'Here & Now' Highlights: Barry Burden, McCoshen & Ross

Here's what guests on the Jan. 12, 2024 episode said about the Wisconsin Supreme Court's process for selecting new legislative district maps and the status of the race for president.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

January 16, 2024

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Frederica Freyberg sits at a desk on the Here & Now set and faces a video monitor showing an image of Barry Burden.

Frederica Freyberg and Barry Burden (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

Competing legislative district remedial maps have now been submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for its review — Barry Burden, a political science professor at UW-Madison and director of the Elections Research Center describedwhat’s next in the process and the implications of updated maps. Here & Now’s political analysts — Republican Bill McCoshen and Democrat Scot Ross — discussed the Republican presidential candidates as primaries begin and how the race could shape up in Wisconsin.

Barry Burden
Director, Elections Research Center at UW-Madison

  • With the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejecting a motion to reconsider brought by Republicans in the redistricting lawsuit that overturned existing legislative district maps, and seven proposals submitted by its Jan. 12 deadline, the process of approving remedial maps proceeds. If new maps are implemented that are in keeping with the court’s criteria, Burden said there are implications for the Wisconsin political landscape.
  • Burden: “I think the number one effect will be shaking up incumbents. Districts today are drawn with incumbents in mind. They are players in the process in the state Legislature, so they have their own interests in mind. There are some parts of the state where incumbents’ home addresses are very close to one another, and yet the districts have been drawn to ensure they’re in different districts. So we should expect lots of places where incumbents get thrown in together into the same districts or are forced to make hard decisions. I think that impact will be bigger than the partisan impact, which will surely advantage Democrats, but not probably put both chambers immediately up for grabs for both parties.”


Bill McCoshen and Scot Ross
Republican and Democratic political analysts

  • Former U.S. president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump far outpaced his Republican challengers in the Iowa caucuses. The question for the panelists: what is Trump’s allure even in the face of multiple criminal charges lodged against him?
  • McCoshen: “I think the criminal charges have helped him with his own base. Over the course of 2023, he got stronger, not weaker. You know, 12 months ago, Ron DeSantis was within striking distance of him. And today, Trump is up by 20 or 30 points, depending on the poll you’re looking at. So what I’m looking for on Monday night is expectations. So Trump is up on the Des Moines Register poll by over 20 points. He released his own poll this week that has him up by 30. I’m not sure I would have done that if I were him, because if he comes in less than that, he doesn’t meet expectations.”
  • Ross: “I think that he is an unstoppable force inside of the Republican Party in every poll he’s been up, at least in the state of Wisconsin, amongst Republican voters for the last, I don’t know, since last September, he’s up 50%, over all the challengers. So I think he is holding the party hostage. They have, for the most part, readily accepted that Stockholm syndrome that can win him a primary, but it ain’t going to win him in November because Democrats and independents have rejected him time and time again, particularly in the battleground state of Wisconsin.”


Watch new episodes of Here & Now at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays.

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