Gerald Mander (R-WI) was the big winner in Wisconsin politics in Tuesday’s election. Wisconsin is so heavily gerrymandered that nearly ⅓ of Republican candidates for the State Senate ran unopposed. Republicans won 12 of 17 seats up for election to retain a ⅔ majority.
In the State Assembly, 22 of 99 seats were one horse races (not counting a few write-ins or third party candidates). Republicans won 64 of 99 races to hold a nearly ⅔ majority.
The state is so effectively gerrymandered that Democrats, representing about 50% of the population, are crammed into ⅓ of districts, ensuring Republican control of both houses of the state legislature and ¾ of the Congressional seats. A Marquette Law School researcher calculated that if the overall vote were split 50/50, Republicans would hold just under ⅔ of the State Assembly and just over ⅔ of the State Senate. Surprise! Surprise! 64:35 and 22:11 are the current ratios. Ya can’t get much closer than that prediction.
This may not seem odd if this were a red state, but Wisconsin also elected a Democratic Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and a Republican State Treasurer.
Ron Johnson, best known for marrying into great wealth, which he has parlayed into even greater wealth since his election to the US Senate 12 years ago, won a third term despite his prior promise not to run. Attack ads called his challenger, Mandela Barnes, “dangerous” for Wisconsin. That’s code for “he’s a young Black man. If he’s not a criminal, his friends probably are.” When, at the end of a debate, each candidate was asked to name one thing he finds admirable about his opponent, Johnson said nice things about Barnes’ parents and then added, “with that upbringing, why has he turned against America?” Johnson is also an election denier, coup supporter, and backer of spurious and dangerous treatments for COVID-19. His Chief of Staff attempted to deliver a slate of fake electors to Vice President Pence’s Chief of Staff on January 6. He was told to stay away. Since Pence refused to accept the fake electors, and Johnson had his chief handle it instead of doing it himself, Johnson claimed the famous “Five Second Rule” to play down his involvement in the coup.
At least I didn’t have to publish what I previously wrote about gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels. We’ll settle for a photo of his $17 million Connecticut mansion. We’re not sure if he planned to run the state from there, or move back to Wisconsin. Now he doesn’t have to decide.
Up in the air
After a valiant effort, Republicans were not able to propel Herschel Walker to victory and he will face a runoff election next month. Walker is best known as a football player. He campaigned as vehemently anti-choice despite allegations from two exes that he demanded that they abort the fetuses for which he was responsible. Both alleged that he paid for said abortions. In one of those cases, he was married to someone else at the time.
In his own defense, he said, “Everywhere I go, people say, ‘Did you pay for this abortion, did you pay for that abortion?’ How are you supposed to remember every single abortion? This is why people no longer trust the media.” To clarify, he added, “Let’s say you paid for ten abortions, or twenty, thirty, forty. You mean to tell me you’d remember every last one, clear as day? The answer is no, you wouldn’t. There’s no way a man could remember every single solitary abortion unless he kept an abortion journal, and I don’t know anyone who does that.” (The New Yorker 10/27/22. Emphasis added.)
Lauren Boebert’s race is still too close to call on Wednesday night, as is the Arizona gubernatorial contest featuring a former TV talking head turned follower of orange julius.
Of course the Republicans were right. There was massive fraud and the election was stolen. How else can one explain the elections of Ron DeSantis, Ron Johnson, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, JD Vance, Rand Paul, et al?
This makes much more sense than the allegations of fraud in 2020, when the Democratic party allegedly stole the presidential election but didn’t bother to steal any others.
It makes more sense than to think that we, as the American people, would be stupid enough to vote against our own interests to elect these clowns and charlatans.
Climate change, or weather?
For the first time in my long life, I ended a November bike ride with ice cream. It is not supposed to be 70º (21 C) in November around here. The first place I planned to stop was closed for the season so I had to hold that ice cream jones for another 4 miles.
I rode out to the marsh the other day with my real camera and big lens for some wildlife photography. The only wildlife around was of the human variety. I did get to try the lens out to capture an oak leaf in flight (since the hawk was too far away even for a 500 mm lens). The oak leaf was at 330 mm (f5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100, for those keeping score at home). At least now we know I can track an object in flight, so stay tuned for bird pix in the future.