Wisconsin voters risked their lives last week — and voted out the party that made them risk their lives

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/14/wisconsin-voters-risked-their.html


The important election being the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Where Republican gerrymandering efforts were endorsed for ages. Democrat Jill Karofsky has ousted Justice Daniel Kelly from his seat at Wisconsin’s top court in a shock win.

When people turn out to vote in anger, vote suppressing incumbents run for cover


i wonder if the virus, democratic anger, and conservative talking points converged in several ways to help here. one, dems were like “oh hell no, you’re not going to suppress MY vote,” two, “i’m voting even if it kills me,” three, “the virus is a hoax” (and thus a certain level of conservative complacency).


It is shocking that in 2020, in the United States, people have to risk their lives to vote. This is something one more usually sees in the developing world with countries struggling to establish democracy.


Or in a country like the U.S., which is struggling to develop into a halfway civilized society.


It doesn’t bode well for any “established” democracy, does it?


Definitely good news, and there’s no doubt that angry voters wanting to defy voter suppression efforts by the GOP was a big factor. But I also wonder if the fact that there wasn’t a GOP primary on the ballot was part of it. Democrats who wanted to participate in their primary (even if the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion) had a clear reason to show up to vote, and then as long as they were already voting in the primary they might as well also vote for the progressive State Supreme Court candidate at the same time. With no primary for the GOP, Republican voters would be showing up mostly just to vote on the court candidate, which is maybe a little less likely to excite them enough to show up?


They didn’t “vote out” the GOP - as the article says, the conservatives still control it, just by one fewer justice.


The cynic in me (basically, normal me) thinks this won’t do much until actual control shifts over. I don’t know if the Wis SC votes along party lines all the time, but I’m going with they probably do.

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I wonder if democracy is a fight that ever ends. It certainly feels as if it has been under fire for the last few years.


My understanding is that it wasn’t a shock win as much as a failed attempt by the GOP to capitalize on a crisis to consolidate their control. Karofsky was still leading in the polls prior to Rona. The Republicans looked at this and said “We have nothing to gain by delaying, and if we go ahead then maybe some namby-pamby Democrats will stay home out of fear and crowded polling stations”. Apparently the number of mail-in ballots exceeded the number of ballots cast in person!


I think you are correct.


It was ever thus. When asked whether the new American government was a republic or a monarchy, Benjamin Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”


Maintaining a working democracy is hard work, and requires an ongoing investment in the ability of the electorate to make free and educated choices about their way of life, and about who governs them. In the US it seems that a significant part of the electorate is still denied a fair chance at education and participation, and another part appears to have degenerated into science-denying liberal-hating hypocrites. Not all „established“ democracies are in that situation.

I think the most significant threat to democracy is capitalism: a mindset that favors competition over collaboration cannot support a political system that relies on the sovereignty of voters to make independent choices. There‘s just too much incentive to subvert that.


Good. I would love to see Republicans gradually forced out of every position of power in the nation. They have literally nothing to offer their voters but bigotry- hatred of minorities, hatred of women, hatred of intellectuals, of liberals, of science, of diversity and change and reality. The entire machine depends on people wanting to hurt other groups so much that they’re willing to ignore the fact that nothing of actual benefit to themselves or society is produced.


That really is the big difference between the GOP and decent people. The GOP focuses on what systems they can break and destroy and who they can hurt. Decent people don’t make that the focal point of their campaign.


Before anyone celebrates… why can not the Republicans now sue for a re-vote, since there was so much irregularity/arbitrariness regarding both the in-person voting and how absentee votes were counted (or not counted)?

Sure, it’s crass and cynical and jawdropping for them to try to get a second bite at the apple, having rigged the first “bite”, but Democrats themselves were readying lawsuits and TROs in expectation that this crazy vote would not go their way. I just can’t believe Republicans won’t do every underhanded thing they can to survive.

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Coretta Scott King said it best:


We had a history teacher in high school who ran a survey (for his PhD back in the 1970s, asking people face to face, in a big shopping mall in one of the biggest cities in the U.S. midwest). It was a “who said it?” poll, where a wide range respondents (or so he told us students) were made to choose which person:

  • Mao Zedong
  • Thomas Jefferson

said which thing:

  1. “The tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed by the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

  2. (there were a lot more quotations in that survey, but I’ll stop)

Most of the respondents misidentified the person who said Quotation #1.

Our teacher could scarcely disguise his glee when he’d tell us this story, especially the part where he revealed the correct answers to the respondents.

I hear you. I agree. Hard work! Necessary work.


Yup. My dad showed me a “funny” video of trump flubbing a bunch of math in one of his inane coronavirus briefings.

“Why aren’t you laughing?”
“The only thing that trump could do that’d make me laugh is die.”