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Ben Wikler @benwikler
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BREAKING—as in breaking democracy: a truly shocking & naked power grab underway in Wisconsin. Dems won every statewide race this Nov. Now, the GOP unveiled sweeping bills to straightjacket the Gov & AG, stomp on early voting, & lock in power on state Sup Court. Votes THIS TUE. 1/
The #WIpowergrab is so awful that it's literally keeping me up at night. The plans have been rumored for weeks, but the WI GOP waited until Friday afternoon to unveil their stack of bills, plans ONE hearing on Monday, and votes on Tuesday. So opposition is needed *now.*
In Wisconsin, right now, the GOP has total control: the governorship, both chambers of the state legislature, and a majority on the Supreme Court. That's one big reason why Trump won WI in 2016—because they'd rigged the rules. Now they want to prevent Dems from unrigging them.
The WI GOP power grab has national implications. By at least one analysis, WI is THE pivotal state for the 2020 elections. @prioritiesUSA crunched the numbers & found that, if elections were held today, WI would be the lone true tossup state—& would determine the national victor.
So, what are Republicans trying to do in Wisconsin? It's a staggering list. First, they want to suppress votes. They'd block the new governor from changing WI's harsh voter ID law, & restrict early voting two weeks—slashing from 6 weeks in some places.…
The last time Republicans tried to restrict early voting, the great activist group @onewisconsinnow sued, and a federal judge found the rules unconstitutional. But that doesn't stop the Wisconsin GOP from trying again. It's just that important to them.
Second, the Wisconsin GOP wants to prevent democracy from ending 4-3 conservative control of the state Supreme Court. One far-right Justice is up for reelection on April 7 2019—which is also Super Tuesday, the presidential primary. Uh-oh. That means high turnout. So what to do?
To prevent progressives from defeating a far-right state Supreme Court justice on April 7, the WI GOP now has a bill to reduce turnout by moving the presidential primary race a month earlier, to March. One problem with this: it's technically "impossible."
The GOP plan to protect conservative control of WI's Supreme Court would mean three statewide elections in three months, which makes election administration an unrealistic nightmare, with key time periods overlapping. County clerks are up in arms against.…
Here's a list, via Dane County Clerk @samcdonell, of county clerks publicly opposing the election move. That's 60 out of 72 counties. And the other 12 aren't supporting the change. NO county election administrators are backing it. It's just an awful plan.
Third. The GOP bill would block Wisconsin's new Attorney General from fulfilling a core campaign promise: withdrawing from the GOP lawsuit to kill the Affordable Care Act & end protections for pre-existing conditions. They'd force WI to stay in the suit.…
In fact, the GOP would strip many of the attorney general's most critical powers, handing them instead to the heavily gerrymandered, Republican-controlled legislature, as @MollyBeck & @patrickdmarley report.…
The Wisconsin GOP's special session would allow legislators to “intervene in any litigation when a state law is challenged, and they would have the ability to appoint their own private attorneys — at taxpayer expense — to handle the case instead of the attorney general.”
What kind of case might the #GOPpowergrab affect? Try Gill v Whitford, the challege to Wisconsin's hideous legislative districts, which (long shot) could make extreme partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional nationwide. But not if GOP chooses the lawyers.…
Speaking of gerrymandered districts: the hard-right state Supreme Court justice the WI GOP wants to move heaven & earth to protect, Daniel Kelly, was a litigator defending the GOP's maps, amidst court challenges they diminished minority voting rights.…
More on Justice Daniel Kelly: he wrote, comparing affirmative action to slavery, "Morally and as a matter of law, they are the same."…
And Daniel Kelly wrote that same-sex marriage "will eventually rob the institution of marriage of any discernible meaning."

That's the guy the GOP wants to upend Wisconsin's electoral system—and the national primary calendar—to defend.…
So far, thread has covered the GOP plan to use a last-minute special legislative session to

1) suppress votes
2) steal Supreme Court
3) shred powers of AG.

Here's #4: they want to force the new governor to implement Scott Walker's vicious plan to wreck Medicaid in Wisconsin.
One of defeated Governor Scott Walker's parting gifts to Wisconsin was getting Trump approval to force adults on Medicaid to jump through narrow administrative hoops to prove that they're working or training for jobs—on pain of ripping away coverage.…
So-called Medicaid "work requirements" really amount to punitive red tape to create pretexts for withholding coverage from people. In the one state that has implemented them, Arkansas, they've been an abject disaster. Read this story—it'll make you scream:…
In its special session, Wisconsin's GOP aims to ram through a bill to force the new Dem governor to implement the punitive Medicaid work requirements—and to get their approval, in law, for any changes to waivers on any federal program. This is a shattering rebuke of WI's voters.
Oh, and for good measure, the WI GOP wants to block Governor Evers from being able to ban guns from the Capitol.…
I can't stop thinking about the WI GOP attempt to block the governor from seeking *any* flexibility on any federal program. It's initially targeting the terrible Medicaid rules that @Tony4WI wanted to revisit. But it goes way beyond that.…
As @TopherSpiro or @ASlavitt or, uh, anyone who has worked on federal or state policy can tell you, there's a constant process of seeking tweaks and adjustments for state implementations of federal laws. It's how the US makes federalism work. The WI GOP wants to take it hostage.
If the WI GOP has its way, *any* adjustment to make a federal program work properly in Wisconsin becomes a hostage-taking negotiation with the hostile Republican state legislature, which will seek to extract partisan concessions. Just like how the GOP operates federally. So ugly.
The same principle applies vis-a-vis ripping powers away from the Attorney General and arrogating them to the GOP legislature. Every issue becomes an opportunity for the GOP to take hostages. It's a recipe to break governance. Intentionally. It's a punch in the gut to voters.
And the way these things work in combination is chillingly cold-blooded. They gerrymander the legislature to end majority rule. They move powers from democratically elected offices to the undem legislature. They entrench by suppressing votes & protecting partisan Sup Ct justices.
Warning to our friends across the country: what happens in Wisconsin doesn't stay in Wisconsin. The GOP (and Kochs) use the state as a petri dish for terrible hard-right ideas. This effort clearly builds on the GOP power grab attempt in NC. If this works, it'll spread elsewhere.
Last-minute power-grab rule changes to override the will of voters after losing governorships is fast becoming the new normal for the GOP. It’s not just Wisconsin and North Carolina—now it’s happening in Michigan too:…
Want to stop the Wisconsin GOP power grab? HERE'S HOW TO FIGHT BACK.

🚨 This Monday, GO TO MADISON. The Joint Finance Committee hearing on the power-grab bills opens 12:30pm in room 412 East. Fill the room! Then at 5:30pm, rally outside on State St steps!…
🚨 Emergency #RespectMyVote rally to stop the Wisconsin GOP power grab: MONDAY 12/3, 5:30pm, State Street steps of the Capitol building in Madison—spread the word! Retweet, and then click over to Facebook, mark "interested," and invite everyone you know:…
📱CALL 📞 YOUR ☎️ SENATORS! Tell them to oppose the special session bills. Key targets:

Sen. Rob Cowles 608-266-0484,
Sen. Luther Olsen 608-266-0751,
Everyone else: Legislative hotline 608-266-9960, 8:15a-4:45p M-F
Don't know who represents you in the Wisconsin state legislature? Put in your address and get the names & contact info at, and then use this handy call script courtesy of @WisDems:
Another key legislator for constituents to contact: Sen. Howard Marklein from District 17 (incl Spring Green), (608) 266-0703, Every county in his district voted for Tony Evers. They weren't voting for Marklein to handcuff their pick for governor!
And—take a moment to sign this petition against the WI GOP power grab. It's a small step, but it takes no time at all, and you'll get updates on the fight.…
I'll add other tactics to this thread as they arise. And no matter where you are, you can help spread the word.

Let's be clear: the GOP has the upper hand here. But there are cracks. Several GOP senators seem uneasy with some of these ideas. Our job is to pry those cracks open.
There is no upside to not fighting. The GOP is playing, as scholars term it, "Constitutional hardball." The stakes couldn't be more real.

As Mandela Barnes put it, "This is the path of most resistance."

And that resistance must come from us.

Tony Evers would rather be governing. He'd rather be finding common ground. But as he says: "Enough is enough." It's time to take a stand. Let's do this.
Great button from the good folks at Anthology bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin.…
Want to help stop the #WIpowergrab? Help from anywhere, right now:

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