January 26, 2023

Wisconsin Supreme Court: How We Continue Building a Progressive Decade

Wisconsin has always been a hub for progressive ideals, from education to labor rights and more. But after the election of Republican Governor Scott Walker, the progressive landscape and the opportunities that came with it drastically changed. But Wisconsin isn’t giving up on reviving their progressive past – and neither are we.
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Wisconsin has always been a hub for progressive ideals, from education to labor rights and more. But after the election of Republican Governor Scott Walker, the progressive landscape and the opportunities that came with it drastically changed. Together, residents witnessed gerrymandering that has lasted more than a decade and a Republican takeover that continues to create barriers to voting. But Wisconsin isn’t giving up on reviving their progressive past – and neither are we.

On April 4th, there’s going to be a must-win Supreme Court race in Wisconsin that could give Democrats a 4-3 majority in the state Supreme Court. Democrats would have a chance to draw fair maps, win a trifecta, and pick up as many as two House seats — which we absolutely need to win back Congress. 

With the pathway to the Presidency once again moving through Wisconsin in 2024, we need a SCOWIS that will uphold our democracy and pass decisions supporting voters and expanding access.  That’s one of many reasons why this election will have a huge impact on everything. As Wisconsin State Advisor, Reema Ahmed explains: “This Spring, we have a golden opportunity to make a game-changing difference in Wisconsin’s political trajectory.” 

Since 2020, the Supreme Court in Wisconsin (SCOWIS) has made repeated decisions that limit voting rights and voter access with support from right-wing elected officials. Just this month, Wisconsin Elections Commissioner, Bob Spindell, celebrated voter suppression tactics that lowered Black and brown voter turnout— and he isn’t alone. Executive Director of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), Angela Lang pointed out in a recent Op-ed: “Spindell said the quiet parts out loud. We have known for years that voter suppression has been a well thought out plan.” 

MVP local partners like BLOC are positioned to engage communities being targeted by these anti-democratic disinformation and voter suppression. BLOC is deeply invested in disrupting political spaces and building Black political power year-round. Along with the Wisconsin Working Families Party, they’ve endorsed one of the four candidates currently running for the 10-year term on the Court: Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell. If elected, Mitchell would become the second Black justice on the Court in its 170-year history.

If we win this race, progressives and communities of color in all parts of the state could finally bring a list of key issues forward – including repealing the 1849 state abortion ban which is especially crucial following the overturn of Roe v Wade by the US Supreme Court. 

But if we want to win in a state with such close election margins, turning out the base in all parts of the state — including in counties like the Republican stronghold of Waukesha — is critical. Even in Waukesha County, a place where progressive organizations have long deprioritized for building political power, MVP is supporting Blue Sky Waukesha (BSW). By tapping in with progressives across Waukesha county, the organization has grown from a small group of progressives looking for community among their neighbors to a membership based organization that engages in voter education, outreach, and turnout. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court race is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars on both sides. As in previous elections, we know the sooner we move money, the better so that local partners have the resources to expand their door-knock universes and reach every potential voter multiple times.

Wisconsin Organizations to Support

MVP is advising donors to support at least 20 vetted local partner organizations, which will be running door-to-door outreach in at least 30 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, and have an aggregated budget of more than $4 million for this campaign. Here are a few examples:

 

  • BLOC 
  • Citizen Action of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Working Families Party
  • Voces de la Frontera Action

 

To give immediately, you can donate online to support Wisconsin via MVP’s Wisconsin Fund – which regrants 100% of funds to partner organizations. You can also contact your MVP liaison or [email protected] to move larger gifts, make custom donations, or get more information on giving options, wire transfer info, or gifts of appreciated stock.

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