So how will Wisconsin Republicans try to rig the state electorate in their favor? Will they try to kill same-day registration, even though Gov. Scott Walker has sorta-kinda distanced himself from that? Will they up the ante on voter ID? Will the sabotage the GAB? Will they go for the cherry on top and rig the electoral college to reflect the vote in gerrymandered districts? Or do they have another secret bomb they want to drop?
Tough to say, but rest assured they'll try something. And odds are good that whatever they do will either make it harder for black people to vote or make their votes count for less. After all, it's been a dream of theirs for more than a decade.
Wisconsin Republicans insist that cracking down on voting, whether its voter ID or killing same-day registration, is all about ensuring integrity at the polls. They can't prove there's a problem substantial enough to justify these actions -- but trust them, there are problems out there! Glenn Grothman said just that. Fortunately, their voter suppressing compatriots in other states have been more candid: The laws are about suppressing turnout. Oh: and voter fraud is a myth.
Now one could be generous and say Republicans want to suppress the black vote because of the way they vote, not because of the color of their skin. However, there's no question this issue motivates the Republican base because, let's face it, the Republican base in Wisconsin -- many of them first or second generation white flighters from Milwaukee to Waukesha -- have less than complimentary views of black people. And I would suggest that believing, without evidence, that lots of black people vote illegally (a view regularly promulgated by Charlie Sykes as he constantly complains about voter fraud in the "central city") is racist on its face.
This case of racial paranoia is nothing new among white people in Wisconsin. Back during the 50s, some white folks speculated that billboards were going up in the south directing black people to move to Milwaukee. During the 1960s and early 1970s white flight was rampant.
Tommy Thompson won his first gubernatorial election by insisting that Milwaukee was a welfare magnet for black people from Chicago who were apparently to shiftless to work but such shrewd economic actors that they would uproot their lives and families to move north. Thompson's revolting claims were a longstanding urban legend among racist white folks and while many conservatives uphold the "welfare magnet" line to this day, all available research said it was not true.
Put in this light, the Wisconsin GOP's obsession with suppressing the black vote has a long-running and shameful pedigree.
The push to make it harder for black people to vote in Wisconsin has been going on for 12 years. As we wait for the catastrophe that will be the next session of the Wisconsin legislature, I thought it would make sense to provide a handy timeline.