There is a gutter war going on right now in Wisconsin, by the way. It’s not one that the Republicans there started, but darned if they’re not grimly intent on finishing it – and for anybody who might be upset at that notion, let me remind you of something: oddly enough, when you threaten a man or woman’s family, it’s rare that he or she will… just shrug that off later. The more typical response usually involves the phrase ‘put down like mad dogs.’
Of course that statement, while true, is perhaps a little melodramatic for this situation: Wisconsin state legislators have merely put out the likely new redistricting maps. Normally, it’s the federal one that would get the most ink or pixels, but the state legislative one will probably get touched upon in the media, too (for reasons that will be made clear)…
Let’s first look at the federal map. Here’s the old one:
…and here’s the new one:
As was reported last month, this new map will primarily buttress freshman Republican Sean Duffy in WI-07, mostly by sending over Democratic-voting areas over to Democrat Ron Kind in WI-03. Mind you Kind doesn’t need them, although you’d never know that from his bawling on cue like a stuck calf about this. Including some shouting about ‘bipartisanship’…
Ahem. Death. Threats.
…which would be funny if it wasn’t actually offensive in this context. This map will probably be adopted: the GOP was careful to preserve that federally-mandated racial gerrymander in WI-04; none of the existing Democrats are actually getting targeted; and the GOP controls the redistricting process. What’s that I hear? “For right now?” Yes, let’s talk about the state legislature redistricting process. Here’s where the gutter war really heats up.
Link via Ann Althouse: the short version is that the state Republican party is not only gearing up to pass a redistricting map that will have significant impact on the recall elections*; it’s also planning two pieces of legislation that will uncouple the redistricting process from having to wait on local municipalities to redraw their ward lines (read: eliminates a likely Democratic delaying tactic) and reform/fast-track the map appeal process in the state courts (read: eliminates a likely Democratic delaying tactic). The Democrats are, predictably, starting just now to scream about this – but, if one of the commenters to that particular link is correct, then the state GOP very carefully followed federal racial gerrymandering guidelines on the state legislative level, too, thus neatly eliminating the most likely avenue for a successful court challenge**. And absent a successful court challenge, the map is inevitable. More to the point, it’s inevitable in the short term; this may be all resolved before the bulk of the primary phase of the recall election process is quite finished. Which is almost certainly one reason why the GOP made sure in the first place that almost all of the races involved had primary challengers on one side or the other.
Bottom line: we have an extremely motivated state Republican party out there in Wisconsin; one with a definite sense of determination and an uncritical willingness to get on with business and not particularly care what people say about it. Then again, if threatening people’s families doesn’t work as an intimidation tactic the first time…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Republican Alberta Darling gets a more Republican district, in time for her recall election. Democrat Bob Wirch gets redistricted out of his district, in time for his recall election (the same thing happens to Democratic recall candidates Fred Clark and Nancy Nusbaum). That’s in the Senate. The Assembly is a little less dramatic, but still entertaining:
In the Assembly, 11 pairs of sitting lawmakers are drawn into the same districts, and 11 other districts are left without incumbents. In three districts, Republicans would have to run against each other; in two districts, Democrats would have to run against each other; and in six, a Republican would have to run against a Democrat – in districts that Democrats said leaned Republican.
Never do an enemy a small injury. Or threaten his or her family.
**And now you know why the GOP has never seriously challenged the VRA’s racial gerrymandering guidelines. Which are, by the way, wrong and not really in the best interests of the Republic – including the demographic groups that those guidelines are supposed to be helping. But I have no ability to change that, more’s the pity.