Voting is the beating heart of democracy, the way we claim control of this people’s government. But in Wisconsin, an infection in the body politic’s bloodstream threatens our ability to be self-reliant.
Donald Trump’s repeated lies about the 2020 election over the past year have put our democracy in grave danger, but he did not do this alone. Its facilitators, from Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have refused to stand up to a dangerous man.
If they are not doing their duty, then citizens must: tell Johnson, Vos and the others to stop undermining confidence in the Wisconsin election.
Here are the facts. Donald Trump lost the popular vote in Wisconsin by about 20,600 votes; he lost nationwide by 7 million. Recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties last year confirmed he lost. The courts have repeatedly issued ludicrous challenges from Trump supporters.
A legislative audit found nothing that could call the results into question.
A conservative group has found no widespread fraud.
And an Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud across six battlefields says the former president complained found fewer than 475 votes in dispute. Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; disputed ballots make up only 0.15% of its margin in those states.
In other words, there had been no theft or investigation. Just lies.
But Republican sycophants in Wisconsin insist on appeasing Trump.
After Trump harassed him last summer for not doing enough to investigate and disseminate the former president’s lies, Vos launched a partisan review with former State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman at the bar. Gableman messed it up, choosing to talk to more conspiracy theorists than election experts. His job has been an embarrassment to the state, even to many Republicans.
In November, Johnson literally called for the resumption of the federal election by supporters of the Wisconsin Legislature. In other words, his own party. Johnson said local officials should ignore the bipartisan election commission his own party created six years ago.
The stench of racism permeates much of this, especially Republicans’ efforts to restrict access to the vote. People of color are likely to be the most affected.
But the lie also erodes confidence in the most basic act of democracy.
A large majority of Republicans – 68% nationally, according to a Marquette University law school poll in November – do not trust the 2020 election.
This growing lack of confidence opens the door to other problems in 2024. If every election a politician loses is now somehow “rigged”, then the very idea of elections is suspect.
This collapse of faith could lead to what Trump falsely claims to have happened to him: a stolen election.
Imagine if in 2024 a Democrat again wins the popular vote in Wisconsin in a close presidential election, but the Republican-dominated legislature chooses to certify an alternate list of voters to cast the 10 electoral votes. of State. It could make the chaos that followed the 2020 vote a snap.
Johnson would be happy to take the first step towards such corruption: he would take control of election monitoring – removing that work from a bipartisan commission. Similar efforts are underway in other battlefield states.
Laura Thornton, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund in the United States, has seen it all. The German Marshall Fund is a non-partisan political organization that advocates for democracy and human rights around the world.
“I have spent more than two decades living and working abroad to advance democracy and credible elections, which gives me many opportunities to see how far the autocrats will go to come to power,” he said. recently wrote Thornton about Wisconsin.
“Even so, the proposed takeover in Wisconsin is shocking in its boldness. If it happened in any of the countries where the United States provides aid, it would immediately be labeled a threat to democracy.”
We believe that the state should do everything possible to make it easier for everyone to vote. With that in mind, we have supported drop boxes and other outreach activities, especially with a deadly pandemic raging. But there is also no doubt that the conduct of elections can be improved.
The installation of cameras to monitor the drop boxes seems a reasonable idea to us. Starting the counting of the postal ballots before election night so that the final results can be learned sooner is another.
Sadly, instead of genuinely caring about improving the election, Johnson, Vos, and other members of the legislature chose to bow to Trump.
Citizens can still have the last word, but they must unite now to protest this nonsense. Now is the time, not next year, not the year after.
Now is the time to tell these so-called leaders to find their backbone and stand up to Trump.
To tell them to cut Gableman’s taxpayer funded budget of $ 676,000.
To tell them to work with Gov. Tony Evers on constructive changes that strengthen the electoral process for all Wisconsinites.
To tell them to let the Election Commission do its job.
And, perhaps most importantly, to insist that they respect the election results.
FROM AN EDITORIAL OF THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL