Shewmake: Wisconsin Republicans’ Power Grab is a Disgrace to the Grand Old Party

By William H. Shewmake

By and large, we in Virginia respect the electoral process, and we are rightfully proud that the General Assembly is the oldest continuous legislative body in the New World. We understand that elections have consequences and you don’t seek to emasculate an office just because the other party wins it.

So, as a Virginian and a Republican, I consider what the Wisconsin Republicans are doing to strip the offices of governor and attorney general of power during a lame duck session to be short-sighted, disgraceful, and disrespectful to the electorate. They fail to understand that what goes around comes around, and their power grab undermines the principles of democracy and the peaceful transfer of power.

This isn’t Venezuela. It’s the United States of America.

It also hurts all Republicans because it feeds into the Democrats’ narrative that we Republicans are mean-spirited and will manipulate the system to cling to power. I have always believed that it is easy to stand on principle when you are in the minority. It is another to do so when in the majority and doing what is right will possibly cost you power.

It is incumbent on us Republicans to speak out against what the Wisconsin legislature is doing. Remaining silent will tarnish our reputation. I urge Governor Walker to protect the office he currently holds by vetoing legislation that represents a naked power grab.

I also think we Republicans need to start focusing our efforts on expanding our base instead of invoking machinations to retain power. We have a winning message of limited government, fiscal discipline, a well run and efficient government, free trade, and protecting personal liberty, while possessing a generosity of spirit. But you would never know it right now. Let’s start increasing our base instead of looking like we simply want to restrict the other party’s electorate.

Will Shewmake is a long-time member of the Chesterfield County Republican Committee and veteran volunteer for many campaigns. A graduate of William and Mary where he majored in philosophy and government, he is senior counsel with the law firm of LeClairRyan in Richmond.