Republicans can now add sore losers to the list of usual descriptors for members of the party, along with liars, cheats, and racists. After lying to the public about voter fraud by Democrats, it turns out the Republicans were busy suppressing votes in Georgia and forging absentee ballots in North Carolina.
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In Wisconsin, despite attempts by state GOP officials to suppress voters through a draconian voter ID law, Republican Governor Scott Walker — a man who has been responsible for union busting, gerrymandering, undermining education, and a host of other notoriously detrimental Republican policies — was defeated in the November elections as the entire state executive branch was taken over by victorious Democrats.
That did not sit well with the Republicans in the state legislature who managed to maintain a majority in both chambers and now face working with a governor who won’t rubber stamp their attempts to undermine progressive government with policies dictated by corporate oligarchs.
So, in a petulant, “I’m-taking-the-football-home-if-you’re-not-going-to-play-by-my-rules” move, Republicans decided to use the lame-duck legislative session to pass a series of bills that would strip the incoming Democratic administration of its powers to make changes to any policies enacted during the Scott Walker era, knowing that with Walker still in office until Governor-elect Tony Evers is sworn in next month that he will happily sign any bill that will gut the man who beat him of the ability to undo his damage to the state.
With the legislature scheduled to take up the vengeful legislation today, progressive political groups have called for emergency rallies to protest the Republicans’ “shocking and naked power grab” according to Common Dreams.
“This is straight out of a banana republic and should be a huge national story,” Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman said of the GOP plan, which would strip Evers’ power to approve decisions by the newly elected Democratic state attorney general and hand this authority over to the Republican legislature.
Among the organizers of the protests was MoveOn.org Washington director Ben Wikler who called for Wisconsin voters to rally at the state capitol to denounce the GOP attempts at thwarting their will as determined by the election results.
Winker’s Twitter feed is a wonderful resource for a deep dive into the details and implications of the Republican legislature’s cynical undermining of the democratic process. Suffice it to say that the legislation that the GOP is trying to ram through would have national implications as it locks in Wisconsin voter ID laws and early voting restrictions that contribute to voter suppression in the state and bars the governor from taking action against Republican efforts to undermine vital social programs, like their imposition of work requirements on Medicaid recipients.
Wikler also pointed out the role that Wisconsin plays in the spread of corporately-funded Republican attempts at pushing their agenda onto the national stage.
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.
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) December 1, 2018
The response from Wisconsinites who were livid over the Republican scheme, referred to on Twitter with the hashtag #WisconsinPowerGrab, has been encouraging. Randy Bryce, the Democratic candidate who unsuccessfully ran for House Majority Leader Paul Ryan’s seat in Congress, posted this update from the state capitol this afternoon that indicated a strong turnout of opponents to the anti-democratic treachery of the Republican legislators
#WisconsinPowerGrab has been delayed.
Two overflow rooms are filled to capacity.
People are very upset.
— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) December 3, 2018
Whether the demonstrated opposition to the plan will stop the GOP from executing their dastardly intentions remains to be seen, but their actions to date will do nothing to repair the fractured reputation of the party as the welcoming home for frauds, cheats, and liars, a reputation that was only exacerbated by the election of Donald Trump.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.