“Experience is a good teacher, it takes someone like me to know…” the opening line of Miki Howard’s classic ballad, “Love Under New Management” recently popped into my head when thinking about the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s recent ruling on redistricting. For many liberals the court’s decision signaled Christmas come early, for me, it was a tempered reaction of “and now what?”
The ebbs and flows of the redistricting conversation are exhausting to say the least. Political scientists, election experts, lay people, and legislators. Everyone and their mother have drawn a map, liked a map, disliked a map, or messed up a map within the past five years. And yet, we still don’t have a map that is equitable and meets the federal standard of care to be implemented.
In the court’s decision they specifically demand that new maps be drawn in a contiguous fashion. Justice Karofsky stated, “Because the current state legislative districts contain separate, detached territory and therefore violate the constitution’s contiguity requirements, we enjoin the Wisconsin Elections Commission from using the current legislative maps in future elections,” What I hope to see is true collaboration and for all parties involved to ensure equity in the voting process. Quite frankly, I don’t believe either party—Democrat or Republican has an incentive not to collaborate with each other. If they do, the court will then step in and draw the map itself. Just as the song says, “all the little games people tend to play, it doesn’t have a chance to grow.”
Wisconsinites deserve something better, we’ve been patient and suffered through years of political gamesmanship. Manipulation, and comeuppance. My hope is that the legislature does its due diligence to get maps that are worthwhile and inclusive for the people, honor the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and do not sacrifice Black and Latino communities. Then truly, it will be a happy day.