To the editor:
Will Wisconsin’s Republicans acknowledge the election of Democrat Tony Evers as governor this time?
Will they be persuaded by the 61,000-vote increase in Evers’ winning margin compared to 2018—over 29,000 then and nearly 90,000 this year as Evers gained about 34,000 votes and the Republican candidate (Tim Michels in this case) suffered a cutback of about 27,000 votes?
In one respect, it’s unfortunate that we will deprived of the chance to see how Michels would carry out his guarantee that no Republican would ever lose again in Wisconsin if he was elected governor and how his “I don’t care who I offend” attitude would fare. “Boring wins,” Evers proclaimed.
Also intriguing was Michels’ promise to “turn Madison upside down” if elected. Didn’t he realize that Madison is already “upside down”—given the Republican dominance of seats in the state Senate and Assembly compared to the far more balanced recent vote totals for statewide offices.
Perhaps Michels could have done some good by at least turning Madison sideways.
Republicans refused to accept the public’s selection of Evers in 2018, starting by reducing some powers of the governor and the attorney general (with approval by a friendly state Supreme Court) even before Evers and Josh Kaul were sworn into office.
They continued by refusing to have the state Senate consider confirming nearly 150 appointments made by Evers to cabinet level posts and state boards such as those overseeing the Department of Natural Resources and the state’s technical college system. As a result, many state entities still have either vacancies or holdover term-expired members appointed by previous Gov. Scott Walker.
A continuation of this stand-off will mean dozens more vetoes (nearly 150 already) of Republican bills by Evers. Republicans will probably continue to cherish the mock legislative sessions (a few seconds each) they hold in response to Evers’ requests for legislation.
In Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, incumbent Ron Johnson needed only his first TV ad (immediately after the Aug. 9 primary) to knock out opponent Mandela Barnes. That ad featured South Carolina Senator Tim Scott—not widely known but the only Black Republican in the Senate.
Scott said Johnson would bring “new leadership” to Washington (hadn’t he already been there for 12 years?) But that ad—a masterful political stroke of reverse racism—knee-capped the Barnes campaign for the following 12 weeks.
Why? It showed a Black senator rejecting a fellow Black. The not-so-subtle message that resonated with just enough voters was: “If a Black senator doesn’t support Barnes, why should I?”
Johnson could have saved millions by ending his TV ads and mailers at that point. But he kept hammering Barnes on state prison policy (not a U.S. senator’s decision), on inflation (it happened with Johnson in office), on abortion (Barnes didn’t respond adequately), and on police funding (not directly controlled by U.S. senators).
Yes, Barnes has faults in his background. Meanwhile, Johnson has a history of bizarre claims and actions.