Dr. David Siemers
For part 2 of our election preview, we connected with UW Oshkosh Professor of Political Science Dr. David Siemers to ask a few questions about the November 6 election. He holds a Ph.D. from UW Madison (’97) and has been teaching at UW Oshkosh for 18 years.
Dr. Siemers is releasing a new book this month “The Myth of Coequal Branches”, which is a meditation on the reasons for and problematic effects of considering the branches equals in power, something that was not intended and yields dysfunctional gridlock. The constitutional system is supposed to contain a separation of governmental functions rather than an equal separation of power, and the book is directed at how we can have a more functional government.
OI: For the average Oshkosh resident, what is at stake in the Nov election?
Dr. David Siemers (DS): This is a very important election at both the state and the national levels. In the state, the Governor, all seats in the State Assembly and half of State Senate seats are up for election.
Voters could produce major alterations in the state’s policy priorities, if they wish. School funding, health care opportunities, state incarceration policies, transportation revenue, and state financial aid to corporations are all on the ballot in the form of the individuals on the ballot.
Statewide the Attorney General’s office and State Treasurer are also up for election. At the national level, members of Congress are up for reelection, and that includes the 6th Congressional district’s Glenn Grothman and US Senator Tammy Baldwin. Midterm elections are often considered by voters to be a referendum on the president’s performance as well, so undoubtedly many voters will be thinking about President Trump as they cast their ballots, whether it be a vote in favor of his policies or a vote against. It looks likely the House of Representatives will turn over to the Democrats and if so, you can expect a substantial increase in oversight investigations into the Trump Administration.
OI: What are the most competitive races where Oshkosh’s vote will really matter?
DS: Every vote counts, and we hold elections because they determine results, not any polls. So it is important to vote regardless of whether we think the races will be close or not.
That being said, the latest Marquette poll has the Governor’s race a dead heat. The only poll conducted of the 6th Congressional district has challenger Dan Kohl within two percentage points of incumbent Glenn Grothman. Josh Kaul is mounting a serious challenge to Attorney General Brad Schimel.
The result of the governor’s race will have immense consequences. It will determine whether Scott Walker continues to set the direction of the state and remains a viable presidential candidate looking way ahead to 2024. If Tony Evers wins, state policy will change significantly, public investments will likely rise, there will be less of an emphasis on corporate well being, and Scott Walker will be remembered as but a footnote on the national stage.
OI: What do recent elections and national trends suggest will take place in wisconsin this election?
DS: In midterm elections, the president’s party typically loses seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. That will happen in the House, but because so many Democrats are up for election this year, it may not in the Senate. Thus the race for majority control of the US Senate is very tightly contested.
In the last few days it seems like the Republicans are thinking that they have probably lost the House and are concentrating more on holding the Senate.
We have less sure of an idea what will happen in the state, first because of the hotly contested governor’s race, but also because we don’t have good polling of some key districts and outcomes are more volatile there because of only a few hundred or thousand people being able to swing a race.
We’ll return with part 2 Monday evening. You can preview ballot information here: http://www.oshkoshindependent.com/november-6-election-preview-part-1-the-ballot/
Banner Image photo by KOMUnews CC BY 2.0. Siemers photo courtesy of David Siemers.