Democracy Is Hanging By a Thread in Wisconsin. Blame Extreme Voting Maps.

On a new episode of Reveal, our National Voting Rights Correspondent Ari Berman delves into how Republicans cemented control of the state legislature. In this October 2021 photo, opponents of the Republican redistricting efforts staged a rally at the state Capitol in Madison.Scott Bauer/AP

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On Saturday, former President Barack Obama will be campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for Democratic candidates in close contests for governor and U.S. Senate, urging voters to go to the polls. But when it comes to controlling state politics, Democrats are facing an uphill battle.

While elections are often decided by razor-thin margins in this pivotal swing state, Republican control of the state legislature is now all but assured. Thanks to rampant gerrymandering, Wisconsin Republicans are within grasp this year of gaining a two-thirds supermajority in the legislature, which would give them remarkable power to override the governor’s veto and implement an extreme and unpopular agenda on issues ranging from guns to education to abortion. It could even give them the ability to overturn the results of elections.

My recent feature for Mother Jones exploring how the state became the GOP’s laboratory for dismantling democracy is now accompanied by a podcast and radio show produced with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The segment goes deep inside the GOP’s decade-long strategy to make Wisconsin voter-proof and looks at how what happens in 2022 will determine the future of fair elections in 2024 and beyond.

You can listen to my segment here:

My reporting trip to Wisconsin is part of a bigger Reveal episode studying how extreme new laws built on Trump’s Big Lie are cracking down on a phantom problem: widespread voter fraud. I hope you will check it out here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaires wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2022 demands.

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