The Only Thing Wisconsin Republican Legislators Want For Christmas is to be like North Carolina…Unfortunately
They’ve made their Christmas list, and maybe they don’t care anything about being naughty or nice. What they do care about is taking away as much power as possible from the newly elected Democratic governor, Tony Evers.
I live in North Carolina, and I remember 2016 and 2017 all too well. It seemed like the North Carolina Republican legislature spent every minute of the day thinking of ways to neuter the executive branch and to restrict the powers of Governor Roy Cooper. The legislature snatched gubernatorial appointments from him and gave the appointments to themselves. The tried to direct budget expenditures of the executive branch, and when they had done all that they thought they could to limit Cooper’s powers, one legislator jokingly requested suggestions for more powers to take away, if there were any still left. That power grab continued right into 2018 with constitutional amendments to give the legislature even more authority.
The Republican legislators in Wisconsin must have been watching North Carolina from afar. They apparently saw the writing on the wall, read it, and went with it. A CNN December 4, 2018 article stated, “Wisconsin Republicans are pulling from a playbook popularized in North Carolina two years ago…,” as they conduct their own power grab. They essentially made their list and checked it three or four times. They have every intent on getting it right.
Just like in North Carolina, protests have broken out in Wisconsin. But it’s Christmas time. We’re in the holiday spirit, sort of. So, it’s interesting to read the stories of protest singing that drowned out the high school Christmas carolers in the halls of the Capitol. But ’tis the season of good tidings and glad joy, right.
I don’t come to this subject from a position of non-partisanship. Let’s be clear on that. I currently serve as a North Carolina representative on the Democratic National Committee. Both of my parents have held elected positions at the local level. My father is a former chair of a county Democratic Party organization; my mother is a former secretary of the state Democratic Party; and one of my sisters worked as the political director of the state Democratic Party. So yeah, we’re kinda blue.
But here’s the thing. The level of divisiveness in this country has become untenable. Members of both parties go to their respective corners and essentially throw rocks at the party across the other side. We don’t have meaningful conversations with people who have different views. We act like our views are the only ones that matter. It’s one of the reasons the average unaffiliated voter says “I hate politicians.” To them, it doesn’t matter that one side is red or one side is blue. To them, we all look and sound the same.
So, in the spirit of Christmas, I would remind our Republican friends in Wisconsin that there was, most recently, an election in North Carolina where the Democrats broke the supermajority that was held by the Republicans. Now it remains to be seen, what impact this will have on the lives of the residents of North Carolina…you know, like access to well-paying jobs, a quality education, and medical care. Those are the tidings we wish for all people, be it those in North Carolina or those in Wisconsin. It’s not about the color. Instead, it’s time to come together and make the bold decisions that will give all Americans more than the pursuit of a dream.
It’s time for a Christmas list that matters.
Shelia A. Huggins ran for Durham City Council in 2017 and currently serves on the Democratic National Committee.