Editorial Recap: Wisconsin – Wausau Pilot & Review

Root Journal Times. May 11, 2022.

Editorial: The Struggle to Reshape State Government

To have enough?

Apparently, this is the case in the state legislature where lawmakers suspend their elected careers and refuse to run again.

Recent news reports said nearly 30 incumbent lawmakers were heading for the door and announced they would retire, not seek re-election, or run for another position. That’s a quarter of the 118 lawmakers up for reelection and includes 13 Republicans and 10 Democrats in the House and four Republicans and three Democrats in the Senate.

With a few more furloughs, lawmakers could match the record number of defections – 32 – and that was set in 1942 in the middle of World War II.

No doubt some voters will see this as a good thing – a chance for new blood in the Houses of Assembly and Senate and a fresh start.

Maybe, but others see it as a sad sign of the hyper-partisanship that has dominated the state Capitol for years and the bitter animosity between majority Republicans and minority Democrats for more than a decade.

Compromise has become a dirty word in Madison, if it’s even spoken.

This year’s Democratic exodus is perhaps understandable. Republicans have been successful in their electoral efforts and have gained control of the Senate and Assembly for a decade and they will likely extend this lockdown for another decade or more, letting the Democratic Party participate in state government for a bit. .

Democrats can’t be very happy with this knowledge, knowing that any legislation – except the most benign legislation they propose – is unlikely to ever get a public hearing or get out of committee and instead end up in the round file at the end of the President of the Assembly The office of Robin Vos.

This confines them to constituent service work and weak protests against Republican initiatives, an unfulfilling career for a Democrat seeking to shape public policy.

Much of the blame for that must lie with Governor Tony Evers and his ongoing feud with GOP lawmakers. It did little to prepare the ground for conciliatory legislation and compromise and opened no doors for Democratic lawmakers to advance their issues.

What’s notable this year is the high number of Republican departures — even as the GOP considers the electoral ouster of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, which would give him control not just of the Legislature, but also of the Legislative Assembly. governor’s office – giving Republicans full control of state government. And they might not even need to defeat Evers to do so; Republicans are poised to secure supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly, which would allow them to override Evers’ vetoes.

The departure of Republican lawmakers — even as they border on full state government control — is fueled in part by a GOP split between more moderate Republicans and the more right-wing Trump base, including one party still demands the overthrow of the legislature Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, which they say was stolen, and wants election laws strengthened.

One of those Republicans heading for the door is 12-year-old State Senator Kathy Bernier, a former county clerk from Chippewa, who has come under heavy criticism from her own party for defending election performance local clerks and criticized Speaker Vos for his decision to hire retired State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to investigate the election. This prompted Gableman to ask Bernier to resign.

Bernier said she was ready to quit anyway, but attacks from the GOP made her decision easier. “After receiving the slingshots and arrows from my own caucus members…they realized that there was nothing they could say or do or write any bill that would make the Happy Trumpians.”

Another 12-year-old Republican lawmaker who has hung up is Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, who decided in January that he would not seek another term. Steineke drew criticism from a faction of House Republicans when he, Vos and other GOP leaders refused to decertify Biden’s election, saying it could not be done.

“There is a segment of our citizens that is incredibly frustrated and looking for an outlet and often elected officials become an outlet for that frustration,” Steineke said.

Not even President Vos – who was dubbed the “shadow governor” only about a year ago – has been immune to attack from within his own party. While he appointed Gableman to lead an election inquiry, they have since had a public spat as Vos tried to convince Gableman to finish his job in April – but later extended his contract. Gableman recently appeared at an election reform rally on the steps of the Capitol with many Vos critics at which Vos was called a RINO (Republican in name only) by someone in the crowd. Gableman front speaker Adam Steen, who is running against Vos for his Assembly seat, said, “RINO is a nice word. I prefer the word “traitor traitor”.

This is the state of Wisconsin politics today.

Democrats may soon be mere footnotes in state government, but Republicans need to guard against the splintering and may have to adjust to their pro-Trump elements who could push the government of the state even further to the right.

It’s a fascinating dynamic that could shape the future of Wisconsin politics for a decade or more.


Kenosha News. May 9, 2022.

Editorial: Let Trump tweet if he wants

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and what it means for the social media company.

Will it become a free-for-all with lies everywhere? Will chaos and violence ensue? And the most contentious question of all: Will Musk allow former President Donald Trump to return to Twitter?

Trump said he wouldn’t return to Twitter even if Musk allowed him to. But that’s a separate question from what should happen.

A private company is allowed to make its own business decisions, that being said, Twitter was within its rights to shut down Trump’s account.

But in doing so, Twitter shut down some of the societal conversation that was unfolding. Although many disliked him, he was popular enough to be elected to the most powerful office in the country, that of President of the United States.

Shutting down Trump’s Twitter account didn’t silence him, but it did take away an important way for people to hear how he felt about things.

During Trump’s presidency, the public learned that not everything he said was true. But that’s true for many politicians as well as celebrities and anyone who grabs a microphone on Twitter or elsewhere to tell the world what they think.

You should take everything you read on social media with a grain of salt. You need to check the sources.

When there is violence or sexually explicit content, Twitter and other social media companies are right to remove it. But silencing a part of the population you disagree with is not the right thing to do. For this reason, Trump should be allowed to return to Twitter when Musk officially takes over. And his account, still closed, should be restored so that the public can more easily access the archives of his presidency. From there, Trump can decide if he wants to return to the platform.

It’s not just about Trump. This is anyone with an opinion that may go against what others deem acceptable.

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