New York Times Front-Page Fright: Wisconsin GOP on 'Verge of Total, Veto-Proof Power'

November 6th, 2022 6:13 AM

Wisconsin is the canary in the coal mine for American democracy, according to the New York Times, and it can only be saved -- if everyone votes for a single party (the Democrats). That’s the confusing if ideologically convenient argument from the paper, as Election Day looms.

Saturday’s front page heralded campaign reporter Reid Epstein’s “Wisconsin Republicans Stand on the Verge of Total, Veto-Proof Power.” A corner of Wisconsin threatens to vote Republicans into the state legislature, and democracy is at risk:

The three counties in Wisconsin’s far northwest corner make up one of the last patches of rural America that have remained loyal to Democrats through the Obama and Trump years.

But after voting Democratic in every presidential election since 1976, and consistently sending the party’s candidates to the State Legislature for even longer, the area could now defect to the Republican Party. The ramifications would ripple far beyond the shores of Lake Superior.

Epstein warned that if the seats are lost, perhaps because of new and even more gerrymandered political maps…Those northern seats would put Republicans in reach of veto-proof supermajorities that would render a Democratic governor functionally irrelevant.

Oh no! Again, the Times shows itself extremely concerned about the political prospects of one particular party, and Epstein's been panicking about Wisconsin for weeks. Earlier, Epstein claimed “Republicans have such control of the levers of power in Wisconsin that voters are almost immaterial.” 

Epstein now suggests that Democrats and Democracy are pretty much the same thing:

Even though Wisconsin remains a 50-50 state in statewide elections, Democrats would be on the verge of obsolescence.

“The erosion of our democratic institutions that Republicans are looking to take down should be frightening to anyone,” said John Adams, a Democratic candidate for the State Assembly from Washburn….

Epstein also worried about GOP plans to eliminate the state’s bipartisan elections commission and take direct control of voting procedures and the certification of elections. The paper’s takeaway: Vote how we want or democracy is dead.

Taking sides, Epstein lamented “The picture is similarly bleak for Democrats in the State Assembly, where President Biden, who won the state by about 20,000 votes, carried just 35 of 99 districts.”

He quoted a surely objective voice, the Democratic State Assembly leader, who fretted: “When you can win a majority of voters and have close to a third of the seats, it’s not true democracy….they see how rigged the system is against the people of the state in favor of Republican politicians.”

Maybe Wisconsin voters just like Republican governance on the local level?

Again, the Times tried to convince readers that the crime issue is something that only happens to other people.

Democrats here described an uphill battle against better-funded Republican opponents, with the political atmosphere colored by inflation, concerns about faraway crime and an unpopular president.

Reporter Jonathan Weisman made a similar paean to lost democracy in his October 23 front-page report from La Crosse, Wisconsin mourning that Derrick Van Orden may flip that district Republican.

….Ms. Barba reflected on the politics of her state: the divide between the blue dot of downtown La Crosse and the surrounding red reaches of western Wisconsin, where she said she could not have a civil conversation; the Republican favored to win the seat in her congressional district, who was at the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021; and a Legislature so gerrymandered that her Democratic Party does not stand a chance…..another factor is dampening people’s motivation to save America’s representative system of government: Some have already lost faith in its ability to represent them.