Gerrymandering FitzWalkerstan

Last week I wrote about the GOP plans to redistrict the state. Typically this happens in the fall, but this is no typical year in Wisconsin.

Mike McCabe from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign told me that the Republicans could very well unveil the secret plans this week and try to ram it down the state’s throat while they still have a majority. (The recalls could change that.)

Well, lo and behold, that’s exactly what the Republicans are doing. In classic drop bad news on a Friday fashion, the GOP unveiled the maps last Friday. And it’s not pretty.

Jeff Fitzgerald, Assembly leader, said last month the Dems might sue. It’s easy to understand why.

In fact, the proposal would knock several candidates out of the districts they are running in right now in the recall elections.

State representative Fred Clark, Democrat of Baraboo, would no longer be in Senate District 14, where he is campaigning to replace senator Luther Olsen, who is a vulnerable candidate. Nancy Nussbaum, who is running against senator Rob Cowles, would no longer live in District 2.

And senator Bob Wirch would no longer be living in his current district, and instead be in a more conservative District 21.

These changes would not be in effect for the recalls, but by 2012. If the GOP loses any seats this summer, the new redistricting could help it retake seats in 2012.

Perhaps we should no longer be shocked by the Wisconsin Republican tactics. As Rep. Kelda Helen Roys told the Wisconsin State Journal, “I never expected the Republicans would act fairly, but I am appalled.”

Ultimately, this will cost the state a lot of money in lawsuits. And aren’t we having a budget crisis? No matter. The GOP has been going non-stop to press its agenda, and is very worried about losing control of the senate due to the recalls.

Normally, the redistricting process starts at the local level and then the state steps in. But the Fitzgerald brothers are running things differently. In FitzWalkerstan, up is down, the map is fair, and rules don’t really matter.

So this week we will see another “extraordinary session,” similar to what happened in March. Will we see protests too?

If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Redrawing the map of FitzWalkerstan."

Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter