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What They’re Saying: “Blatant Power Grabs” in Wisconsin and Michigan

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As Wisconsin Republicans worked through the night to undermine the will of Wisconsin voters and Michigan Republicans prepare to do the same, they face widespread, national condemnation for their undemocratic power grab. Here is some of what leading national thinkers and reporters have to say:

“It’s crazy, it’s undemocratic”- Mark Murray

“[Republicans] have shown they couldn’t care less about the people in their state who opted for a different direction.”Jonathan Capehart


  • “It’s anti-democratic, and anti-republican, and it basically blows up all the norms of what is supposed to be the core feature of a free political system, which is the peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute
  • “Think about how ridiculous it would be if, after the Green Bay Packers recovered a Chicago Bears’ fumble, the Bears immediately petitioned the NFL to outlaw the forward pass when Aaron Rodgers was on the field because Rodgers’ passing gave the Pack a “better chance” to win.
    Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is just what Wisconsin Republicans are proposing.”Michael W. Wagner, UW Madison
  • “The Republican Party continues to show an alarming disrespect for democracy…It is an anti-democratic power grab. It is qualitatively different from the usual lawmaking that occurs during so-called lame-duck sessions, just after an election.” – David Leonhardt, New York Times
  • “Wisconsin Republicans endured a tough election last month, losing all major statewide offices. In response, the lame-duck legislators are calling a so-called extraordinary session. Their agenda? To make it harder for citizens to vote and to strip away powers from newly elected Democratic officials. Michigan Republicans have similar plans, and both are following in the footsteps of their North Carolina peers.”Donald P. Moynihan, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy
  • “In Wisconsin, state Republicans got shellacked, losing the governor’s mansion and losing several legislative seats. In response, they’re about to pass a wave of sore-loser, lame-duck legislation that strips Governor-Elect Tony Evers of much of his power, eliminates the office of solicitor general entirely, preserves a corrupt pro-business board that Evers promised to scrap, and forbids Evers from keeping his campaign promise to stop fighting Obamacare.” –Jay Michaelson, The Daily Beast
  • “When George H.W. Bush departed the Oval Office in 1993, he left a gracious note for the man who had defeated him. “Your success now is our country’s success,” he wrote. “I am rooting hard for you.”
    This gesture still touches Bill Clinton 25 years later. “No words of mine or others can better reveal the heart of who he was than those he wrote himself,” Clinton wrote in a tribute this weekend to an opponent who became a friend.
    Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is sending quite a different message to the man who denied him a third term last month. He is working with Republicans in the legislature to rush through a bill, which could come to the floor as early as today, that would significantly reduce the power of Gov.-elect Tony Evers (D), as well as the incoming Democratic attorney general. It would also ratchet back early voting, which has increased minority participation and benefited Democrats.” James Hohmann, Washington Post
  • “It looks more like party leaders trying arrogantly to hold onto as much power as they can for themselves and the special interests that finance their campaign attack ads. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald intend to usurp power now in the hands of the governor, the attorney general — and the citizens. They’re doing this for one reason: They don’t like who won the election.”Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board
  • “Never in the history of Wisconsin has a transition of power been so warped as this one. The damage that is done may not be as severe as the damage Walker, Vos and Fitzgerald did at the start of their shared experiment in winner-take-all governance, but what’s happening in the Capitol this week does further harm not just to the image of Wisconsin but to the fragile faith that Wisconsinites have in the prospect of functional governance.

    …The bottom line is beyond debate: Walker lost, yet the governor and his cronies are still grabbing at power. “ –
    Cap Times Editorial
  • Another legislative lame duck session; another ridiculous power play by Republicans.
    The bills currently being decided in darkness – with little to no transparency and insufficient time for public debate – are too important to ignore.
    The Michigan Legislature is blatantly ignoring the will of the people.
    That dismantling is happening now, with a false urgency and secrecy that sends a clear message to every voter: What we, the Legislature, want is more important than what you want.
    That’s absurd. And every Michigander should be outraged.
    This behavior is unacceptable. Regardless of where people stand on issues, bullying through controversial legislation in a lame duck session is not the appropriate way to legislate. -Lansing State Journal Editorial Board