How Gerrymandering Could Be Impacting Coronavirus Response In Wisconsin
The way district maps are drawn in Wisconsin could be impacting the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Cases of coronavirus are currently surging across the state, breaking records for Wisconsin. The White House Coronavirus Task Force now considers Wisconsin a “red zone.”
Despite the rise in cases and hospitalizations, most establishments are open and welcoming masked customers. Gov. Tony Evers recently extended a statewide mask mandate in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus. The governor has faced a backlash from the Legislature about his executive orders in the past and this time is no different.
David Daley is the author of a book on partisan gerrymandering. He says the sparring between Wisconsin’s Democratic governor and its Republican Legislature all leads back to gerrymandering.
“They are able to behave in such a way as to be completely impervious to anything that the public wants — even if it’s masks during a pandemic that 70% of voters back,” he said.
Daley says the state government in Wisconsin has become disconnected from politics largely due to uncompetitive districts being drawn. The state Legislature will have another chance to redraw the map following this year’s census. The coronavirus pandemic brought the divisiveness between the state’s Democratic governor and the Republican Legislature to the forefront.
“You’re seeing a state Legislature that is willing to sue the governor over masks, a state Legislature willing to sue the governor to force a primary election to take place in April," he said. "The result of this is citizens don’t have a voice.”
Daley says the argument some Republicans make in defense of the current district maps is that their party is more geographically diverse and therefore has support in more areas of the state.