As Wisconsin's GOP-controlled legislature and outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker seek to thwart the will of voters by ramming through a sweeping slate of legislation that would drastically curtail Democratic governor-elect Tony Evers' authority and ability to implement his agenda, progressive advocacy groups announced emergency rallies on Monday to fight back against the GOP's latest "shocking and naked power grab."
"Warning to our friends across the country: what happens in Wisconsin doesn't stay in Wisconsin. The GOP (and Kochs) use the state as a petri dish for terrible hard-right ideas. If this works, it'll spread elsewhere."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.org
"This is straight out of a banana republic and should be a huge national story," Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman said of the GOP plan, which would strip Evers' power to approve decisions by the newly elected Democratic state attorney general and hand this authority over to the Republican legislature.
Denouncing the corporate media's overwhelming failure to cover the Wisconsin GOP's attempt to effectively override the results of the November midterms, MoveOn.org Washington director Ben Wikler urged Wisconsinites to show up at the capitol building to protest the scheduled lame-duck special session Monday afternoon, during which the legislature will consider the Republican legislation.
As Indivisible Wisconsin pointed out, the "public hearing" on the GOP plan is scheduled to last precisely one minute.
Update: Demonstrators chanting "respect my vote!" flooded the capitol building and forced the legislature to slightly delay its hearing.
Wisconsinites storm their capitol to fight the #WIPowerGrab. Two public hearing overflow rooms filled up, a third was opened. Protesters chanted “#RespectMyVote & held banners that asked #WWBD (What Would Bob Do?) referencing our founder, former US Sen. Fighting Bob La Follette. pic.twitter.com/OUKzqHPiBI
— The Progressive (@theprogressive) December 3, 2018
We're up to 3 overflow rooms and the hearings been delayed til 1. Singing and chanting fills the rounds. Lines of people to get a slip to register to speak and register opposition. Keep coming and keep speaking up Wisconsin, this will be an all day thing. #GOPCoup #RespectMyVote https://t.co/dfcWKo3BAj
— Indivisible Madison (@IndivisMadison) December 3, 2018
Voters furious, chanting outside of hearing room here at Wisconsin state capitol: “RESPECT OUR VOTES! PROTECT OUR VOTES!” pic.twitter.com/pQNdtCOgMh
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) December 3, 2018
On top of protests during the special session, advocacy groups also planned an emergency rally on the steps of the state capitol for Monday evening.
Want to stop the Wisconsin GOP power grab? HERE'S HOW TO FIGHT BACK.
This Monday, GO TO MADISON. The Joint Finance Committee hearing on the power-grab bills opens 12:30pm in room 412 East. Fill the room! Then at 5:30pm, rally outside on State St steps! https://t.co/uaLqTmwzux pic.twitter.com/7G8GropYKJ
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) December 1, 2018
Emergency #RespectMyVote rally to stop the Wisconsin GOP power grab: MONDAY 12/3, 5:30pm, State Street steps of the Capitol building in Madison—spread the word! Retweet, and then click over to Facebook, mark "interested," and invite everyone you know: https://t.co/uaLqTmwzux pic.twitter.com/oYkvvywjms
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) December 1, 2018
In addition to stripping Evers' authority, the GOP's sweeping plan—which the Wisconsin legislature could vote on as early as Tuesday—also seeks to restict voting rights by limiting early voting to no more than two weeks before an election. At present, some parts of the state allow for as much as six weeks of early voting.
"I view this as a repudiation of the last election. I will take any steps possible to assure the people of Wisconsin that I will not invalidate those votes."
—Gov.-elect Tony EversAs Wikler noted, the GOP's legislation could force Evers to implement punitive Trump-approved Medicaid work requirements, stop him from banning guns from the state capitol, and bar him from taking legal action to defend safety net programs from Republican attacks.
"Warning to our friends across the country: what happens in Wisconsin doesn't stay in Wisconsin," Wikler wrote on Twitter. "The GOP (and Kochs) use the state as a petri dish for terrible hard-right ideas. If this works, it'll spread elsewhere."
Responding to the GOP power grab, Evers said in an interview on Saturday that he is considering legal action to prevent Republicans from stripping his authority.
"I view this as a repudiation of the last election," Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I will take any steps possible to assure the people of Wisconsin that I will not invalidate those votes. And frankly, I'm encouraging citizens across the state of Wisconsin to help me in that effort."