So, for those who don’t follow politics, there’s been a bit of political kerfuffle in Wisconsin the past six months or so. Having ridden a wave of anti-Democrat sentiment into office, the new Republican-dominated state government decided to use their political capital to tick off most of the state. Long story short, the Republican legislature and newly elected Republican Governor, passed legislation to rescind many of the collective bargaining rights of public employees. The reasoning underpinning their logic is that public employees have much better fringe benefits than their private sector equivalents, thus they are overcompensated. (For anyone who has worked in both the public and the private sector, this is a bit of an oversimplification of the differences in public and private sector compensation and job demands.) As near as I have been able to suss out, this was a combination of a political thank you to both the new Governor’s electoral base and Tea Party bank rollers, the Billionaire Koch brothers of Kansas.
As part of the shenanigans, both the Wisconsin Republican Party and the Wisconsin Democratic Party initiated recalls of sixteen Senators, nine of which were successful—three Democrats and six Republicans are facing recalls. Wisconsin is now in the middle of both primary and general recall elections for these nine Senators, which, for complicated reasons, are spread out over four separate Tuesdays starting last week and running through the middle of August.
As of the wee hours this morning, the Democrats held the seat in the first of the recall general elections, when Democratic Incumbent Dave Hansen prevailed, keeping his seat. It will be another month before the dust settles on the remaining eight elections. In the mean time, the Wisconsin Republican Party is using the time bought by engineering primaries and its dominance in state government to push through a decennial redistricting map that, according to critics, will—at least for now—create a far less competitive electoral map. Of course, this has been tried time and again. Reality is that people in an open society with constitutionally guaranteed freedom of travel have a tendency to move, and it often doesn’t take that long for a political gerrymander to become a free for all.
As any Natural Scientist will tell you, extremes are rarely stable and almost any system will tend toward the Middle.