Lt. Gov. Barnes Blasts GOP for Election: ‘Remember Who Did This’

Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes during an online interview from his Capitol office.

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By Pat Kreitlow

April 7, 2020

Barnes’ use of an expletive to describe Election Day chaos was mild compared to what he wanted to say

As Gov. Tony Evers is widely known for dropping a fair share of words like “folks,” “goshdarnit” and “golly” into his communication, his lieutenant governor will reliably provide some balance to the team’s rhetorical palette. And Mandela Barnes has no apologies in mind for a tweet on Election Day morning that said, “Welcome to the Shit Show.”

“The wild thing is, I actually did mince words. There were a couple of other things I could have used,” Barnes said. “Things never should have been that bad in the first place this morning.”

Early morning post from the personal account of Lt Gov Mandela Barnes

He said it was poor decision making and political decision making on the part of Republicans in the legislative branch and conservatives in the judicial branch that deliberately caused the chaos surrounding the balloting.

“People laughed about Iowa and the caucuses, but caucuses are partisan things. This is an actual election being administered by the state of Wisconsin.”

The pandemic led to a significant reduction in poll workers and the resulting decision by Gov. Evers to try to delay the election. In appealing the Executive Order so that people would feel forced to vote despite the health concerns, Republicans get a sharp rebuke from Barnes.

“This is an explicit voter suppression tactic. You go from 180 poll locations in Milwaukee down to five, and expect a free and fair election to take place, that’s absurd.”

WATCH – Full interview with Lt. Gov. Barnes through our YouTube channel:

The lieutenant governor said it’s clear there are still many people not taking the dangers of this pandemic seriously. He said the sight of a refrigerated truck outside of a Milwaukee hospital, designed to be a temporary morgue in a location where African Americans are comprising a disproportionate share of the COVID-19 victims, should cause people to think about the disparities among the victims. By city, by race, by income level the victims are often the same ones being hurt by other policy decisions in Madison and Washington, D.C.

“The same people who’ve denied 80,000 people access to health insurance are the same people who are denying so many the right to vote today.” 

After thanking the poll workers for doing something “I would never ask them to do, and they did it anyway,” Barnes turned his attention to the legislative elections that will take place in November.

“Remember who did this, he said. “Remember the fact that we stood up and tried to ensure people’s safety. There’s one party that made this happen and one party comfortable with that happening. And I’m happy I’m not a part of that one.”

Author

  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

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