The chin scratchers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are pacing the floor at night. They’re losing sleep over the parlous condition of a close friend and ally: the Democrat(ic) party.
“When will Wisconsin Democrats wake up?” laments Milw J-S editorial page editor David D. Haynes. No doubt Haynes would have added a “When, oh, when?” had he not been constrained by the limits of headline writing.
We recall no similar Old Testament lamentations from the state’s largest purveyor of news print over the condition of the Republican party at its nadir, but never mind. First Amendment, et cetera.
But the J-S news hound does have a nose; he can smell the putrefaction when the zombies lurch his way. He describes Wisconsin Democrats as “a dysfunctional, institutionally inept organization — a party in name only.”
I can do Haynes one better: Whigs in waiting. Democrats hold only 35 of 99 seats in the state Assembly and 13 of 33 in the state Senate, only 3 of the states’s 8 seats in Congress. They turned back Russ Feingold again and delivered the state to a Republican president for the first time since Reagan over Mondale 1984.
Wisconsin Dems didn’t even bother to challenge state supreme court Justice Annette Ziegler this spring, thus assuring conservatives will continue their 5-2 majority.
You want brain dead? They’re sticking with Peter Barca as minority leader! (The Nancy Pelosi of losers.) No, it can’t be that Wisconsin Democrats are out of ammunition. Can’t be that they lost the blue collar worker. Pissed off the values voter. Denigrated their guns and religion. Blamed the cops.
It’s got to be gerrymandering. What else explains the Milwaukee daily’s fixation with an arcane concept known as “the efficiency gap.” Yeah, we know, a federal court ruled 2 to 1 that the state has to redraw its legislative boundaries. It will be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court once President Trump (!) fills the Scalia seat.
Excuses, my liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances, make poor strategies.
Here is how Ann of Althouse, retired UW Law Professor, reads it: The “efficiency gap” …
… helps Democrats overcome the problem of having its voters concentrated in relatively small geographic spaces — that is, cities. It would make an equal protection problem out of a pattern of human behavior. It’s basically the same problem Democrats have with the Electoral College: Their voters aren’t spread out enough geographically. This is a terrible problem for Democrats, but I can’t believe the Supreme Court will inscribe their mathematical fix into constitutional law.
Madame Althouse notes that the U.S Supreme Court has never found any redistricting to be unconstitutional political gerrymandering.
Even Journal Sentinel reporter Craig Gilbert (“More evidence of a skewed GOP map“) acknowledges that Democrats are more concentrated geographically in urban areas, such as Milwaukee and Madison, meaning their voters are less efficiently distributed across districts statewide.
We was robbed
What great advantage did this supposed gerrymandering provide? Before redistricting (2010 election), Republicans won the State Assembly 59 to 39 (with 1 independent who voted with Republicans). The so-called gerrymandering rendered their advantage in the next election to 60-39 — putatively a pickup of one seat. The Senate was 18-15 in the election before “gerrymandering.” It remained the same in the next election. And somehow, Republican Scott Walker won statewide elections in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
It’s the maps, it’s the maps! Truth is, Wisconsin Democrats are feckless.
The necrosis extends to Democrats at the national level. Democrats are low on energy, ideas, and imagination, Politico reports.
The Democratic Party is in crisis, hollowed out at the state level, and desperate for new ideas, bold leaders and a cutting-edge plan of action against Donald Trump. The race for Democratic National Committee chair is bland and bloodless. The seven candidates are downplaying differences and offering conventional ideas they all agree on.
It could well be that the liberal party will be revivified by Trump’s poorly rolled out travel ban. Our guess here at the Policy Werkes is that Trump is making good on still another campaign promise, promises that got him elected.
Maps are a convenient crutch
Dave Cieslewicz is an agreeable debating partner on Mitch Henck’s show. The Blaska Policy Werkes once endorsed him for mayor of Madison, which assured his victory. (Ahem.)
Citizen Dave agrees with the Blaska Policy Werkes: his party is leaning on the broken crutch of “gerrymandering.”
Every failing in their messaging, strategy or approach was covered over by the whiny excuse of the evil maps. … Maybe they should stop looking for excuses and start figuring out how to win with the hand they’ve been dealt. … The party has lost its way by becoming a jumble of siloed interests based on personal identity, a place where people go to celebrate their victimhood.
Citizen Dave is wrong about one thing: Republican mapmakers did not “cram Democrats into a relative handful of deep blue ghettos in the cities.” Two Men and a Truck did that.
Blaska’s bottom line — Busting out windows, injuring cops, and wearing vagina costumes is not a way to change minds or win hearts.