Political life in Ouisconsin
Ouisconsin has elections of some kind every year. In many ways, provincial politics have reflected those of the NAL. The League-wide political shakeup that began in 2005 was also felt in Ouisconsin, and it also led to the rise of the Covenant Loyalist Party. But the province also has its own unique wrinkles, such as ongoing controversy over the influence of the Pègre and the recent prominence of several small parties.
2005 Gubernatorial and Legislative Elections
Brion Martens, a Councillor from Milwaukee, was elected Lord Governor in 2005 from the Whig Party in a hotly contested election in the wake of the Watergap Scandal, when many issues over the forgeries had not yet been resolved. At that time the Whigs lost control of the Council, helped by the PR system, so the new Speaker was Martens' opponent in the election, Warren Hutch (PC, Othaaki-Meskwaki).
2006 Local Elections
Locally, the Ecotopic Party, a non-player elsewhere in the NAL, became prominent in the Four Nations; an Ecotopist, Richard Ablanc, was elected Chief in 2006. Elsewhere, the Whigs made some small gains against the PCs.
2007 Legislative Election
The Covenant Loyalist party became increasingly popular running up to the 2007 election. The Whigs lost a lot of votes to the CLs; the PCs won the most seats, but a Whig/CL coalition held on to the government, with the speakership going to Cullerton Jones (W, Chicago).
2008 Local Elections
In Bodewadmi, a branch of the Native populist Three Fires Party has gained ground since 2008 by focusing on local issues like land use and green space, rather than the more radical goals in the party's national platform.
2009 Legislative Election
Analysis written in the run-up to the election
Ouisconsin's political balance of power is currently up in the air, up quite high as a matter of fact, and until the votes are counted and certified, absolutely nobody is sure where things will finally land. Four years ago, Ouisconsin was comfortably settled in what was basically a two-party system, although proportional representation guaranteed seats for a few other, small parties. Two years ago the Covenant Loyalists dramatically appeared on the scene, bringing the number of major parties to three. This year no fewer than five parties seem to be contending for control of the Council, besides the usual small players.
Lord Governor Brion Martens is a Whig elected in 2005. (His five-year term will expire next year.) Martens was elected in the middle of what many consider the first episode of the NAL's recent political turmoil: the "Watergap Scandal". What had appeared to be damning tapes implicating prominent Whigs turned out to be a hoax perpetrated by prominent Progressive Conservatives. But in Ouisconsin, which had no PMs directly involved in the scandal, the net effect of the whole ordeal was distrust of the Whigs, likely simply because they were the party in power. So, while Martens was able to win the election, his opponents the PCs won control of the Council.
The 2007 election further shifted the political landscape. The centrist Covenant Loyalists drew politicians and voters away from both major parties. After the election, their influence was great enough that they were able to coalition with the Whigs, despite a Progressive Conservative plurality of Council seats.
Some small parties in Ouisconsin have been able to take advantage of shifting allegiences. In Four Nations' local election in 2006, the Ecotopics, not the Covenant Loyalists, captured the disenchanted Whig vote for the fithing counci. Though they did not win an all-out majority, they were strong enough to elect Ecotopic leader Richard Ablanc as fithing Chief. The Ecotopics expanded their province-wide organization in 2008 and tried to be serious contenders in all nine local council elections. Their only real success was Four Nations again, where Ablanc won a second term, but they made smaller gains in the cities of Creve Coeur and St. Francis.
The 2008 election saw a new party for Ouisconsin: the Three Fires Party, active for thirty years on the fringes of local politics in Illinoise and Les Plaines. Their old party line had been secession from the NAL and the creation of a Native nation-state. The Ouisconsian organization reinvented the party, positioning it as a rural, Native alternative to the major national parties. Like the Ecotopics in Four Nations, Three Fires touched on the fithings' sense that provincial politics were dominated by the cities. They focused on such issues as land use - especially in Bodewadmi, expanding suburbs are an increasing cause of concern and conflict - as well as the mor palatable parts of the old party platform such as lower taxes and tougher crime laws, and a general populist-conservative opposition to the urban establishment. Party founder Geoffrey Urbanczyk has been carefully kept out of the province. Three Fires gained several seats on the Bodewadmi council in 2008 and are waging a province-wide campaign this year.
Two other minor parties play a role in the province: the Democratic Socialists and Adullamite Republicans. Neither party seems to have successfully exploited the changing atmosphere, and both are expected to keep their position in the council: to win no electoral ridings, but earn a few seats in the calculation for proportional distribution. A number of DS and AR voters, in fact, are expected to switch to the Ecotopics and Three Fires, respectively.
The great national issue this year has become the influence of the Pègre and the Signoret Crime War. The Arnaud crime family has been based out of Chicago for years, and for years conventional wisdom has been that the family has had lots of clandestine influence over the city's government and its Whig-dominated political machine. The Covenant Loyalists in Ouisconsin, and across the League, are attempting to take advantage of C-L leader Howard Provo of Jacobia, the martyr of the anti-Pègre campaign who was killed in August. But given their cooperation with the Whigs in both the provincial Council and the League Parliament, perception in Chicago, however unfair, is that the C-Ls are not terribly different from the entrenched Whigs. So all outsider parties, from the Progressive Conservatives to Three Fires, are casting insinuations of Pègre influence at the Whigs.
A final factor to consider in Ouisconsin is the growing political strength of the Floridianos. Since economically depressed East and West Florida were admitted as NAL provinces, barriers to immigration from the Floridas have been removed, and thousands have come north to Chicago and Milwaukee, as well as other cities, in search of opportunities. Huge numbers of Floridianos took to the streets in January to support NAL recognition of the Commonwealth of Four Palms - a sign that the community may be organizing into an important political bloc.
So: conventional wisdom seems to be that the position of the Whigs and Progressive Conservatives is going to erode even more after this month's voting. Party loyalties are shiftinig, and newcomers are appearing on the provincial scene. Ongoing controversies surrounding the Pègre and the influence of new voters from the Floridas ensure that the future of Ouisconsian politics is very hard to predict.
In the 2009 election, the Covenant Loyalists and several smaller parties made strong gains at the expense of both the Whigs and the PCs, helped greatly by accusations of Pègre influence in the mainstream parties. The CLs now dominate the Cabinet with the Ecotopics acting as a junior coalition partner. The speaker is currently Tomos Bernardd, a former Whig from Milwaukee.
- Ouisconsin Sentinel, 17 Nov.: Covenant Loyalists, small parties gain big in Ouisconsin legislative elections
- NAL Today, 18 Nov.: Ouisconsin election may signal trouble for Whigs; CLs still searching for coalition partner
- Ouisconsin Sentinel, 30 Nov.: Covenant Loyalists, Ecotopics form coalition to govern Ouisconsin
Distribution of seats:
|Party||Percentage of vote||Total seats||Ridings||Party list seats|
|Fithing or City||Total ridings||CL||PC||W||3F||ECO||DS||ARP|
2010 Gubernatorial, Parliamentary, and Local Elections
Analysis before the election
Meanwhile, in Ouisconsin politics, the Covenant Loyalists started picking up momentum in last year's election for the provincial legislature. They ran on a clean-government platform, taking advantage of the ongoing Pègre crime war unrest. So far their ethics legislation has been somewhat disappointing for their main supporters, but the movement is going strong. It's no coincidence that Levi coined his "mocha" metaphor in Milwaukee, where the CL party headquarters now has signs proudly declaring it to be "the center of the Mocha Movement." The CLs also captured a strong majority of the Floridiano voting bloc in Milwaukee and Chicago, and are hoping to keep them as a key constituency for the long term.
On the other hand, the hard-right Three Fires Party has also been steadily gaining strength since 2007, though no one expects them to seriously be contenders for province-wide office.
The major race is for Lord Governor. Brion Martens, a Whig, has had to spend 3 years of his 5-year term working with Cabinets from different parties. By all reports he is eager to retire. With the Whigs and Conservatives both losing ground rapidly, the CL candidate Kirk Whitethunder looks like the likeliest winner, though with so many parties now active in Ouisconsin his victory is far from certain.
In even-numbered years, Ouisconsin's nine local constituencies also elect their leaders. One of those races has become national news because of the sudden and surprising retirement of Chicago's longtime Lord Mayor, Henry Knightley (Hamhrí ÓMarcaigh). A crowded field of candidates is competing to replace him.
The election for governor was a botched affair on all sides, with candidates joining and leaving the race unexpectedly. Former Councillor Gweniffer Lloneir, a Covenant Loyalist and ex-Whig from Kiwikapawa, emerged the victor despite putting little apparent effort into her campaign. The contested lord mayor's chair in Chicago went to Rahm Majmonas'a, a son of Judean immigrants.
2011 Legislative election
The Covenant Loyalists continued to ride high, and some leaders were hoping to have the strength to form a government without a coalition partner this time. However, CL stalwarts were disappointed as some CL seats were actually lost to the Whigs and Progressive Conservatives. The CL-Ecotopic coalition held together, and Bernardd has kept his Speaker's chair.
2012 Local elections
These elections confirmed a new political map for Ouisconsin. Instead of a 2-party system all over the province, it is now clear that Ouisconsin's multiple parties are going to reflect certain regions and fithings. Wisconsin's Chiefs for the 2013-15 cycle are:
- St. Francis: James Ross, Whig
- Chicago: reelected Rahm Majmonas'a, Whig
- Milwaukee: reelected Marisol Ferrusca, Covenant Loyalist
- Creve Coeur: reelected Pierre Legland, Covenant Loyalist
- Kickapoo: Stefan Cadue, Progressive Conservative
- Ho-Chunk: reelected Jhon Greendeer, Three Fires
- Othaaki and Meskwake: Diana Paulson, Covenant Loyalist
- Bodewadmi: Korzina Wiotyk, Covenant Loyalist
- Four Nations: reelected Richard Ablanc, Ecotopic
2013 Legislative election
The CLs suffered a slump this year and were forced to re-form their coalition with the Whig Party. The Ecotopists, partners for four years, accepted an invitation to remain part of the coalition. They know they will be less relevant, but "we can do more good in government than out of it," in the words of Ecotopic MP Wido Mastrangel.