While sheltering-in-place, I read Gregg Walker's and Richard Moore's op-ed titled, "Gov. Evers Putting the Partisan Back into Nonpartisan." The column was about how Gov. Evers' Peoples Maps Commission was just another attempt by Democrats to hoodwink Wisconsin when drawing new congressional districts after the 2020 census.
They successfully touched just about every flashpoint. From the Democrats being too far left, to the name of the commission sounding ominously communist, to Gov. Evers only caring about Democrats, they wrapped their arguments in a curious logic of "inverse definitional thinking." It appears to be their rather tortured attempt to discredit Evers' efforts to bring fairness back into drawing Wisconsin's congressional districting map.
Evers's commission will consist of a mix of experts in nonpartisan redistricting, representatives from communities of interest, and residents of each of the state's eight congressional districts. Walker and Moore were forced to make glaring omissions to advance their case. For example, Evers uses the term "nonpartisan experts," Moore uses just "experts," implying liberal bias. Evers says he will choose citizens from every congressional district and hold citizen input meetings in every district. Moore fails to mention that, yet argues a lack of citizen input.
What Walker and Moore won't tell you is how we came to this "redistricting mess" (their words, not mine). After the Republicans won the state assembly, senate and governorship in the 2010 election, they quickly hired a demographer and staff, set them up in an office across the street from the capital, which only Republican leadership had access to (talk about a lack of transparency), for the sole purpose of drawing new congressional districts most advantageous to electing Republicans.
They came up with the most gerrymandered Wisconsin congressional districting map in history. The bizarre map strategically separates voters or packs them in given districts specifically created to help elect Republicans. It is one of the most blatant examples of politicians selecting their voters, instead of voters selecting the politicians.
They were wildly successful at weaponizing a process central to our Founding Fathers' definition of democracy. How else could a political party consistently get a minority of statewide votes yet maintain majorities in the state assembly and senate?
I can't guarantee Gov. Evers will not play politics with redistricting. In these times it is best to have a little skepticism when dealing with politicians. As President Coolidge quipped. "In the morning, if a politician found out his constituents were cannibals, the missionaries would be in the pot by noon."
Fifty out of 72 counties in Wisconsin have passed resolutions calling for the formation of a similar commission. In a recent poll, 70 percent of Wisconsin voters favored the formation of a nonpartisan commission. Iowa has had a highly successful commission for many years.
Evers' true intentions will be revealed very quickly by his choices to fill the commission. He was elected as a welcomed contrast to Walker's scorched earth, divide and conquer, style of leadership. Dismantling the Republican-engineered, gerrymandered aberration currently burdening Wisconsin is a start, and te first step is creating a truly nonpartisan Peoples Maps Commission. Evers should be given a chance to show he is different. It's why we elected him.
Vote "yes" on the resolution to form the commission.
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