In the 2018 elections, Wisconsin voters elected a Democratic senator, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and other statewide officers. In that same election, 53 percent of the votes cast for state Assembly seats were cast for Democrats. Despite this overwhelming Democratic vote statewide, only 36 percent of the elected state Assembly representatives were Democrats. By the way, only 45 percent of the votes cast were for Republican candidates, yet they won 64 percent of the seats. How can this be?
In a recent Marquette University poll, 81 percent of Wisconsinites favored universal background checks prior to gun purchases. Similarly, 70 percent prefer expanded Medicaid coverage, and 71 percent want a nonpartisan system for drawing voting-district boundaries. Yet in Wisconsin there is legislative disinterest in solving any of these problems. In a democracy, when more than 70 percent of the citizens favor a particular policy, yet they are ignored by the elected legislature, there is a big problem. Why do we face that situation in Wisconsin?
I think a principal reason for these two incongruous situations is that the Republican-controlled legislature and Scott Walker’s office back in 2011 conspired to draw voting-district maps in which they selected their voters. That is called gerrymandering, and the consequence of that practice, regardless of which party does it, is that the voices of voters are not heard equally. As a result of what the Republicans did in 2011, some voter voices favoring Democrats are packed into a few districts, and the others are muffled by spreading them around in other districts. This practice results in minority rule – as can be seen in the survey results mentioned above.
Be at Egg Harbor’s Kress Pavilion on Nov. 13, 6:30 pm, to hear a clear and powerful description of this process as well as what we, as citizens who care for our democracy, can do about it. Matt Rothschild from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (wisdc.org) will help us better understand this critical issue. Find more information at indivisibledoorcounty.com, or contact me at [email protected].
Sister Bay, Wisconsin