Thursday, April 6, 2023

Janet romps over KeLLy. Now we can reset and unrig Wisconsin

Let's get some illustrations about the 203,000-vote shellacking that Janet Protasiewicz and Wisconsin voters gave to Dan Kelly on Tuesday night.

Start with the traditional red-blue county map, with the darker shadings indicating larger margins of victory. And take a look at the Wall of Blue in the SW corner of Wisconsin.

Compare that to the map from 4 years ago, when Brian Hagedorn squeaked out a 0.5% win in the only conservative Supreme Court win out of the last 4 races.

Two things immediately should jump out at you. The first is that the 3 Fox Valley BOW Counties all went to Protasiewicz after all going for Hagedorn, which is something you will see when Dems have blowout wins in statewide elections. The second is how the counties surrounding Milwaukee are a much lighter shade of red in 2023 compared to 2019.

That second point continues a trend of major Dem gains in the Milwaukee suburbs since the age of Trump began in 2016, and has been turbocharged since the Dobbs decision triggered Wisconsin's 1849 abortion ban. This map is telling, where it compares statewide results in two races Dem-associated candidates won by double digits 4 1/2 years apart, but Janet did much better in the Milwaukee area than Tammy Baldwin, while running behind the Senator in most of the less-populated counties.

Dane County continues to be a powerhouse for Dems that GOPs cannot match. Not only did it account for around 13% of total turnout (an even higher amount than in the last 2 Supreme Court races), but it was an abolute rout, with Protasiewicz winning by more than 150,000 votes!

Kelly also got destroyed in Milwaukee County, where there used to be areas that voted Republican. Those areas seem to be shrinking with every election, and Janet ran the table in every Milwaukee County suburb, to go on top of the Dane County-level percentage that she drew in the state's largest city.

You look at those results, and I'd say GOP Dan Knodl was very lucky to squeak out his State Senate race in the 8th District by less than 2% vs Jodi Habush Sinykin. Protasiewicz appears to have won that district, and Southern Ozaukee County went blue on Tuesday. The only thing that saved Knodl was the GOP gerrymander that sent the district back into Washington County and more rural parts of Waukesha and Ozaukee.

Would Knodl really be dumb enough to try to use the illegitimate GOP 22-11 supermajority in the Senate to get Justice-elect Protasiewicz removed after his constituents voted for her? Especially with a full term in Senate District 8 on the ballot during the 2024 Presidential election? Heck, the Germantown native should want to have these maps redrawn under the new liberal majority on the Court, because the way the 8th District is currently set up and the way those burbs are moving left, it's going to fall to the Dems sooner than later.

I'll discuss the prospect of GOP Senators trying to abuse that supermajority in the near future, but in brief - they'd be complete morons to try, it likely wouldn't succeed, several current Senators would stand to lose their seats, it would guarantee more double-digit Dem wins to go on top of fair maps. Bring it on, MAGAts.

Lastly, even if the new Supreme Court is not able to get cases completed and maps changed by November 2024 (that said, there's a case that's ready to go on Day 1 in August, and there are plenty of maps to choose from after all the maps that were drawn and discussed in 2021), I wouldn't want to be GOP Congressman Derrick Van Orden today. He's rightfully a major target to be a one-and-done, as Protasiwiecz just won that district by double digits.

I don't know why there's a 4 month break between this election and the new liberal majority taking over, but let's bask in the big win from Protasiewicz for now. And know athat we have taken a big step toward reversing the wreckage of the last 12 years, and in restoring reproductive rights and overall fairness in our state. This post from Milwaukee journalist Dan Shafer summed it up perfectly on the eve of the election.

RESET is the right word. Having the majority on the Supreme Court is no guarantee of Dem success at the ballot box going forward, or of major progressive policy reform happening in the next year. But it does allow us to start over, and have a state politics that gives a CHANCE for both parties to succeed, to force legislators to have to listen out of fear of losing their jobs, and for voters to be able to get the changes they want.

That's all we have asked for over these last 12 long years.


  1. I can think of only one election in my entire life that has given me this much joy and relief—Evers beating Walker. Biden beating Trump comes next. My honest question though, is this: Even if the Supreme Court succeeds in declaring Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law unconstitutional, what does it get replaced with? Isn’t it up to the legislature to pass a new law? The gerrymandered, supermajority GOP legislature?

    That’s why, even though the “biggest issue” in this election was abortion, the most important thing that needs fixing is the gerrymandering. Because once we have fair election maps in this state, everything else falls into place.

    Minnesconsin Tom

    1. As I understand it, the abortion lawsuit includes the point that the state passed laws since then (in the ‘80s and ‘90s) that would be applied. I think that’s still limited beyond Roe v Wade, but certainly is not the ban that existed in 1849.

      But yes, fixing the gerrymandering is the key to a lot of other needed resets. Because the GOP Legislature has thought of itself as immune to public opinion (beyond big donors and MAGA trash who vote in GOP primaries), and that ends when we get fair maps.