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Democracy Was Saved on 4/4/23 ! And I Am Not Talking About The Orange One.

A VERY important thing happened on Tuesday April 4, 2023.

Democracy was saved !

While most people were glued to the news about the orange man with a curved string pancake mullet (or a duck tail) for a hairstyle but my thoughts and prayers and crossed fingers and toes were focused on Wisconsin !

We can thank the Wisconsin Dems for saving democracy. Huh ?

Wisconson Dems just helped elect, by a wide margin (11 points), the progressive candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court Janet Protasiewicz to a ten year term starting this coming August.

This election shifts the Wisconsin Supreme Court ideology to 4-3 in favor of progressives.

Why is this so important ?

For the past 13 years, Wisconsin Republicans have been gerrymandering and rigging the entire election system to:

  • Guarantee a permanent Republican super-majority in the state legislature that is capable of overturning any Governor veto

  • Guarantee a permanent Republican Wisconsin Congressional majority

  • Guarantee a permanent conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court

  • Destroy unionization in Wisconsin thus hurting Democrats and workers rights and the protection of wages and benefits

  • Guarantee the continued rollback of women's rights, maintaining an 1849 anti-abortion bill and pursue further restrictions on bodily autonomy, freedom and privacy.

  • Continue the culture wars, book banning and other educational re-alignment and the historical whitewashing that discriminates against anyone who is not a straight, white, Christian, non-immigrant, Republican male

  • And on and on

And their cheating was working. The 2011 Wisconsin ACT 10 anti-union bill passed by Republicans primarily affected the following areas: collective bargaining, compensation, retirement, health insurance, and sick leave of public sector employees. Since then public sector union membership has dropped dramatically along with pensions and other worker protections.

Gerrymandering jammed most democrats into a few districts and thinly spread the rest throughout Republican dominant districts which nullified their political and voting power.

All of this gave the legislature to the Republicans. For example, in the 2018 State Assembly election - Democrats won the popular vote 54-46 yet Republicans won 64% of the Assembly seats.

With this gerrymandered dominance in the State Assembly, the Republicans continued cheating by passing laws to reduce the powers of the governor immediately before Democrat Tony Evers took office after he defeated Republican gubernatorial incumbent Scott Walker. Their goal was to neuter the Democrat in the governor's office. The Republican Wisconsin Supreme Court later approved the laws reducing the powers of the governor, the gerrymandered maps in 2020, and continued to support the cheating.

Remarkably, in December 2020, one conservative joined three progressives in the Wisconsin Supreme Court to deny Trump's attempt to throw out 220,000 Democratic votes in Wisconsin that would have likely overturned the Presidential election.

So, you can see that gerrymandered districts and voter suppression results in Republicans being elected despite losing the popular vote. This subsequently allowed them to do more of the same and create a complete and suppressive power structure where they can do anything they want without political pushback. Who needs democracy and a representational government when Republicans only want power.

In 2024, it was expected that the Wisconsin Supreme Court conservative candidate, Daniel Kelly, would support overturning the Wisconsin election in favor of Trump or other Republican presidential candidates. Kelly "is a former state Supreme Court justice with connections to a plan hatched by the former president's allies to reverse the 2020 election results in Wisconsin through the use of fake electors."

Wisconsin is one of several important swing states (such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, etc) that can change the face of representational democracy in this country.

This gerrymandering and cheating power grab despite the principles of democracy is occurring elsewhere in the country. North Carolina, Michigan (now being reversed), Tennessee, Texas, etc.

Nationally, this Republican playbook results in decisions like Dobbs and, just today, the suspension of the longstanding approval of Mifepristone (part of the medication abortion regimen) by an ultra-conservative Texas Federal District judge. Remember that Texas has purposefully created a system that allows conservative litigants to "shop" for a sympathetic judge that will grant them a favorable court decision. Here is how that works. First, pick a conservative Federal District Judge, open a business in that jurisdiction (a mailbox address will do) and file the suit. Voila ! Instant conservative ruling ! Faster and more reliable than ramen noodles.

What about Virginia ?

Yes, your rights and freedoms are under attack here in Virginia by Republicans using the same playbook.

Republicans proposed quite a few voter suppression laws in the 2023 General Assembly session. They pointed to "severe voter fraud" as a rationale even though the Youngkin Attorney General's "Election Integrity Unit" admitted there is no fraud. But if you shout it out loud enough then it must be true ! Right ? Please read the article at the excellent BlueVirginia website. Luckily, the Dems controlled the Virginia Senate so these restrictive bills were defeated.

Republicans have also tried to sneak through a number of abortion restrictions and loosening of gun laws. Ellen Campbell (elected in 2023 in the Special Election in January 2023) proposed a bill to allow guns in houses of worship. Like we need more church shootings. When I questioned her campaign their rationale for the bill was to allow churches to hire armed security. What bulls**t. If that was truly the purpose of the bill then they should have written it narrowly for that purpose. A big fat lie and that was the first bill she ever introduced.

FYI, Ellen Campbell is running for re-election in House of Delegates District 26 against our Democratic Candidate Randall Wolf. Yes, Staunton is in District 36.

So what about the future ? Well, the future is here.

As you know, there have been a significant number of legislator retirements this year in the General Assembly in the wake of redistricting based on the 2020 national census. This year Virginia Democrats managed to use their 3 seat advantage in the Virginia Senate to defeat these bills that would have severely restricted our rights.

November 7, 2023 - remember this date. Between now and this election day for the General Assembly we need to do everything we can to defeat them. This is the only way to continue to enjoy our freedoms and rights.

We need to maintain our Senate advantage or, better yet, gain complete control of the General Assembly to shut down the Republican efforts because, like Zombies, they never give up even though polls show that their positions are not popular or supported by the majority of Virginians. They will use EVERY method, fair and ethical or not, to gain power.

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