Friday, September 15, 2023

Vos Hopes to Fool Wisconsinites With Deceptive "Nonpartisan" Redistricting Bill

Serious checks and balances have been stripped from the redistricting plan offered up by Wisconsin Republicans this week

What more can be said about the redistricting plan offered by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) that hasn't already been said? Well, here's my two cents for you anyway...

When Vos surprisingly announced he now supported enacting a nonpartisan redistricting plan to combat gerrymandering, Democrats were skeptical — this guy and his allies in the state legislature, after all, are firing elections officials over false claims of election fraud and threatening to impeach a duly-elected Supreme Court justices over ideological disagreements. 

Heck, years, prior, Vos and other Republicans even described the plan he's now touting as unconstitutional, a wrong assessment, to be sure, but noteworthy given his sudden embracing of it.

So what changed? The details of the bill (which passed the state legislature on Thursday night and will likely be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers) essentially make it so that nothing changes at all: Vos & Co. can still draw whatever maps they want, so long as they perform a song and dance before they do so.

Despite claiming otherwise, the plan he's offering isn't a replica of a previous plan by Democrats from 2019 that included a number of failsafes against abuse, but rather a plan that looks like it WITHOUT checks and balances to prevent partisan gerrymandering from happening anyway.

Screenshot from Republican Accountability Project (edited)

According to the nonpartisan analysis of the Vos bill, if enacted, a redistricting commission will be created, but if the state legislature doesn't like the maps they draft, they can simply vote twice against them, and then the regular amendment process — without oversight from the commission — will allow legislators to just draw their own maps anyway, with a simple majority vote.

Given that Republicans have already gerrymandered their way to a nearly two-thirds majority in the legislature, it won't be difficult for them to keep passing THEIR maps, decade after decade, to keep control and deny Wisconsinites true representation.

Oh, and the entire process would be exempt from judicial oversight, meaning there would be no recourse for action if Republicans still try to play fast and loose with the process, as they have already demonstrated a propensity for doing. That's fun.

So now, right-wing lawmakers and their allies (this tweet from a far-right troll account was retweeted by Vos) are pooh-poohing Democrats for opposing the plan, wrongly saying they're flip-flopping on the issue. In short, Republicans in the state are hoping we the People are too stupid to realize that their nonpartisan redistricting plan is actually a wolf in sheep's clothing, a continuation of the broken process that is already in place.

Vos's plan will still allow him and Republicans to gerrymander the crap out of our state. And that's the real reason why Vos "changed his mind" on the plan he once opposed — because he gutted it enough to ensure the status quo would not be disturbed. He, in effect, did not change his mind at all.

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