HIGH STAKES: Chris Christie says re-electing Walker & other GOP governors vital to Republican re-capture of White House | WisCommunity

HIGH STAKES: Chris Christie says re-electing Walker & other GOP governors vital to Republican re-capture of White House

in a candid moment, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has just put Republican-friendly business groups in Wisconsin and other swing states on notice: Re-elect Scott Walker and other embattled GOP governors, so that they continue to control the "voting mechanisms" when in two years the nation next votes for a president.

According to the Bergen County (N.J.) Record newspaper, Christie said party affiliation of governors will figure greatly in the next presidential election. Christie reportedly told national business supporters this [boldfacing added]:

“Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?”

Christie heads up the Republican Governors Association, which has dumped big bucks into Wisconsin on behalf of Walker's well-heeled but struggling campaign. The controversial Christie made his comments at an event held by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington. The politically conservative chamber has spent millions supporting Republican candidates. Christie for his own gubernatorial contribution to continued GOP control vetoed a New Jersey bill to extend that state's early voting period.

The New Jersey governor seems a bit unschooled on how Wisconsin election law works. For example, governors and secretaries of state in Wisconsin do not directly control the election system, as they do in some other states, like Florida, Texas and Ohio, where GOP partisans have thrown legitimate citizens off the voter roles for the flimsiest of reasons. Nevertheless, Wisconsin lawmakers do control the purse strings as well as overall policy, and the Republicans lately have made menacing comments about doing away with the state's nonpartisan Government Accountability Board that oversees elections, replacing it with a partisan board appointed by the governor. What could possibly go wrong?

Beyond that, Wisconsin Repubs have been tinkering with the state's election process since 2010 when along with Walker they completed a sweep, seizing total state government power. Worst of their self-serving moves: Gerrymandering state legislative districts to virtually assure themselves a decade of control even when -- as has already happened -- they collect fewer overall votes.

Also, of course, Wisconsin Republicans reduced hours for early voting and have tried mightily to implement Voter ID, which would deprive tens or hundreds of thousands of state voters their ability to cast a ballot through unnecessary red tape. What further damage can they do using their blueprint for unassailable, one-party rule? Well, wise Wisconsin voters should go to the polls in two weeks in the full realization  that the GOP's slow coup is the key issue underlying the November ballot.

Nor is all this just some feverish conspiracy theory. There's plenty of smoking-gun evidence that the GOP, aided by hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate "dark money" campaign support, have colluded to grab total, authoritarian control over the nation's political levers of power. Permanent control, if they can manage it. And that's pretty much the definition of an oligarchy, a dictatorship and authoritarian rule. Heck, in unguarded moments, more than one Republican lawmaker has even blurted out this goal, as when one fellow in another state was heard telling his pals Voter ID was how Republicans would ensure their own re-elections, by suppressing the votes of those "other" citizens who don't hold GOP views.

Naturally, Christie characterizes Republican control of statehouses as the only way to ensure "fair" elections, but political scientists, independents and groups that support minorities and other already disenfranchised citizens know better -- it's the way the Republican Party will further marginalize elections so it can retain control despite its shrinking political base.

So, Walker's poor performance as governor the past four years isn't even the biggest reason why Wisconsin voters should turn out in droves to turn him out. No, the biggest reason is that if he and other Republicans aren't shown the door, it might be impossible -- short of criminal indictments -- for voters to get rid of him and his supporting cast for years to come. And remember: According to Christie, the continuing power of Walker and other GOP governors is key to ensuring the next president of the U.S. is also Republican.

The vote remains yours, for now. Use it wisely. Throw our self-appointed bosses out, starting with the governor.

Published

October 22, 2014 - 9:52pm

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