Wisconsin GOP still focused on stealing power from Democratic governor

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Wisconsinites elected a Democrat to the governorship in 2018, but the GOP is making sure he can't get anything done.

It's been a year since the Democrats turned Wisconsin's governorship blue, but the GOP has continued a strategy of undermining progress and refusing to work with Gov. Tony Evers. Now, the state is locked in what the New York Times is calling "the new normal" — a place where nothing is happening.

The Republicans were likely a bit taken aback that Evers won, given that the party has been leaning hard on voter suppression in the state to ensure GOP wins. And though Evers squeaked through in spite of those efforts, the massive gerrymandering in the state ensured that both legislative houses remain under GOP control.

The Wisconsin GOP has taken full advantage of this, and both houses have prevented Evers from doing much of anything. Recently, Evers tried to hold a special session about gun control, but thanks to Robin Vos, the GOP speaker of the state Assembly, the effort lasted approximately 15 seconds, as Vos refused to take up any of Evers' bills and ended the special session. This was in spite of the fact that Wisconsin citizens are overwhelmingly in favor of stronger gun laws such as expanded background checks.

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Vos framed Evers' effort to introduce a gun law supported by over 80% of Wisconsinites as a move to "inject this hyperpartisan issue where he knows he’s not going to generate some kind of consensus."

Except it's not hyperpartisan. Expanded background checks enjoy broad bipartisan support in the state, but the GOP members of the legislature don't seem to be interested in bipartisan initiatives. In fact, Scott Fitzgerald, the GOP leader of Wisconsin's state Senate, explained that his side makes their "political points" by putting bills on Evers' desk that they know Evers won't sign, such as highly restrictive anti-choice laws.

That's not governing. That's political theater.

It was to be expected that the Wisconsin GOP would behave this way. After Evers won in 2018, they immediately moved to strip powers from him, a bill outgoing lame-duck Republican Scott Walker eagerly signed. It's the same over in Michigan, too, where Democrats won every statewide office so the GOP worked to undermine the power of the attorney general and gut progressive laws the voters had supported.

The 2018 elections showed that Republicans could no longer count on a stranglehold in the Midwest, even with gerrymandering, so these underhanded tactics are going to continue.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.