Yahoo News Explains: Can Republicans restrict Democratic power in Wisconsin and Michigan?

Kayla Jardine
Associate Producer

After Democrats’ midterm election win in Wisconsin, Republicans are trying to limit the new governor’s reach.

Tony Evers beat Gov. Scott Walker by about 30,000 votes. To combat the loss, Republicans are outlining legislation designed to check Evers’s power.

The proposals include:

  • New limits on early voting
  • A proposal to move Wisconsin’s presidential primary in 2020
  • New authority for lawmakers in state litigation
  • Curbing the power of the incoming Democratic attorney general

And while outraged Democrats took to the state Capitol to express their anger, the Republicans’ actions are anything but unprecedented.

The time between the election and the end of a lawmaker’s term is often referred to as the “lame duck” period.

During that period, controversial legislation is frequently introduced, including proposals that would limit an incoming legislator’s powers.

A similar situation is playing out in Michigan, where new bills that would make it more difficult for incoming Democrats to accomplish their agendas are now being introduced.

One measure, House Bill 6553, would give the state House of Representatives and Senate the power to intervene in legal proceedings.

This control is normally given to the state attorney general and governor’s office, both of which will be under Democratic control shortly.


Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder tweeted that this is an “outrageous abuse of power.” He added: “The proposed power shifts are drawing some parallels to Republican efforts in North Carolina back in 2016.”

In North Carolina, Republicans attempted to pass legislation to limit the authority of the Democratic governor-elect but ultimately lost the legal battle.

Republicans have said they’re pushing the measures to help create a more balanced government.

While the proposed legislation may not be unusual, it certainly is an interesting moment in democracy.