This is not how democracy works.
Republicans in Wisconsin, led by ousted Gov. Scott Walker, are undermining democracy and trying to thwart the will of Wisconsin voters with an unethical power grab in the lame-duck session.
In a show of utter contempt for the people of Wisconsin, Republicans are on the verge of passing sweeping measures restricting the powers of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.
The undemocratic legislative package passed the Senate in the wee hours of the morning over the opposition of every single Democrat, and passed the state Assembly later on Wednesday morning. It is expected to be signed into law by Walker.
“Wisconsin has never seen anything like this,” Evers said in a statement. “Power-hungry politicians rushed through sweeping changes to our laws to expand their own power and override the will of the people of Wisconsin who asked for change on November 6th.”
But even Republicans admit the bill is foiling the will of voters who chose a new direction for the state.
Republican Speaker Robin Vos said that if the bill didn’t pass, “we are going to have a very liberal governor who is going to enact policies that are in direct contrast to what many of us believe in.”
But if the majority of Wisconsinites actually agreed with Vos, they wouldn’t have kicked Walker out of office and ushered in Democrats to take over statewide offices.
Vos is not an emperor, and Walker is the furthest thing from a deity. In a democracy, the will of the people is supposed to reign supreme — yet Republicans are preparing to thwart that will in the most patronizing way possible and ram through their clearly unpopular political agenda.
The measures Walker is prepared to sign will weaken the new governor’s power over a state jobs agency until September, and place severe limits on early voting. This is a common theme among Republicans nationwide — trying to make it harder, not easier, to vote.
Wisconsin Republicans also want to make it harder for the incoming Democrats to fulfill a campaign pledge to withdraw the state from a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. If successful, the Walker-led suit would take away Obamacare’s protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, which would make health insurance completely unaffordable for many American families.
Both Evers and Kaul campaigned on withdrawing from the harmful lawsuit, and their position won over the majority of Wisconsin voters. But Republicans evidently don’t care about what voters want, and don’t care whether their constituents go bankrupt over health costs.
In the dark of night, Republicans are diligently and purposefully attacking the most foundational aspect of democracy: the will of voters.
“The first thing Scott Walker did when he walked through the door of the Capitol was to create chaos,” Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said during Senate debate over the bill. “The last thing he is doing is creating chaos.”
“If anyone is unsatisfied with the results of an election,” writes UW-Madison professor Michael Wagner, “the remedy is not to change the rules, it is to try and win the next election.”
Wagner adds that the “peaceful transfer of power in republican democracies requires that lawmakers do not change the job descriptions, between Election Day and Inauguration Day, of the elected offices their party lost.”
Unfortunately, Republicans in Wisconsin — along with those in Michigan and North Carolina — are more focused on upholding their own power than upholding the democratic principles America is built upon.
Published with permission of The American Independent.