin predicted could help Biden to win the state in November.
Wikler stated that these issues are in line with the most recent success of state Democrats -and could be an edge up and down the election this autumn.
“Democrats have a chance not just to be there to provide the victory-clinching Electoral College votes and the majority-determining U.S. Senate seat,” said the president. “They also have a chance, depending on the map lines, to make historic gains in the state Legislature and begin unrigging a system that Republicans created to ensure their total control.”