For those willing to see, signs citizens want collaborative government.
IT DIDN'T TAKE long for the rubber to meet the road regarding actions during a lame-duck session of the Wisconsins Legislature.
Readers will remember, following the election of Tony Evers over Gov. Scott Walker, for the GOP-controlled Assembly and Senate to call a special session to pass bills limiting the incoming governor's ability to make changes. Prior to moving out of the Executive Residence, Walker signed all the legislative plans without revision or veto.
One change was to switch authority from the governor to the legislators to withdraw Wisconsin from a federal lawsuit. Last week Evers tried to pull Wisconsin out of a lawsuit challenging Obamacare. Then the new Democrat attorney general, Josh Kaul, took up the attempt to withdraw. It's clear legislators will not allow it. Obviously, the balance of power between the executive and the legislature will be an ongoing battle.
WITHOUT TAKING SIDES in any particular dispute, it is interesting to point out a few facts:
• First, Democrats swept every statewide race in the November election - a clear signal voters are looking for some degree of change.
• Second, the respected Marquette Poll released its latest findings last week and focused its research on how Wisconsin citizens feel about priorities Evers has identified. A strong plurality favors Evers' position on the Obamacare lawsuit and want Wisconsin to withdraw.
• An overwhelming 72 percent support nonpartisan redistricting for legislative seats, something the Republican majority not only has refused to do, but both Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald claim no one really cares about it anyway. Obviously, they are wrong.
• Nearly two in three voters (62 percent) want Wisconsin to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, again, an issue Republican legislators steadfastly have refused to consider.
• A majority of 55 percent want an increase in the minimum wage.
• Nearly 60 percent support legalizing marijuana.
• Increased state spending on K-12 public education is favored by 55 percent. Meanwhile, 39 percent prefer the Republican stance to hold the line on property taxes.
• The poll shows division on solving transportation funding, with a 52 percent majority opposing raising gas taxes.
WHAT DOES all that mean? In our view, it's a strong argument for the politicians to call a partisan truce and work a lot harder to find common ground.
For eight years Wisconsin has had Republican one-party rule. Democrats winning every statewide race suggests citizens expect changes. Likewise, the Marquette Poll shows Republicans are on the wrong end of public opinion for several issues.
To us, that doesn't mean citizens have fallen in love with Democrats and want to sideline Republican ideas in favor of something more like one-party Democrat rule. Rather, it suggests citizens have had enough lack of consideration for any opposing views and want the parties to get things done much more collaboratively.
It also suggests - with 72 percent demanding nonpartisan redistricting - that voters are fed up with politicians rigging elections to insulate themselves from change.
The government is supposed to be responsive to the people - all the people. It has not been. Not even close.
Compromise is not a dirty word. Give it a try.