Wisconsin GOP voter fraud hysteria reflects its arrogance and two-party system decay

One of the only highlights of the Wisconsin recall election for Democrats and those on the left, or anyone really who was opposed to Scott Walker’s strong arm political tactics, is that the GOP lost control of the State Senate. John Lehman (D) prevailed over incumbent Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) by a 1.2% margin, which the GOP is now alleging came about because of voter fraud.

“In the absence of a voter ID law and so many people suspicious of the election result, bitterness and division will only grow if the results are not recounted,” said Wanggaard in a June 15 press release announcing his recount request. Wanggard (wang-hard?) lost by 834 votes out of 72,000 cast.

The GOP seems to forget that Walker and three other Wisconsin Senators fought off the recall and there has hardly been any chorus of “voter fraud” from Democrats, except for maybe some disgruntled voters on the fringes. Most Wisconsin voters have abided by the recall votes and are looking to move on.

Not the GOP, though. If they had maintained their Senate majority in addition to the Assembly majority, Walker & Co would still be able to ram various pieces of ALEC-approved legislation down the throats of Wisconsin citizens without a civil public debate.

As The Center for Media & Democracy’s PRWatch notes:

The right-wing group called “Media Trackers” also ran stories hyping allegations of fraud in Wanggaard’s district of Racine. A major allegation was that election officials allowed a voter to register with improper proof of residency, despite challenges from Lou D’Abbraccio, who the group identified as “an election observer working with conservative local groups.” Media Trackers did not disclose that D’Abbraccio, who supporters say “can be loud as hell when he needs to be,” is on the Board of the Racine County Republican Party and runs the Racine GOP poll watching program.

Wisconsin GOP voter fraud hysteria reflects its arrogance and two-party system decay
Pictured above: Wisconsin State Senator Van Wanggaard (R).

The Chicago Tribune noted that Lake County, Illinois Republicans traveled to Racine to act as poll watchers but who instead, not surprisingly, acted as agitators with one Illinois elected official berating a voter wearing a Recall Walker pin and others crying voter fraud foul. Did the Wisconsin recall election really need out-of-state poll watchers from either party?

What Wisconsin’s GOP voter fraud hysteria actually reflects, however, is a certain arrogance amongst conservatives that the state and, indeed, national electorate could not possibly fully endorse their austerity measures. What more do they want? Walker is still the governor, they control the Wisconsin assembly, and Democrats have only a one person majority in the State Senate. The only reality that it imposes on the GOP is that now they will be forced, to a degree, to actually work with the Democrats.

Checks and balances are commonly viewed as a good thing in American democracy, or at least what passes for democracy in the two-party system. The Romans had the Tribunes, popular elected officials who could convene the Plebian Council. Tribunes also had the ability to check the legislation of the Roman Senate with a veto. This was a good thing.

And so it shall be with a Democratic majority in the Wisconsin State Senate. As the two-party system shows more and more signs of decay, we should be under no illusions that anything fruitful will come from either a one party majority or a robust two-party debate—but to check one party’s tyranny is always wise.

[Image: AP]