Just like North Carolina Republicans and Pat McCrory did in the December 2016 lame duck session after Democrat Roy Cooper was elected, Wisconsin Republicans and Scott Walker are stripping power from incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and giving it to the GOP legislature, and they're doing right now in Madison.
Wisconsin Republicans moved quickly Monday with a rare lame-duck session that would change the 2020 presidential primary date to benefit a conservative Supreme Court justice and weaken the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general.
The changes being sought would shift power to the GOP-controlled Legislature and allow outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to make one last major mark on the state’s political landscape after he lost re-election in November.
Republicans forged ahead despite threats of lawsuits, claims by Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and others that they were trying to invalidate results of the November election and howls of protest from hundreds of people who showed up for a public hearing.
The lame-duck maneuvering in Wisconsin is similar to what Republicans did in North Carolina two years ago and is being discussed in Michigan before a Democratic governor takes over there.
Angry opponents filled the hallways of the Wisconsin Capitol, and the hearing room, banging on the doors and chanting “Respect our votes!” and “Shame!”
The protests, coming at the end of Walker’s eight years in office, were reminiscent of tumult that came shortly after he took office in 2011 and moved to end collective bargaining powers for public sector unions.
In addition to moving the primary date, the proposals would weaken the governor’s ability to put in place rules that enact state laws and shield the state jobs agency from his control.
Other measures would weaken the attorney general’s office by allowing Republican legislative leaders to intervene in cases and hire their own attorneys. A legislative committee, rather than the attorney general, would have to sign off on withdrawing from federal lawsuits. That would stop Evers and incoming Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul from fulfilling their campaign promises to withdraw Wisconsin from a multi-state lawsuit seeking repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald downplayed concerns about what was being considered in the lame-duck session, saying “I don’t think it’s outrageous at all.”
“But listen, I’m concerned,” he said. “I think that governor-elect Evers is going to bring a liberal agenda to Wisconsin.”
Walker has been largely silent on what is being considered, voicing general support last month for moving the primary date. But Fitzgerald said Walker and his chief of staff had been deeply involved in crafting the measures.
Giving this state legislature, the most gerrymandered state legislature in America, in a state where Democrats won the majority of state assembly votes but Republicans control it 63-36, even more power is insanity bordering on an immoral destruction of representative democracy.
This is how Scott Walker chooses to go out. Only power matters to Republicans, and they will use it against the people until the people remove them. And please note, the Supreme Court passed on hearing the lawsuits against this gerrymandering, in what will probably be a permanent Republican control of the state's lawmakers.
It should be criminal, but in the era of Trump, this is who the GOP is.