New York Magazine:
In Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race last year, Democrat Tony Evers defeated Scott Walker by one percent statewide — but won a majority of votes in only36 of the state’s 99 Assembly districts. That same night, Democratic candidates won 53 percent of all ballots cast for the state Assembly, even as Republicans won a 27-seat majority in that body.
In other words: The 2018 midterms confirmed that the GOP has gerrymandered Wisconsin’s electoral maps so aggressively, it will be essentially impossible for the Democratic Party to gain control of that (purple) state’s legislature until its maps are redrawn.
This point was not lost on the Wisconsin GOP. Immediately following Evers’s victory, Republicans convened a special legislative session to transfer powers from the popularly elected branch of government that Democrats had just won to the undemocratically elected branch that the GOP couldn’t lose.
These developments forced Wisconsin Democrats to confront a harrowing possibility: that their triumph in the governor’s race would not stop the GOP from locking up the state legislature for another decade. In 2021, Wisconsin will redraw all its electoral maps to comport with the new census. And Evers will have the power to veto any gerrymander the legislature enacts. But Republicans could reject that veto, and bring a lawsuit claiming that the legislature has authority over redistricting. And if the conservative majority on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court buys that argument — just as it bought the GOP’s case for the constitutionality of voter-ID laws and union-busting measures (that likely cost Democrats the Badger State in 2016) — then it will be game over. And Democrats will be all but incapable of governing Wisconsin before 2030.
But there was one way out of this maddening impasse. In 2019 and 2020, Wisconsin would hold Supreme Court elections. And if liberal judges could win both those contests — which would be settled by the good old-fashioned popular vote — then Democrats would ensure their influence over redistricting. And not only that: A liberal State Supreme Court could also roll back the GOP legislature’s power grab, its various voter-suppression efforts, and perhaps even its assault on collective-bargaining rights.