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Hungary on Lake Superior

September 25, 2019, Washington, District of Columbia, USA: UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 25: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., talks with reporters in the Senate subway on the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (Credit Image: © Caroline Brehman/Congressional Quarterly via ZUMA Press)

Let’s say you don’t think that Wisconsin’s gun laws are compatible with its very broad and subjective standard for self-defense claims. You would have no way of redressing this. Wisconsin does not offer democratic elections for the state legislature, and a fanatical pro-gun coalition is hardwired into control irrespective of who the voters prefer. And even if you could get a gun control bill passed, a 6-3 Supreme Court majority representing a minority faction would probably throw it out anyway.

The Republican takeaway from all this is that Wisconsin still has too much democracy:

Republicans in Wisconsin are engaged in an all-out assault on the state’s election system, building off their attempts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential race by pressing to give themselves full control over voting in the state.

The Republican effort — broader and more forceful than that in any other state where allies of former President Donald J. Trump are trying to overhaul elections — takes direct aim at the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, an agency Republicans created half a decade ago that has been under attack since the chaotic aftermath of last year’s election.

The onslaught picked up late last month after a long-awaited report on the 2020 results that was ordered by Republican state legislators found no evidence of fraud but made dozens of suggestions for the election commission and the G.O.P.-led Legislature, fueling Republican demands for more control of elections.

Then the Trump-aligned sheriff of Racine County, the state’s fifth most populous county, recommended felony charges against five of the six members of the election commission for guidance they had given to municipal clerks early in the pandemic. The Republican majority leader of the State Senate later seemed to give a green light to that proposal, saying that “prosecutors around the state” should determine whether to bring charges.

And last week, Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, said that G.O.P. state lawmakers should unilaterally assert control of federal elections, claiming that they had the authority to do so even if Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, stood in their way — an extraordinary legal argument debunked by a 1932 Supreme Court decision and a 1964 ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. His suggestion was nonetheless echoed by Michael Gableman, a conservative former State Supreme Court justice who is conducting the Legislature’s election inquiry.

Republican control of Wisconsin elections is necessary, Mr. Johnson said in an interview on Wednesday, because he believes Democrats cheat.

All of these anti-democratic actions are mutually reinforcing. If the Supreme Court has told you that refusing to hold democratic elections for legislature is just fine, why not just throw out election results you don’t like altogether? And when your legislators can’t be held accountable there’s no reason not to arrogate them more arbitrary power. It’s a disastrous situation.

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