VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Ben Wikler Explains Wisconsin Democrats Strategy To Un-Gerrymander His State
Wisconsin Democratic State Chair Ben Wikler spoke to uPolitics about his party’s plans to protect the state from partisan gerrymandering now that the new Census results have been announced.
uPolitics’ Erik Meers asked Wikler what his strategy is to un-gerrymander Wisconsin’s voting maps. Wikler noted how lucky his state is that they elected Gov. Tony Evers (D) in 2018. “We have a Democratic governor,” Wikler said. “He can veto the Republicans’ gerrymandered maps.” Wikler commented that even if Republicans try to force a partisan map through the GOP-majority state legislature, “the governor, with a stroke of his veto pen, can wipe those out.”
“This is not a right versus left battle; this is almost everyone versus Republican politicians,” Wikler said. “This is really about basic fairness in democracy. I think the law is on our side. Things are poised to get better.” Wikler then explained that Gov. Evers appointed a “peoples’ maps” commission to draft fair district maps, which can then be compared alongside the partisan Republican maps.
“If Wisconsin had fair maps in 2022 would Democrats pick up seats in the U.S. House and would they potentially control the legislature?” asked Meers.
“It all depends on the political conditions,” explained Wikler. “Generally, Wisconsin is a very evenly divided state,” said Wikler, then commenting that four out of the last six presidential elections came down to less than one percent in Wisconsin. “So, you’d think with eight congressional seat we would have four and four, but instead we have three and five,” Wikler added. “In the state legislature it’s far worse. Republicans are five votes short of a super majority in a 99-member assembly chamber and one vote short of a super majority in out 33-member Senate chamber. Again, the votes in out state are split about evenly in half, so you would think the districts would be cut evenly in half as well.”
“We’ve had several elections where Democrats won many more votes for state legislative seats than Republicans and ended up with a small number of actual legislators … With fair maps, it may not happen in 2022, but over the next decade the moving back-and-forth of political whims should decide who has the majority in the state legislature – that’s the measure of democracy.”
Wikler explained that a future goal of his party is the establishment of a nonpartisan redistricting law in Wisconsin. “We have a shot of restoring democracy through our laws,” said Wikler, noting that there is hope for a “non partisan redistricting law and of restoring voting rights that Republicans have been trying to erode in order to prevent majority rule in Wisconsin and in the United States.”