Series

It's an unsavory truth in American democracy that politicians, to some extent, do get to choose their voters. The party in power often tries to draw state legislative and U.S. House of Representatives district maps to its own advantage, and courts have been reluctant to stop it unless there's strong evidence of racial discrimination. The Republican wave of election victories in 2010, and the increasing sophistication of redistricting software set the stage for an aggressive new batch of legislative maps in Wisconsin and other states. Multiple federal lawsuits challenging this redistricting followed. One court challenge arising from Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford, set out to prove that partisan gerrymandering could violate voters' rights even if it wasn't racially discriminatory. The case reached the U. S. Supreme Court, and the resulting decision could trigger a seismic change in how political parties consolidate electoral power.More
Growing vegetables, herbs, flowers and other plants in containers can be fun and rewarding, and may help save money at the grocery store. From getting an early start on the growing season by germinating seeds indoors to brightening the holidays, container gardening can help people with limited outdoor space turn patios into patches of green space and provide a touch of summer indoors during Wisconsin’s long colder months. Whatever planters might look like, the correct combination of soil, light and water will help gardeners get the best results from their efforts.More
When a member of the Wisconsin Legislature vacates the office before their term ends, the governor has the power to call a special election to fill that seat. Data shows that governors over the past five decades have generally acted promptly to fill vacancies. That pattern continued well into Gov. Scott Walker's administration until the final days of 2017, when he declined to call special elections for two open seats and leave them open until the November 2018 election to let voters choose new officeholders. A WisContext investigation of state elections records showed that a vacancy of such length was unprecedented in modern Wisconsin history.More
The winter holidays are a time when families and friends often gather to share time and traditions. Preparing for these gatherings can be simultaneously joyful and stressful, but proper planning can help people can get the most out of the season, its celebrations and spirit, and renew relationships with others near and far.More
Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes played a key role in Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Trump became the first Republican candidate to win the state since 1984. The outcome suggests a re-alignment in the American electorate, especially in more rural areas of the state that have previously been more supportive of Democratic candidates. Conventional political wisdom went out the window in the election, as did the accuracy of public-opinion polls.More