In Wisconsin, the leadership of the Republican Party demonstrated that it is more than willing to kill people in order to hold onto its power. This is not hyperbole.
The travesty of holding an in-person election in Wisconsin on April 7, amid the peak of this coronavirus pandemic was avoidable. There was ample opportunity for the Republican-led legislature to postpone the election and shift it to be largely conducted by mail. They balked at the idea of doing this.
Why? Because limiting the ability for the state’s residents to vote by mail and having a decreased in-person voter turnout as a result of voters’ concerns over the virus would benefit the Republican Party’s chances of retaining the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat that was up for election.
It is well-known electoral math that a higher turnout in Wisconsin tends to benefit the Democratic Party, while a lower turnout tends to benefit the Republican Party. The same is true across most of the United States. President Trump admitted as much when he critiqued the notion of allowing greater access nationwide to mail-in voting, declaring that doing so would cause, “levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again."
It is a sick and antidemocratic reality but the Republican Party, rather than seeking to position itself as a voice of the electorate, instead opted to to suppress the vote of the electorate. This desire to suppress voters has given rise to voter ID laws in many states including Wisconsin, strategic mass purges of voter rolls by Republican state secretaries and even the equivalent of a modern-day poll tax for the restoration voting rights in Florida.
This movement by the Republican Party to suppress voters has now reached its most sinister incarnation: An outright willingness to cause death in exchange for political gain.
For weeks, prominent Democratic figures in Wisconsin, such as Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, had been calling for the state to take action and allow the election to be conducted entirely by mail-in ballots.
Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers pushed the state legislature to pass legislation that would allow an all-mail election by sending a ballot to every registered voter that had not already requested one, and by extending the period in which such ballots could be turned-in. He called a special session of the state legislature as a move intended to have them pass such legislation. Many Republican legislators did not even show up to the session, which Republican leaders adjourned quickly, refusing to even entertain these measures which would have protected lives and empowered voters.
Satirical publication The Onion went so far as to quip that Wisconsin voters, in lieu of “I voted” stickers, would receive “I voted” gravestones. I would not be surprised if we see an epitaph or obituary out of Wisconsin which invokes the GOP as the culprit for their death.