By John Nichols for The Nation

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Republican allies have never been enthusiastic about democracy. After grabbing power in the “Republican-wave” election of 2010—with a massive boost from heavy spending by the Koch brothers and other out-of-state donors—they redrew legislative district lines to prevent competitive elections, enacted multiple measures that made it harder for Wisconsinites to vote, and dismantled the state Government Accountability Board that used to provide nonpartisan oversight of elections and ethics issues.

But it turns out that Walker and his cronies were just getting started on a project that in recent weeks has seen embattled Wisconsin Republicans upend new commissions that were supposed to promote fair elections and responsible governance, while the governor has refused to call elections to fill legislative vacancies in districts that might be won by Democrats.

As the onetime Republican star who crashed and burned as a contender for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination prepared to deliver his annual State of the State message, Republican state senators denied the confirmations of the directors of Wisconsin’s ethics and elections commissions and Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, a close ally of the governor, said he wanted to force out employees of the commissions who had participated in investigations of Republican wrongdoing.

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