Isthmus: A Republican Without a Party

Isthmus: A Republican Without a Party

A Republican Without a Party: Longtime Political Aide Breaks with Trump’s GOP, November 2018

For one longtime committed Republican, the midterm election results proved to be “modestly encouraging” — because of how well the Democrats did.

Joseph Britt of Sun Prairie spent a couple of decades working for Republicans, including for U.S. Sen. Bob Kasten and Justice David Prosser, when Prosser was the state Assembly Republican leader in the early 1990s. But Britt, who has worked in the private sector since the mid-1990s, has grown increasingly disenchanted with the Republican Party and its leaders over the past two decades.

Joseph Britt: “The party of Trump is the party of the Charlottesville white-right mob.”

Britt has been sharing his political change of heart with friends and on social media for a while, but with a 25-part tweetstorm on Oct. 8 he made a complete break with the GOP, declaring “I’m out.”

“What is there left of Lincoln in today’s Republican Party? Of Theodore Roosevelt? Nothing,” Britt wrote in the penultimate tweet from that thread. “The party of Trump is the party of the Charlottesville white-right mob, the party of concentrated wealth, and perhaps most of all the party that rejects responsibility.”

His digital cri de coeur generated more than 11,000 retweets and more than three times as many likes. It multiplied the number of followers he has a startling sevenfold, he says, now reaching 5,600 at last count.

One of Britt’s souvenirs from “time raising money on the phone for the Republican National Committee.”

… For the 60-year-old Britt, the GOP is all but unrecognizable from the one that caught his attention while he was growing up on Long Island in a modest middle-class community. He says he was a political junkie in a largely non-political family by the time he was a teenager. A few years after college he went to work on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide, eventually joining Kasten’s office to specialize in agricultural policy. Traveling around Wisconsin for meetings with Kasten’s farm advisors, he grew to love the Dairy State and eagerly returned to work for Prosser and settle down here a few years later. …

 

Milwaukee Magazine: The Long-Lasting Effects of Redistricting in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Magazine: The Long-Lasting Effects of Redistricting in Wisconsin

The Long-Lasting Effects of Redistricting in Wisconsin, October 2017

Following 2010’s Republican-friendly mid-term election and the decennial census, many states, including Wisconsin, rewrote their congressional and legislative boundaries to favor the right wing. Our state is also one in 37 in which legislatures (and by extension political parties) have final control over the maps, as opposed to special bodies. However, it had been decades since a single party had control of state government during decennial redistricting…

There’s a word for drawing districts that give a lopsided advantage to one political party – gerrymandering – and the Supreme Court ruled more than 50 years ago that it can violate the Constitution by making some votes worth less than others. But justices have fallen short of a consensus on how to measure and limit partisan gerrymandering, and attempts to get them to overturn state maps, whether drawn by Republicans or Democrats, have failed.

Isthmus: The Believer

Isthmus: The Believer

The Believer, February 2016

I wrote about Mike McCabe’s “Blue Jean Nation” political reform project for Isthmus in 2016. None of the handful of prospective candidates whom he inspired succeeded in the subsequent fall elections. But McCabe remains active — and he’s now inspired an enthusiastic movement to draft him for the 2018 Wisconsin governor’s race.

Isthmus: Meet the New Tommy Thompson

Isthmus: Meet the New Tommy Thompson

Meet the New Tommy Thompson: Ex-governor Veers Right in his Senate Bid, February 2012

Tommy Thompson is in the grips of an identity crisis.

Always a conservative, the four-term Republican governor and former Bush administration cabinet secretary is now running in a political environment in which his brand of conservatism is suspect. Derided from the right as too moderate – and too “big-government” – Thompson is burnishing his credentials by, in some cases, backing away from positions that once helped him amass huge majorities at the polls and work effectively with a Legislature often controlled by Democrats…