Ben Wikler on Wisconsin voters and 2022 election security

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler discusses why the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and how voting is conducted in the state continues to be significant in partisan politics.

By Zac Schultz | Here & Now

November 7, 2022

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Ben Wikler:
For the last year and a half, we've seen Republicans make their case for why they should be their party's nominees. And over and over, it's about going back in time and undoing the 2020 election, or rigging the next one, instead of actually addressing the need that Wisconsin families have to make sure that jobs come back to the United States, that we have protections for our seniors and for people with preexisting conditions. I mean, these are bread and butter issues that folks like Mandela Barnes and Tony Evers have dedicated their lives to. It's Republicans who keep pushing these really far out, extreme, kind of ultra Trumpist, ultra-MAGA ideas about changing election laws if they don't like the outcome. So that, I think, speaks, as they say, "It's not just what the candidates say about the issues, it's what the issues say about the candidates. And when Republicans want to scrap bipartisan oversight of our elections so that they can put their own people in charge and potentially flip an election if they don't like what voters decide, that is just an un-American, un-Wisconsin way to approach a democracy.

Zac Schultz:
We've heard Tony Evers say that some of these ideas and policies that are being proposed are undemocratic. We heard Joe Biden say, "The Republicans are going towards semi fascism." Are there those statements too strong for what we're seeing in the moment?

Ben Wikler:
It is really no exaggeration when you look at January 6th. We know that Ron Johnson was trying to give fake electors to Mike Pence so that he could ignore the will of Wisconsin voters. We know that Derrick Van Orden was at the insurrection at the capital. We saw an ultra Trumpist, ultra-MAGA insurrection try to stop American democracy from functioning, to use violence to freeze it in its tracks. That's a threat to the flag that people have fought and died for, to the very idea of America. So as we think about this fall, it's really about freedom. It's the freedom to be able to choose our own leaders, the freedom to decide what to do with our own bodies, the freedom to be able to prosper and support our families. This is a very serious moment in the history of our country, and it's hard to think of words that would be too strong to express the stakes in this fall's election.

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