What does a 2016 presidential aspirant do when his state votes Democratic? Rig the next election, of course. Wisconsin didn't turn into the swing state Scott Walker, Mitt Romney and the GOP had wished, with Obama carrying it by more than six percent and Democrat Tammy Baldwin winning an open Senate seat. Walker, the union-busting Koch brothers buddy, has pinpointed the source of the GOP's woes in Wisconsin—its liberal voting laws. "States across the country that have same-day registration have real problems," Walker
Those senior citizens aren't Walker's real problem, of course—it's Wisconsin's voter-friendly election laws. Since taking office he's been itching to dismantle them. In 2011, Walker signed a bill to implement a photo-ID requirement. The courts eventually overturned the proposal as unconstitutional. Dismantling same-day registration, however, likely wouldn't violate the state constitution—but could prove just as suppressive as a photo-ID law. The eight states with same-day registration have, on average, seven percent higher turnout than the national rate. That's good for little-d-democracy as well as for capitol-D-Democrats, who fare better when more people cast a ballot.
Thanks to Wisconsin's same-day registration policy, more than 70 percent of the state's eligible voters voted this year. But the governor may be able to toss aside the rule. Obama and Baldwin won the statewide races, but thanks to a district map created by Republican lawmakers, the GOP retook control of the state Senate and maintained its majority in the House. Next year, Walker and his allies will have carte blanche to implement their reactionary policies—at least until the next recall.
So They Say
“Secession is a deeply American principle. … If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it.”
—Ron Paul, in a post on his House website
Daily Meme: Thanksgiving for Liberals
- For the first time since, oh, 1964, liberals had a great election in a presidential year. So while conservatives bicker around their Thanksgiving tables, liberals can count their blessings (literally or metaphorically, just as you like). Since this is our last Ringside Seat before the holiday (we're back on Monday), here's a handy reference list:
- Allen West, the Republican congressman from Florida who—among other bons mots—famously accused House progressives of being members of the Communist Party and told all Democrats to “get the hell out of the United States of America”—hasfinally conceded that he lost to Democrat Patrick Murphy.
- The Tea Party’s most outspoken “reproductive rights deniers,” Todd Aiken, Richard Mourdock, and Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, were all defeated—though Paul “Forcible Rape” Ryan remains in Washington.
- The Senate will include 20 women come January. Only 31 to go before there’s a proportional representation!
- Liberals will be far better-represented in the next Congress.
- Congress will add its first Asian-American senator, its first Hindu and openly bisexual members, and Tammy Baldwin will be the nation’s first openly gay senator. We’ll also have three Buddhists (more, please!).
- Same-sex marriage won in four states this year, with potentially seven more to comein 2014.
- Eighty percent of nonwhite Americans voted for President Obama.
- You’ll never have to listen to Mitt Romney again, unless you choose to.
- Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge are losing their stranglehold on congressional Republicans.
- The $104 million spent by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC resulted in zero victories for the Republicans it supported.
- Conservatives are fighting mad—at one another.
What We're Writing
- Paul Waldman lays out the four possible answers politicians can employ when quizzed about the Earth's age.
- Abby Rapoport offers a reminder that provisional ballots are still a problem.
What We're Reading
- Eric Holder plans to stick around the Justice Department for another year.
- Marco Rubio isn’t the only 2016 contender who struggles with high school science.
- The Obama administration released 333 pages of Affordable Care Act regulations.
- Alec MacGillis doesn't think the South will support Democrats anytime soon.
- People are following coverage of the fiscal cliff more attentively than the Petraeus affair.
- What’s the real reason for the long lines at so many polling places?
- Why Parks and Recreation should steer clear of Washington and stick to Pawnee.
Poll of the Day
Chris Christie's Hurricane Sandy response might have damaged his reputation among Republicans—only a stern phone call from Fox News overlord Rupert Murdoch the weekend before the election spurred the New Jersey governor to reaffirm his support for Romney—but voters don't seem to share that assessment. In a new Quinnipiac poll, a plurality of New York City voters, 36 percent, said Christie had the best response to the storm, followed by Obama at 22 percent.