Donald Trump may get all the headlines, but partisan battles in state capitols across the country may change America more than the drama surrounding the first former president to be indicted for crimes.
A clash between Democrats and Republicans over issues like abortion and guns could also shape election laws and future electoral maps, signaling important debates ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign and showing how small shifts in political identity and the balance of power can sometimes have big consequences.
A liberal judge from Wisconsin, one of the most competitive states in recent presidential elections, won a race for a state Supreme Court seat on Tuesday in a victory that could restore abortion rights in the state and reshape the Republican Party. own map. designed for your benefit. The magnitude of his victory, about 200 thousand votes, will sound some alarms for the Republican Party.
Republicans in North Carolina have been celebrating after a nearly 20-point majority in the Democratic state a few months ago flipped to the GOP this week, giving the party veto power in both chambers of the state legislature. they ask new abortion restrictions and tougher election laws;
The American heavy artillery division led to major battles in Tennessee. After last week's mass shooting in Nashville, Republican state lawmakers want to remove three Democrats who joined anti-gun protests.
Meanwhile, national Democrats have targeted Chicago, where Bernie Sanders-backed Brandon Johnson won Tuesday's mayoral election. He won over moderates with his tough-on-crime message, which took on more nuance than his previous support for calls to "abolish the police." (Johnson said on the campaign trail that he did not want to defund the police.)
And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has said before his potential run for the White House that his state is a laboratory for a more conservative America, signed a law earlier this week allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The state Senate also passed a very strict 6-week abortion ban on Monday.
This remarkable series of infighting is not always visible in Washington, where lawmakers are bracing for the debt ceiling crisis and debating whether to provide aid to Ukraine.
But political conflicts that begin in the states can then escalate at the national level and determine future electoral clashes. For example, it's clear that gender and transgender issues will dominate in 2024, as Republicans criticize Democrats for what they describe as "insensitive" policies.
The intensity of exchanges around topics such as abortion, sex and guns raises another possibility. Despite Trump's appeal to all Republican voters, he has run a campaign fueled almost entirely by worsening legal problems and anger at being politically manipulated into removing him from the White House. The ongoing battles in the state show that many voters have something else in mind.
A result that will surprise the entire political world.
In 2010, when Republican Scott Walker was elected governor for the first time, Wisconsin experienced a conservative surge, followed by a liberal backlash. It was crucial to the victories of Donald Trump in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020, and it remains a political razor's edge. a new era of presidential elections.
In the state's latest political coup, liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz easily defeated conservative Daniel Kelly in a nonpartisan election where the parties remained clear favorites. The race attracted significant out-of-state spending, making it the most expensive state judicial race in history, with Protasiewicz's margin of victory nearly 10 times that of Trump and Biden's respective seats by nearly 20,000 votes.
Every election is unique, but the Wisconsin judge's win underscored the power of abortion as a mobilizing issue and could raise concerns among Republican strategists that the issue could hurt his 2024 re-election bid. Battlegrounds Midwest on Wednesday. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a law that repealed the state's 1931 abortion ban, which was made possible after voters removed Democratic control of both houses of the legislature last fall.
Now the liberal majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade: A victory for Protasevic would be a glimmer of hope for Democrats disheartened by the loss of federal abortion rights last year.
Sean Eldridge, the founder and president of the progressive advocacy group, said Protasevich would act as a catalyst for conservative efforts to "take away reproductive liberties, disenfranchise voters through impeachment deals, and undo the consequences." they don't make choices. how". His victory helped lay the foundation for our democracy and freedom of choice until 2024.
But the lesson of Wisconsin's tumultuous political decade is that local Republicans, some of whom are slaves to Trumpism, are likely to put up a serious fight. In fact, the GOP also won an open Senate seat in Tuesday's election, giving it a huge advantage in impeaching top officials, including Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. In an interview with WISN in Wisconsin last month, Republican Dan Knodle, who won Tuesday, said he would consider impeaching Protasevich. At the time, he was serving as a circuit court judge in Milwaukee. It is unclear whether the legislature will be able to remove him from the Supreme Court.
An angry twist on the gun debate
In another stark example of political polarization, Tennessee's GOP-led legislature wants to remove three fellow Democrats who led violent protests at the state capitol after the mass shooting of three nine-year-olds and three adults at a Tennessee Christian church. .. School. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Cameron Sexton, considered the protest unacceptable indecency, and the deputy was removed from his position in the committee. The Republican president said the protest was "at least equal, if not worse" than the January 6, 2021, attack by a mob of Trump supporters on the United States Capitol.
Member of the Democratic Party, representative. Justin Pearson explained on CNN that he supports gun reform advocates protesting in public galleries because he believes voices are not being heard when it comes to taking action against red flag laws and other gun safety measures. Polls show that most Americans support stricter gun restrictions, but support varies depending on the measure in question.
Pearson told CNN's Jake Tepper that the three knew they were breaking house etiquette. "But we didn't know and we didn't think we'd be banned from exercising our First Amendment rights and encouraging protesters, children, adults and grieving parents to do the same in the House of Representatives."
Drama in the Nashville state legislature this week in the North Carolina Republic. "The modern Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me," said state Democrat Tricia Cottam of the Republican Party. Cotham plays on the Republican arrogance that the other side has gone so far on cultural and economic issues that it has alienated mainstream America, even as the Republican Party has gone to extremes. Cotham's move has major implications for Democrats because it gives the GOP enough votes in each chamber to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto.
Democrats accuse Cotham of betraying his constituents, and Cooper warns that his actions will have dire consequences. "Fame. "Cotham's vote for women's reproductive freedom, voting rights, LGBTQ rights and strong public schools will determine the direction of the country we love," Cooper said in a statement to CNN.
Meanwhile, the blowback for Democrats continues in Florida, where DeSantis' re-election victory last November and Republican control of the state legislature have widened the all-conservative lead. In an effort to appeal to Republican voters ahead of a possible presidential election, DeSantis further relaxed Florida's already lax gun laws this week. After signing a 15-week abortion bill last year, the state Senate recently passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state after six weeks or about four weeks of pregnancy.
His hard-line abortion policy allowed DeSantis to reinforce his message that he would be a more effective conservative leader than Trump. But it's also a position that would give a Democrat the chance to become the Republican nominee.
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