Federal Judge Strikes Down Lame-Duck Changes To Wisconsin Voting Laws

Peterson issued a favorable ruling for the groups on Thursday afternoon.

“This is not a close question,” Peterson wrote in his decision.

The judge also struck down a law passed during the lame duck session that requires a 2-year expiration date on student IDs used for identification at the polls, as well as a law that limits the use of receipts as valid voter identification for individuals who are involved in a sometimes lengthy process of getting a valid ID without a birth certificate.

Analiese Eicher, program director at One Wisconsin Now, lauded Peterson’s decision as a victory for Wisconsin voters.

.. In an emailed statement, Holder said the ruling should serve as a rebuke to former Gov. Walker and “his cronies in the state legislature.”

“Every voter in the state should be asking one question: Why are Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature so afraid of the people they claim they want to represent?” Holder said. “Though we are heartened by this decision, we will continue to fight any further efforts designed to undermine democracy in Wisconsin or any other part of our nation.”

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker Signs Bills Stripping Powers From Incoming Governor

Mr. Walker’s move will solidify some of the policies that made him a hero to many conservatives nationally and, for a brief time, a leading presidential candidate. But participating in what many Democrats consider a legally dubious power grab also cemented another widely held view: that Mr. Walker is a bruising partisan willing to break precedent and ignore protests for political gain.

“The last eight years have been very much characterized by the view of, ‘We’ve got the power, we’re going to do what we want and anybody else, that’s too bad,’” said James E. Doyle, Mr. Walker’s Democratic predecessor as governor, who called the last-minute bills “unseemly.”

The tactic by Mr. Walker and his allies was seen as carving a path for other states, like Michigan, where Republicans are similarly contemplating limits on incoming Democrats. But it also risked energizing Democrats ahead of a 2020 presidential election in which both parties will battle for the Midwest, as well as shaping how people remember Mr. Walker, 51, who leaves the governor’s job on Jan. 7 having spent most of his adult life in elected office.

“What didn’t he do?” said State Senator Fred Risser, a Democrat who was first elected to the Legislature in 1956. “He reversed the progressive, innovative state we used to be proud of.”

.. Mr. Walker, a former legislator and county executive who then was little known outside of the Milwaukee area, won a crucial advantage when he became governor in 2011: Voters not only flipped the governor’s seat to Republican, but also both chambers of the Legislature.

.. Just after signing the bills, Mr. Walker insisted that he had been gracious and helpful to Mr. Evers since the election. “We have been very purposeful in wanting to make sure that this next governor has a good transition,” said Mr. Walker, who added that he had allowed the governor-elect to tour the executive mansion and provided office space for his staff.

.. He posted 21 tweets in 25 minutes, each starting with “OUR LEGACY” and listing an accomplishment. Facing angry accusations on Facebook, he wrote that “our real legacy” was job growth. And in a speech on Thursday to manufacturing workers whose positions had been spared by new tax incentives, he said “I want this to be my legacy.”

.. “It’s tough to lose,” said Jim Villa, a longtime friend and former political aide to Mr. Walker. “But I’ve always said that Scott has one of the calmest demeanors of anyone I know — not a lot of highs and not a lot of lows.”

.. Just three years ago, Mr. Walker had a spin as a front-runner in the presidential race, but his campaign ended quickly as Mr. Trump suctioned support from more traditional candidates. Mr. Walker’s return to Wisconsin was difficult: People complained that he had been too focused on his own ambitions, and he spent months making up for it with parades, local meetings and ribbon cuttings. As he set off this year in a bid for a rare third term as governor, Mr. Walker warned of signs of a “blue wave” and pleaded with Republicans not to be complacent.

.. To Mr. Walker’s supporters, the bills Mr. Walker signed on Friday were pragmatic ways to shore up Republican policies and establish reasonable checks on the incoming Democrats. By signing the bills, he had secured his legacy, they said, not sullied it.

.. “‘My constituents will say, ‘Thank God you’ve protected the reforms, thank God that our state will be able to continue on the path we are on,’” said State Senator Alberta Darling, a Republican from suburban Milwaukee.

But to opponents, the bills represent something sinister. Several warned Mr. Walker that the measures were an unflattering epilogue to his tenure.

“This just goes to show what type of leader he actually was,” said State Senator La Tonya Johnson, a Democrat from Milwaukee. The legislation, she said, “will definitely go down in history as being the biggest power grab ever.”

.. Even some conservatives have spoken out. Sheldon Lubar, a Republican businessman who once supported Mr. Walker, said Mr. Walker’s record would be destroyed by this.

I think as a relatively young man, he should be very concerned of what his legacy is,” Mr. Lubar said.

.. Among the new restrictions on Mr. Evers: Future governors who negotiate tax incentives like those would need legislative approval for their deal.

How Dark Money, Gerrymandering And Democratic Complacency Altered Wisconsin Politics

.. Six years before Trump’s win, the state’s voters elected conservative populist Scott Walker governor. With the help of a Republican-controlled legislature, Walker waged an unprecedented assault on public employee unions in the state and later signed a right to work bill, which undermined private-sector unions.

.. he would go along to these small towns and speak to people about this danger of corporate influence on their lives.

DAVIES: And how far into the 20th century did this sort of progressive trend hold in Wisconsin? And I note that Senator Joe McCarthy – probably the most notorious anti-communist of the century – came from that state.

..  he undertook a pretty radical approach to dealing with public employee unions. What did he propose to do?

KAUFMAN: Well, he proposed to all but strip them of collective bargaining rights, which is their ability to speak as a collective voice around wages, benefits and other workplace concerns, workplace safety, basically, reducing their ability to act as a collective voice. He exempted the police and fire department unions. Some would say that cynically because some of these unions supported him.

..  Tim Cullen, a moderate Democratic state senator – he said, the one thing that was non-negotiable was the automatic dues checkoff.

..  He stoked resentment against the public workers. It was clear in his inaugural address in 2011. He said the public employees can no longer be the haves, and the taxpayers can no longer be the have nots. Privately, he even went further.

There’s a famous recording of him speaking to a billionaire donor where she says when will we become a completely red state? When will we become a right-to-work state? She conflated the two. And he answered, you know, have you seen what we’re going to do with the public employees? And then he went on. He said, you know, because you use divide and conquer. What he meant by that was he was going to first attack the public employees. And then several years later, he instituted a right-to-work law against the private sector employees. Now you have a state that went from 14 percent union density when he was elected to 8 percent.

.. in 2016, the presidential election arrives in Wisconsin, as it does in the rest of the country. The Democratic primary – Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton by 13 points. Why did Hillary Clinton have trouble connecting to Democratic voters in Wisconsin?

.. she has never been a close ally of labor. Wisconsin progressives were deeply wounded by the attacks on labor. She was a former corporate board member of Walmart, a notoriously anti-union company. And she also supported for many, many years free trade agreements, like NAFTA and the China’s membership into the World Trade Organization, that have really impacted the industrial Midwest in such a profound way. People are aware that you can drive by a factory, and they’ll say, oh, this factory moved to Mexico and then went on to Vietnam. They are very keenly aware. Other factors played a role – automation and so on – but these agreements really impacted particularly the industrial Midwest – Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio.

DAVIES: And particularly unionized workers, I think.

..  I think people forget that Donald Trump’s message during the campaign – he also twinned his message of resentment – racial resentment – with a defense of the welfare state. You can look at his speeches. He staged five huge rallies in Wisconsin. He almost always mentioned, we’ve got to protect Social Security and Medicare, and he railed against these free trade agreements. So there was a different kind of Republican message that resonated with a certain sector of the population enough to put him over the top, coupled with Hillary Clinton’s noncampaigning and non-effort in these places, and it really impacted the race.

.. There was frankly a weak Democratic opposition to his message, and there was a stoking of resentment in a time of economic insecurity. That is very powerful. And they weren’t – people weren’t being offered an alternative – a very compelling one anyway.

..  Another example is gerrymandering. In 2012 election, Wisconsin Democrats won an aggregate of almost 200,000 more votes than the Republicans, and yet they lost seats. That…

DAVIES: You’re talking about in the state legislature.

KAUFMAN: In the state legislature in the assembly, and that leads to demoralizing (laughter) of your party. I mean, it’s hard to get candidates to run when they know they’re going to be defeated if the district is just so heavily drawn to favor the Republicans where – and the Democratic seats are – you know, they’ll routinely win more than 70 percent of the vote. So they pack them in. And that case was, you know, brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s the first partisan gerrymandering case to go to the Supreme Court in more than three decades because the federal court agreed with the plaintiffs – the Democrats – that their rights had been denied because it was so extreme.

Anthony Scaramucci

In June 2017, he became a senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the U.S. Export-Import Bank.[4]

In 2008, Scaramucci served as a fundraiser for President Barack Obama.[31] In September 2010, Scaramucci asked Obama at a CNBC Town Hall meeting when he was going to “stop whacking Wall Street like a piñata.”[32]

.. He is a registered Republican and served as a National Finance Co-Chair for Mitt Romney for President in 2012.

During the 2016 presidential election, Scaramucci first endorsed Scott Walker and later Jeb Bush. In May 2016, after both Walker and Bush had withdrawn from the race, he signed on to Donald Trump‘s political campaign by joining the Trump Finance Committee.[34]

.. In January 2017, he told New York magazine that the “thing I have learned about these people in Washington is they have no money”, and described such congressmen as “jackasses”.[36]

.. They reported that Priebus opposed Scaramucci’s appointment because Scaramucci had a direct relationship with Trump.[6]

.. He is a member of the World Economic Forum and speaks at the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland

Seven Reasons It Made Sense for Donald Trump to pick Mike Pence

The running mate’s role is to support and amplify the boss’s message, not to usurp it. As Gingrich demonstrated on Thursday night, with his call for American Muslims to be subjected to a Sharia-law test, he’s not one of nature’s number twos.

.. Many of the potential problems with picking Gingrich also apply to the New Jersey governor, who is loud and domineering, and has an equally dismal approval rating: thirty-four per cent

.. Trump’s only realistic, or semi-realistic, chance of getting to two hundred and seventy electoral votes is to storm through the Midwest and the Rust Belt, racking up huge majorities of white votes. To this end, his ideal choice would have been John Kasich, the popular governor of Ohio, but Kasich didn’t want the job. Nor did Rob Portman, the Ohio senator who served in the Bush Administration, or Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. And no one in Michigan or Pennsylvania was particularly suitable, either. That left Pence

.. In May, after wrapping up the nomination, he said, “This is called the Republican Party, not the Conservative Party.” But, like John McCain and Mitt Romney before him, Trump ultimately had to come to terms with the nature of the beast he is trying to ride to the White House.

.. Selecting Pence, a former head of the Republican Study Group on Capitol Hill, sends a signal that Trump is willing to work with the Party establishment and listen to what it says.

.. Ryan released a statement saying that there could be “no better choice for our vice-presidential candidate.”

.. Most people who take civil rights and the Constitution seriously are already aghast at the prospect of a Trump Presidency. Is there anyone out there who was willing to look past Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims, a resumption of torture, and the deportation of eleven million undocumented workers, but who will not vote for the Republican ticket because of Pence’s support for an Indiana law that allowed businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians? Perhaps such people exist, but I doubt there are very many.

Senator Joni Ernst Is Given Prime Speaking Slot at G.O.P. Convention

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa will speak at the Republican National Convention, making her among the prominent conservative politicians the Trump campaign has lined up for the event

.. Giving a prime speaking slot to Ms. Ernst — who was being vetted as a possible running mate to Mr. Trump but is no longer under consideration — is fitting in many ways, like in possibly helping the candidate neutralize the criticism that he has been insensitive to women.

.. In recent days, some speakers from the political world have started to leak out, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who told a local television station on Tuesday that he would address the convention.

Waiting for the new Trump

Changes are underway in the candidate’s operation, but can he change himself?

But many Republicans, both supporters and skeptics of Trump’s campaign, note that the consolidation of power by Manafort and the children does not guarantee any change in the candidate himself

.. Ivanka Trump and her husband, Kushner, whose influence has grown in recent months, had been trying to convince nervous more mainstream Republicans that Trump was just doing what he had to do to win the primary and that a pivot was imminent. “They told people he inherently understood the tone and temperament required of a general election and that the real Trump was sophisticated, charming, successful — a dealmaker who would be able to cut the deal,” one high-level GOP source said.

.. Scott Walker, the former candidate who has hinted he’d be open to receiving the nomination in such a circumstance, said Tuesday the delegates “should be able to vote the way they see fit.”