By State Representative, Leon D. Young
There’s no other way to put it. It seems safe to say that Republicans will go to any lengths, or stoop to new lows, in order to maintain their grip on power.
Still smarting from their recent midterm defeats, which saw Democrats regain control of the governor, attorney general and the state treasurer’s positions, Republicans are striking back. In a stunning lame-duck session before the Joint Committee on Finance earlier this week, Republican lawmakers unveiled their dastardly scheme to circumvent the will of the electorate.
More specifically, Republicans advanced a list of proposals to scale back the political authority of both the incoming governor and attorney general. The measures included:
• New limits on early voting.
• A shift in the timing of the 2020 presidential primary in Wisconsin; a change calculated to help a conservative justice keep his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
• Restrictions on the new governor’s ability to shift how public benefits programs are run.
• Requires the attorney general to get legislative approval to withdraw from lawsuits; that move is designed to block Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers from allowing the incoming attorney general, Democrat Josh Kaul, to withdraw Wisconsin from a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.
• And, hampers governor-elect’s authority to set the rules that determine how state laws are carried out.
Then, literally under the cover of night, the Republican-controlled Legislature went about effectuating its devious, deceitful deed. These draconian measures now go to outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has already signaled his support.
It remains to be seen what strategy state Democrats will employ next in trying to counter this brazen Republican power grab. It’s worth noting that this strong-arm tactic by the GOP is nothing new. The Republican-controlled legislatures in both North Carolina and Minnesota have also tried to thwart the will of the people.
It is indeed ironic that Republicans are always citing rampant voter fraud as a virulent threat to our Democracy. Truth be told: The GOP’s blatant disregard for the will of the electorate is the “real menace” to our Democratic principles and way of life. Republicans must cease and desist this shameful behavior in the wake of election losses and must finally be willing to respect our vote!
As the nation remembers and mourns the passing of President George H.W. Bush, we should also remember what he had to say following his stunning defeat to Bill Clinton in 1992, which denied him a second term in office. In his concession remarks, #41 said: “The people have spoken, and we must respect the majesty of the Democratic election system.”
Regrettably, this is a “high ideal” that clearly Republicans are no longer willing to adhere to.