On today's BradCast: It was a huge night in Wisconsin on Tuesday, as a progressive candidate for the state Supreme Court trounced a so-called 'conservative' who was backed by another full court press by state and national GOP groups. [Audio link to show follows below.]
It was the first such victory for a progressive vying for an open seat on the state's high court in almost 25 years. Or, as our guest today, author/journalist and Wisconsin's own JOHN NICHOLS describes it: "The first statewide race that really pitted left against right in this kind of way, in the country, in 2018. And the progressives won. And they didn't win by a little."
In fact, the reported results find that progressive Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet crushed Sauk County Judge and GOP attorney Michael Screnock, "literally a point-man for much of [Gov. Scott] Walker's agenda", says Nichols, by 12 points. Walker also saw his ballot proposition that would have done away with the statewide office of Treasurer --- allowing the executive office more control over billions in public education funds and tens of thousands of square miles of public lands --- defeated by an even larger margin.
For his part, Walker, who faces re-election this November, took to Twitter to warn again of a "#BlueWave" coming this November, a continuation of the "WAKE UP CALL" panic he first unleashed after a long-held Republican seat in the State Senate was lost to a Democrat in a special election in January. Nichols observes: "One of the most disciplined political figures in the United States, a guy who really, by any measure, keeps his calm through some of the toughest political fights you've seen, appears to be losing it. He appears to be freaked out by election results he can't control."
"I must say it's especially nice to be talking about something good happening in Wisconsin, rather than our many complex and sad stories," adds Nichols, describing last night's outcome as "the first genuinely good election night for Wisconsin progressives" in many years.
Nichols and I also discuss --- and, yes, debate --- the danger to democracy posed by partisan judicial elections like those in the Badger State and elsewhere across the country. And The Nation's Washington Correspondent and longtime Associate Editor of Madison, Wisconsin's Capital Times also rings in with his thoughts on whether U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) could actually be unseated this November and/or whether he might drop out of the race all together.
Also today: Progressives in Alaska appear to have defeated a so-called "bathroom bill" referendum in Anchorage that would have gutted the city's anti-discrimination law for transgender people; GOP-backed legislation to replace 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems with HAND-MARKED paper ballots moves forward in Missouri's state legislature, despite shameful resistance from Democrats; And Pennsylvania begins to move away from 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting, but leaves the door wide open for unverifiable computer-marked paper ballots, using weasel words in its announcement for vendor bids, seeking systems that feature a "voter-verifiable paper ballot or voter-verifiable paper record of votes cast by the voter" (as opposed to systems featuring hand-marked voter-verifIED paper ballots.)
Finally, we pause to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago today --- while the fight for "what kind of nation we are and what direction we want to move in," as Bobby Kennedy asked on the night of King's death, still continues...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)