Just some of the news that's fit to print

We're fated to live in newsworthy times, it seems. Just keeping up feels like a full time job! On the national level, we got news in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case II — a whopping great $83.3 million for damages and punishment. She is making sure to rub it in by appearing on TV as much as possible, proclaiming that the presence of TFG wasn't intimidating at all. Indeed, she said, in person and stripped of his larger-than-life stage presence, he's really just "nothing." We're still waiting for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on TFG's "absolute immunity" claim. Meanwhile, Judge Engoron has said he will decide the NY State fraud claims and the amount of disgorgement (the money acquired fraudulently) TFG and his crooked business will have to pay (plus whether he and his two oldest sons will ever be able to do business in the state again) very soon, possibly by the end of this week. Plus, Nikki Haley is burrowing deeper and deeper under Boss Tweet's skin: ""Haley Hits Trump on Border and His ‘Rants,’ Saying ‘He Feels Threatened’." It's a lot just on the Groper-in-Chief front.

The Wisconsin political news this past week has also been plentiful. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has now acquired remedial maps — that is proposed maps that remedy or fix the flaws the Court found in the current maps — from all the parties to the case plus the amici (friends of the court). You can find the parties' responses to the submissions as well as all the other documents involved in the case here. The responses to the remedial map submissions are all filed on 1-22-2024. So that's the part of the web page to look at.

Needless to say, GOP legislators were not happy with most of the proposed maps. But they seemed to concede that they were going to have to accept some change. As a result, first the Senate and then the Assembly purported to adopt the remedial map Governor Evers submitted, albeit with just a few little changes. The vote in the Senate came "about a week before two consultants are set to submit a report analyzing several map proposals submitted as part of a redistricting case before the state Supreme Court" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 23, 2024). The "tweaks" legislators proposed were to protect incumbents from having to compete against each other in the revised districts. The article goes on to say that "Republicans passed the map proposal as an amendment to a nonpartisan redistricting bill that the Assembly passed in September. Democrats and the public did not see the amendment before the Senate took it up on the floor." The bill they passed, with four Republican Senators joining all the Democrats voting against it, would establish a new, supposedly non-partisan process for adopting election maps in the future. The Assembly approved the bill and the maps the next day. And Governor Evers promptly promised to veto the bill and its attachment.

And presto: just as I have been writing this account, "Evers vetoes new legislative maps passed by Wisconsin Legislature." So what happens next? The legislature may try to override the governor's veto, "but they likely lack the numbers. The maps passed the Senate 17-14 and passed the Assembly 63-35. Both margins are short of the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override." The veto message focused on two pertinent aspects of the changes the legislature had made to the maps the governor submitted: the "gerrymandering" revision to protect GOP power and the "rushed process" used to pass them.

The resulting maps included two Assembly districts that have “non-contiguous territory in violation of our State Constitution.” Bernard Grofman and Jonathan Cervas, the two consultants the Supreme Court hired, will issue a report on February 1 that evaluates the six maps, "laying out how well the map proposals mesh with the court’s order. If Grofman and Cervas find the parties’ maps don’t meet the court’s guidelines, they will be tasked with drawing their own remedial Assembly and Senate maps for justices to consider." As Craig GlIbert notes in his special article to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday, "The court’s ruling will shape the struggle for power between the two parties. It will determine how competitive legislative elections are going to be here. And it will dictate how responsive those elections will be to shifts in public opinion and in turnout from one year to another."

The maps are one thing, the presidential preference primary is quite another. Who gets on the ballot for that primary is pretty much decided by the "Presidential Preference Selection Committee, which is run by the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin" (Wisconsin Public Radio, January 2, 2024). When the committee met, only seven names were approved for ballot access: former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former NJ Governor Chris Christie, and former AR Governor Asa Hutchinson. Only President Biden was selected to appear in the Democratic primary. (See the account in Spectrum News 1, January 2, 2024). All but *rump and Haley have since dropped out of the GOP race.

Representative Dean Phillips, a congressman from neighboring Minnesota running against President Biden in the Democratic primary, has now asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court "to overrule his exclusion [from the primary ballot] based on a provision of state election law that allows ballot access for candidates who are found to have been recognized as serious contenders by the news media." His campaign has complained that the Presidential Preference Selection Committee's decision will "force him to spend about $300,000 to collect signatures through a separate process to acquire ballot access" (gifted Washington Post article, January 29, 2024). The Court has now "asked a state elections board Monday to respond this week to Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips’s claim that he has been unlawfully left off the state’s April 2 primary ballot." He bases his claim on the fact that he won about "20 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire Democratic primary."

Even though the state's GOP has not been faring so well this past week, the MAGAts in our Assembly decided it would be a good time to pass a 14-week abortion ban — with an interesting twist: if enacted into law, it would "call for a binding statewide referendum" (APNews, January 25, 2024) that would appear on the April 2 ballot. In my opinion that might just be the underlying reason for passing such a bill right now: to boost MAGAt turnout in deep red parts of the state. After all, the Assembly did not need to use such an arcane process. The AP story explains that "the bill deploys a seldom-used process by which a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor can be enacted only with voters' approval."

Jesse Opoien notes that "it is unclear whether it will receive a vote in the Senate, but Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has pledged to veto it." So it seems to be going nowhere. But even if it were enacted, it seems to me, the referendum would kill it. In a June 2023 Marquette University Law School poll, 66% of Wisconsin respondents said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases! Ten Republicans voted against the bill, demonstrating that at least these representatives don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing.

As you know, Vice President Kamala Harris began her nationwide Reproductive Freedom tour in Big Bend, Wisconsin. (Go watch her stunning speech on YouTube.) That was at the beginning of last week. Then President Biden came to Wisconsin at the end of the week: "President Joe Biden's reelection effort bookended the week with a focus on abortion access in Wisconsin, starting with a visit from Vice President Kamala Harris and ending with a statement rebuking an Assembly Republican bill passed Thursday asking voters whether the state should ban abortions after 14 weeks of pregnancy" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 26, 2024). As last year's election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court showed, reproductive freedom is a key issue in Wisconsin politics. Janet Protasiewicz, the candidate who clearly stated that she supports it, won by an astonishing 11%. It remains a hot issue this year. Women's rights are decidedly on the ballot with the U.S. Supreme Court about to hear and decide the mifepristone case. That decision will come out in June 2024. Whichever way it goes, it's bound to keep abortion rights in the thick of the presidential race both here and nationwide. And I say, bring it on!

In addition to the items in the Events list, please consider volunteering with the WisDems.

Voter Protection Team

Join one of our upcoming VoPro 101 trainings! Interested in learning more about Wisconsin election law and how you can help people exercise their right to vote? Attend one of our upcoming Voter Protection 101 Trainings! We will resume offering these biweekly trainings on this upcoming Thursday (1/25) and we would love for you to join us. We will cover election law basics, voter registration, and available resources, and talk about how you can get involved protecting democracy in your community. Sign up for a VoPro 101 session.

Phonebank with us! We will have two phonebank time slots a week, on Monday nights from 5-7pm CT and Thursday afternoons from 12-2pm CT. We will offer training at the beginning of each phonebank and there is no experience required; all you need is yourself and your computer! Sign up for a phonebank that works best for you here and invite anyone you know who might be interested.


Tuesday, January 30

League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Support, 6:00 - 8:00pm

Candidate forum season is officially underway! The League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County provides facilitation services for Candidate Forums. We need volunteers in the roles of moderator, timer, greeter, and question sorter and forum coordinator. This training will introduce you to all of these roles and you can signup to help with Forums already planned and be ready to help with more as they are scheduled. Registration and Event Link.

Wednesday, January 31

Wisconsin Justice Initiative Candidate Forum, 12:00 - 1:15pm
Riverfront Pizzeria Bar & Grill, 509 E Erie St, Milwaukee

WJI hosts an in-person Salon with the two candidates in the sole contested race for Milwaukee County Circuit Court this spring. Marisabel Cabrera and Rochelle Johnson-Bent vie for an open seat. They'll introduce themselves and then take your questions. Please join us! The election is April 2, 2024. Buffet lunch includes pasta, pizza, and salad. There's no charge if you don't want linch. With lunch the cost, including gratuity, is $18. In either case, you need to sign up.

Symposium on Human Trafficking, 1:30 - 2:30pm

Join us in honor of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Representative Jodi Emerson and I are hosting this Educational Symposium on Human Trafficking. This symposium is an opportunity to delve into the issue of human trafficking, with firsthand accounts from survivors and insights from experts. We'll discuss the human impact, recent advancements, and strategies for strengthening our response to this crisis. A Q&A session will follow the presentations. Register.

Tribes 101: Tribal Sovereignty, Law, and working with Tribes and Native Communities, 5:00 - 7:00pm

Join the Native American Coalition in a virtual training session dedicated to tribal relations. Presented by Arvina Martin, Executive Director of Emerge Wisconsin (Ho-Chunk & Stockbridge Munsee). Register.

Thursday, February 1

Registration at Urban League Drivers Training Classes, Various
Milwaukee Urban League, 435 W North Ave, Milwaukee

Supermarket Legends have a new opportunity to answer questions about voting and to help with voter registration on the last days of the spring drivers training classes at the Milwaukee Urban League, 435 West North Avenue. We need volunteers to be available on February 1 at 1:30pm. If you can help, contact Linea Sundstrom.

Saturday, February 3

WisDems 60 Days to Victory Canvass, shifts beginning at 9:00am and 12:00pm
4516 N Newhall St

Join the Shorewood Dems for our 60 Days to Victory Canvass! We'll be getting together 60 Days out from the April election to knock on doors and mobilize our neighbors to vote in February, April, and beyond. First time canvassing? No problem! We will give you a thorough training and all of the materials you need to have effective conversations with voters. Sign up.

WisDems 60 Days to Victory Friendbank, various times and North Shore communities.
Join the North Shore Dems for our 60 Days to Victory Friendbank! We'll be getting together to learn how to activate and engage our networks using the Reach app for relational organizing. Join us to text our networks to hear what issues matter to them and to make plans to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket in 2024!

  • Fox Point, 7632 N Beach Dr, 10:00 - 11:00am: Sign up
  • Glendale, 6563 N Crestwood Dr, 4:00 - 6:00pm: Sign up
  • Whitefish Bay, 4845 N Newhall St, 12:30 - 2:00pm: Sign up

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
27th and National Ave, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Sunday, February 4

Grassroots North Shore presents: Authoritarian Candidates in the Nation and in Wisconsin, 5:00 - 6:30pm

Are We Dealing with Rising Fascism? Our featured speaker, Ruth Ben-Giat, Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power, and how resistance to them has unfolded over a century. Senator Chris Larson will discuss Wisconsin's own local versions of strongmen who threaten democracy. Can we unseat them and restore balance and democracy to the state? RSVP here. This event is the Annual Fundraiser for Grassroots North Shore. So please donate to keep our virtual doors open: Donate.

Thursday, February 8

Milwaukee Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon, 11:45am - 1:30pm
Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St., Milwaukee

Craig Gilbert, former Washington bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and current Lubar Fellow at Marquette University Law School, will be the guest speaker. Gilbert, who has covered every presidential campaign since 1988, also has written extensively about competition for the swing states of the industrial Midwest, the region’s shifting political map, its increasingly polarized political culture and the deepening urban-rural divide. His work has been recognized by Editor & Publisher, the National Press Foundation, the National Headliner Awards, the Milwaukee Press Club, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He has continued to provide that analysis in his work at the Lubar Center since retiring from the Journal Sentinel in 2022. The cost to attend is $25 for MPC members, $30 for non-members and $20 for students. Lunch is included. Seating is limited. Advanced registration and payment are required and may be done online.

Saturday, February 10

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Port Washington and Silver Spring, Glendale

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Laughing Liberally Milwaukee, Comedy Sportz, 420 S 1st St, Milwaukee
With right wing attacks on LGBTQ rights, abortion rights, voting rights and more, we need progressive laughs now more than ever. That’s why we’re excited to present Laughing Liberally Milwaukee, a monthly progressive political comedy show featuring Milwaukee’s top liberal and progressive comedians. Comedians on the February 10th bill include Kristin Lytie, Maros Lara, Sasha Rosser, Josh Fred and sketch comedy troupe The Accountants Of Homeland Security. In addition to some of the finest progressive comedians Milwaukee has to offer, each Laughing Liberally Milwaukee features a special interview with a local activist, journalist, or political figure. This month’s guest is Tomika Vukovic from Wisconsin Voices. Laughing Liberally Milwaukee is hosted by comedian, cartoonist and satirist Matthew Filipowicz. Buy tickets ($8).

Monday, February 12

North Shore Fair Maps Meeting: Words and Data Matter, 7:00 - 8:30pm

With American democracy on the line, how do we talk to people about what matters? How do we analyze those dang polls? Learn from the masters: Anat Shenker-Osorio, perhaps the best message-master in the United States; and Michael Podhorzer, who understands data better than anybody. Sign up for the monthly NSFM meeting. Speaking of messages, Season 3 of Anat’s podcast "Words to Win By” is now live! Check it out HERE.


Friday, February 16

Be a Voice, 5:00 - 9:00pm
Milwaukee's Original Oktoberfest by The Bavarian Bierhaus
700 West Lexington Boulevard Glendale

Join us for our 2nd Annual Wisconsin Voices Gala. This year the theme is Be A Voice! Donation amounts range for $75 for a single seat up to $20,000 for PLATINUM Exclusive Presenting Sponsor, with a host of benefits for the sponsor. You can donate and buy tickets online.

Saturday, February 17

Get Out the Vote - Spring Primary, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Help connect with Ozaukee County voters ahead of the February 20 Spring Primary Election. You can contact us at Oz Dems Events.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Sherman Blvd and North Ave, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.

Sunday, February 18

Get Out the Vote - Spring Primary, shifts begin at 12:00 and 3:00pm
6563 N Crestwood Dr, Glendale

Join Grassroots Glendale as we get out the vote for the February primary! We'll be reaching out to our networks to make vote plans. This is a great opportunity to encourage regular voting and help out our likeminded local candidates! Sign up.

Monday, February 19

MKE County Dems Monthly Meeting, 6:00pm
Potawatomi Hotel, 1721 W Canal St, Milwaukee

he Democratic Party of Milwaukee County holds its monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month. Join with fellow Democrats to hear from important speakers, to learn about upcoming Dem events, and to discuss important issues with each other.

Friday, March 8

International Women's Day, 12:30 - 3:30
Marcus Performing Arts Center

Presented by the Women's Leadership Collaboration. Registration and networking at 12:30; Keynote speaker Emilie Aries at 1:00; Inspire Inclusion activity at 2:00. Registration will begin the week of February February 5. Watch for information for signing up.

Sunday, March 24

Milwaukee County Dems Annual Gala, times TBA
631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee
</br />The year's theme: "Democracy — Our Sacred Cause." More information to follow.

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