As crazy as Wisconsin's 47th!


The five percent solution: In yesterday's post, we offered an example of how crazy gerrymandering has become in the Badger State.

Ron Burgum's "campaign contributions" may be even nuttier. Burgum is the little-known governor of North Dakota. He's also a billionaire who wanted to be a candidate for the White House, or who at least wanted to be listed as a candidate.

To be included in the first Republican debate, he had to have at least 40,000 "campaign contributors," or at least he had to seem to.

Burgum decided that he would shoot for 50,000 "campaign contributors."  At New York magazine, Ed Kilgore describes the nutty way he went about it:

KILGORE (9/1/23): Seven Republican presidential candidates have already qualified for the second Republican National Committee–sanctioned debate on September 27 in Simi Valley, California. One of them, Donald Trump, hasn’t definitively indicated if he’ll show up, but it’s unlikely. Two candidates who were at the first event on August 23, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, have not qualified for the stage at the Ronald Reagan Library. Hutchinson is definitely going to struggle to get there. But Burgum has an asset Hutchinson does not possess: an obscenely fat wallet.

The former tech entrepreneur raised a lot of eyebrows by taking a novel approach to the donor requirement set up by the RNC for participating in the debate in Milwaukee: He went out and bought them. That’s right: Every $1 donor to Burgum’s campaign (up to his 50,000 goal) received a $20 gift card. It was an approach the RNC allowed, even though it made a mockery of the underlying idea that candidates should show financial support beyond their own bank accounts.

In effect, Burgum said he'd give people twenty dollars. They had to kick back one of those dollars. Arithmetically, that works out to five percent. 

The RNC allowed that one dollar kickback to count as a "campaign contribution." That's the way Burgum "qualified" for the first debate.

As we showed you yesterday, Wisconsin's 47th assembly district makes a mockery of legislative districting. Burgum's approach to "fund-raising" makes a mockery of everything else.

We live in fictitious times, Michael Moore once sagaciously said. Our systems are drenched in so much BS that bullroar like this barely counts!


  1. There were too many Republican debaters. Who cares what policies Gov. Burgum favors and why he thinks they work.

    OTOH there were too few Democratic debaters, namel y zero. I would love to know what policies Joe Biden and other top Democrats favor and why they think those policies will work.

    1. It is too early. Biden is just opening campaign headquarters. I’m sure you’ll be able to find that info on his official campaign webpages, as when he ran before. Be sure to also look at his accomplishments.

    2. How many primary debates did the orange abomination participate in in 2020? I would venture to say that you never complained that you were being deprived of knowing what policies Trump favored. Why don't you go fuck yourself, David. Or just listen to Biden when he speaks and watch what policies and legislation and executive actions he has taken. Maybe they don't show that on Fox NOOZ?

    3. David may be new to this process. Typically the Dem nominee and the Repub nominee debate each other, but we haven’t gone through the nominating process yet, which doesn’t start until early next year. If Trump is nominated, he is talking about skipping debates entirely. That won’t be Biden’s fault. I wouldn’t vote for any candidate too chicken to face his opponents, if I were you.

    4. I think now they're saying that Joe Biden was emailing Hunter under a pseudonym to discuss the various multi-million dollar business deals that Hunter was engaged in with companies and shady players from the same communist and historically corrupt nations in which his father was performing diplomacy.

      Apparently the money was funneled into multiple shell accounts that Hunter set up. An investigation is ongoing.

    5. Fox News is reporting that Hunter traveled to at least 15 foreign countries with his father on official trips.

    6. Apparently they spent almost all that time in intense discussions about how they could create policies to lower prescription drug prices for seniors. And how to provide more warm meals to need needy children.

    7. "Apparently" means this is unconfirmed. The e-mails' content is unconfirmed because the President is keeping the e-mails secret. Why is he keeping them secret?

      Evidently Biden believes that the e-mails would embarrass him or worse.

    8. The Biden family has been providing warm meals to needy children for decades.

    9. What multi-million business deal is “anonymous” concocting?

    10. Kevin Drum discussed all this today:

      "Cooke says he is genuinely open to innocent explanations, so here goes:

      I don't know why Hunter Biden used offshore companies to handle his finances, but lots of people do. Who cares unless Joe Biden was involved with them?
      "The president or his family" is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. There is zero evidence to suggest that Joe Biden was the recipient of any money from these accounts. The recipients were "his family," not "the president or his family."
      White House folks have routinely used pseudonymous email accounts for years. They explained in 2013 that this was a way of having email channels that weren't instantly clogged with hackers and spam. Barack Obama had one too.
      These private accounts have no impact on FOIA. The National Archives has repeatedly explained that they scan all email accounts belonging to a person when they get a FOIA request.
      One of the emails allegedly informs Hunter of a phone call that Joe Biden has scheduled with Ukraine's president. But this is no smoking gun. In reality, it's an email from a White House aide that has Joe Biden's daily schedule attached. This schedule includes an entry for Biden's return to Wilmington for the one-year anniversary of Beau Biden's death. It's only a coincidence that it also happens to include a phone call with Ukraine's president.¹
      Some emails from Hunter's firm have been released that include requests for White House tours. That's as scurrilous as it gets. There are no emails between Joe Biden and Hunter's "foreign business partners."

      But there are no innocent explanations that right wingers will accept because they are determined to impeach Biden as revenge for Trump's impeachments (which Trump fully deserved). Their goal is to prove that anyone can be impeached for political reasons -- as if that would prove that Trump did not deserve his disgrace.
      So that's it. Innocent explanations all around.

      ¹The call was about a Ukrainian pilot being held in Russia. It had nothing to do with Burisma or anything else related to Hunter.

    11. The Hunter issue is a canard, it’s been investigated for years, millions spent, nothing found.

      What’s got these right wingers triggered is that Hunter has a bigger penis than Trump. (Grow up, guys, it’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.)

      The Trump Crime Family has engaged in illegality and corruption, yet this has not garnered any interest from these lost soul right wingers.

      Broadly, Biden supports policies that reverse the flow of money from the working class to corporations and the wealthy, which is the result of Republican and other neoliberals’ policies. Biden’s policies have been effective, demonstrated by all the usual economic indicators, his work on tuition debt, unions, and drug pricing, and his remarkable reduction in child poverty.

  2. What exactly is the point here? I suggest that anyone who finds this corrupt not vote for the guy. Meanwhile, the press has done its job of publicizing what he did, so the public can cast an informed vote.

    Back before TV, candidates served voters alcohol to buy their actual votes. This stuff is not new. But that’s no reason to be cynical. With its flaws this a better system for electing leaders than elsewhere. The bigger threat to it is the manipulation Trump performed in collusion with Russia, a longstanding foreign enemy of the US. Yet none dare call that treason.

  3. David’s grasping at straws grows more pitiable every time. Good sign.

  4. The frequently disingenuous DIC, having previously announced his intention to support Trump, on account of the unfair treatment of him by multiple AGs, would like to be apprised of Joe Biden's policies and plans, having just returned from the deserted Island he has been inhabiting for the last several years, in order that he can in good conscience, cast his vote against him.What if I told him that Biden had spent roughly 285 days and $140 million taxpayers dollars visiting golf resorts during his tenure? That certainly would not be enough to persuade him. Or that Biden had sidled up to the three most powerful dictators on earth that are adversaries to the US, and made public remarks suggesting that US support of NATO was in question? Probably not enough to win his vote. Or that contrary to promises that he would reform US healthcare and pharmaceutical price gouging, he did nothing, zero. Not even a budge. Or that he would build roughly eighty miles of new border wall at a cost of 15 billion dollars for this and refurbishing another 400 miles of existing wall after estimating a cost of 15-40 billion for an entire project involving roughly 2,000 miles? To be paid for by Mexicans, not? Or that he would form alliances with the proud boys and be publicly supportive of right wing racists? Or that his financial wizardry would result in an additional trillion dollars in national debt on account of tax breaks favoring the upper echelons 1%? Or that his tenure would be marked by nepotism and the enrichment of his extended family by billions of dollars? Or that he would be impeached for trying to strong arm another government to dig up dirt on his political opponent? Or that he would announce a firm date for withdrawal from Afghanistan only after his tenure had expired without making any plans for its implementation? OK, if he could say and do all these things, David would reconsider voting for him.

    1. I know it’s a cringey cliche, but chef’s kiss!

      Keep on cookin’.

    2. But let's just say that DIC remains on the fence, needing a little more spice in his stew, so to speak. If Biden were to resort to berating and name-calling senior officers in our armed forces and suggest while on foreign soil, that deceased World War II soldiers were suckers that would surely earn his vote, no? Of course it would.

    3. Joe Biden is going to need to ramp up his bigotry to 11, if he wants to win the vote of David in Cal.

  5. Is it Ron, or is it Doug?

    Either way, does he not look like the love child of Matthew McConaughey and Henry Winkler?

    If you disagree, you can sit on it.

    Yes, Somerby, we know, there’s a Republican debate coming up, they no doubt appreciate your free promotion.

  6. If Somerby is truly concerned about gerrymandering then he should be concerned about these shenanigans too:

    "After years of preclearance and expansion of voting access, by 2013 African American registration and turnout rates had finally reached near-parity with white registration and turnout rates. African Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force. But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an “omnibus” election law. Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.

    In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist."

    Here are measures targeted at reducing African American voting, while those enacting them claim they have no racial bias and don't see color (just like Somerby does). This is why it is important to look at the effect and not take the intentions of legislators at face value.

  7. For what it is worth, Bob writes "how crazy has gerrymandering become in Wisconsin". Except the map that he links to of a crazy looking Madison district. Well, it is NOT new. It is pretty much the same district that has existed for the last ten years, at least. I don't remember looking to see if there was info on the 47th going back further than that.