After blasting both state and national Republicans (and politicians in general) last week, I must now fire back at the state Democrats.
The Republicans recently released their plans for redistricting the state from the 2010 census, and immediately and without surprise, the Democrats cried foul and wanted the proposal thrown out. While their argument is certainly sound, from statements that it is a ploy to secure districts (it is) or that it is purely to benefit themselves (mostly true, Ron Kind becomes pretty solidly safe as well). I agree with the Democrats; the process is wrong and the results make Wisconsin look poor.
But are we honestly supposed to believe that the Democrats wouldn’t have done the same thing had they secure control over all branches? Had Barrett carried a Democratic wave in 2010, wouldn’t we be looking at a map where Paul Ryan would absorb more of Milwaukee and less suburbs? Sean Duffy, in an already contentious district, would surely have seen changes.
Most importantly, let’s not pretend that only the Republicans would’ve done this. It’s easy to do so, but it is wrong.
When folks say that this is unprecedented and the process hasn’t happened like this before, it’s true; but only because for the past fifty years Wisconsin has had a split legislature/governor during this process. I think that concerns like those of Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) being moved out of her current district should NOT have a bearing into the process. Should we protect the incumbents naturally? I don’t think so and I wouldn’t think so regardless of who it was.
I think it is especially telling that in the complete Democrat controlled state capital until November of 2010 did NOT bring forward reform measures. Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) has been a prolific tweeter on the matter but wouldn’t a skeptical public think that its odd that the multitude of Democrats purportedly supporting this did not present this before the new legislature and Governor took office? I know Hulsey wasn’t there before but a lot of others were and could have done it. Legislators look into the future and they clearly did not expect everything to be overturned in November, yet it happened, and now the Democrats are scrambling to recover.
My prediction? Governor Walker will be open to a more open process than the brothers Fitzgerald. The recalls against the GOP is pretty solidly in place and there is not much to gain or lose for those legislators but the Governor has another three years left (sorry Madison, he won’t be recalled. The numbers aren’t there) and will need Democrats for some of it at the very least. This is a very good place to begin some healing and still end up with a plan favorable to the majority party but with some willingness to work together as it will be needed at some point.
And remember: we are a purple state. Neither party rules very long here so learning the lesson of bipartisanship is something that will be learnt, one way or another.