Brookfield, WI – Imagine the Green Bay Packers playing the Chicago Bears, in Soldier Field, but the Packers were only allowed to field 8 players, while the Bears had their usual 11. It would be difficult at best for the Packers to win, if not impossible. But in Wisconsin politics, Fifth Congressional District candidate Tom Palzewicz and other Dems for state and national office have to deal with Republican gerrymandering to win seats.
Partisan gerrymandering, orchestrated by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have made certain that only 10% of legislative districts and no congressional districts offer real choices to Wisconsin voters. District maps have been redrawn, making it difficult if not impossible for Democrats to win in some districts including the fifth.
Jay Heck, the Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin for the last 22 years, wrote an op-ed in the July 22 edition of the Wisconsin Examiner, laying out the long history of lies and deceit championed by the state’s two most powerful Republican politicians. It is Fitzgerald that will benefit from the heavily gerrymandered Fifth District in his race against Palzewicz this fall.
Heck wrote, “Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald have long opposed any and all attempts to bring even an iota of fairness and impartiality to the redistricting process of state legislative and congressional districts in Wisconsin. Indeed, their fear of a fair system that would provide Wisconsin voters with legitimate competitive elections and genuine choices at election time is such that they have quashed any and all efforts to allow even a public hearing on the issue in the Wisconsin Legislature since 2009.
“The very dirty, not-so secret truth is that both Vos and Fitzgerald have long depended on their absolute control of the redistricting process to enable each to enforce their iron-clad demand for allegiance and absolute obedience to their political and policy objectives and quash any dissent or independent thinking among rank and file legislators in their respective partisan caucuses.”
For Palzewicz the focus is on the needs of the Fifth District and the nation.
“We just have to work harder,” said Palzewicz. “At least the football field is always 100 yards long, so the field is fair. What you see in Wisconsin is authoritarian rule, which is exactly what we’re getting from Donald Trump. Democracy? In Wisconsin? I promise to be loyal to the U.S. Constitution and the people of Wisconsin. Wisconsin and America have to come first, not self-interest and political power.”
Fitzgerald and Vos have asserted that all bi-partisan efforts and plans that have been brought before the Wisconsin legislature are “unconstitutional.” But Heck writes, “according to the Wisconsin Legislative Council and virtually every constitutional expert — such as University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor David Canon to name just one — the measure is fully compliant with Wisconsin’s Constitution.”
Fitzgerald and Vos oppose efforts by Governor Tony Evers to establish a non-partisan commission to draw state legislative and congressional districts, calling that unconstitutional and illegal.
“Democracy thrives when people are given the freedom of choice,” Palzewicz explained. “When voters are denied that choice we are left with the desires of special interests and chosen few.”