One for you and seventeen for me

It’s all so…Hitleresque. Emily Badger in the Times:

In much of Wisconsin, “Madison and Milwaukee” are code words (to some, dog whistles) for the parts of the state that are nonwhite, elite, different: The cities are where people don’t have to work hard with their hands, because they’re collecting welfare or public-sector paychecks.

Da big city, where all the Jews are.

That stereotype updates a very old idea in American politics, one pervading Wisconsin’s bitter Statehouse fights today and increasingly those in other states: Urban voters are an exception. If you discount them, you get a truer picture of the politics — and the will of voters — in a state.

Thomas Jefferson believed as much — “the mobs of great cities add just so much to support of pure government,” he wrote, “as sores do to the strength of the human body.”

Wisconsin Republicans amplified that idea this week, arguing that the legislature is the more representative branch of government, and then voting to limit the power of the incoming Democratic governor. The legislature speaks for the people in all corners of the state, they seemed to be saying, and statewide offices like governor merely reflect the will of those urban mobs.

We have the same split here in Washington state: east of the mountains is where the real people are and over here on the west side it’s all granola-munching libbruls.

Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Statehouse, drew this distinction even more explicitly after the midterm election.

“If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority,” he said. “We would have all five constitutional officers and we would probably have many more seats in the Legislature.”

Hmm, yes, and if you took California and New York state out of the US you would have far fewer cities; if you took Chicago and Detroit out, white people would be a bigger majority; if you took every city over 100,000 people out probably everyone left would believe in god. Or something. But we don’t take cities out, because guess what, cities are not frivolous extras or plots against pale people, they’re places where a lot of useful activity happens, alongside a lot of nonsense but there is nonsense everywhere.

Republican gerrymandering in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina have pushed the limits of how much the urban voter can be devalued.

In Wisconsin, Democratic candidates for the State Assembly won 54 percent of the vote statewide. But they will hold only 36 of 99 seats. They picked up just one more seat than in the current Assembly, a result of a gerrymander drawn so well that it protected nearly every Republican seat in a Democratic wave election.

That’s a jaw-dropping set of numbers: 54% of the vote but 36 of 99 seats. That is some heavy-duty cheating the Republicans did. And they did it so well it will never be undone, apparently.

9 Responses to “One for you and seventeen for me”