Daily Bread for 6.5.23: Wisconsin Gets a Keep Our Republic Chapter

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 83. Sunrise is 5:17 AM and sunset 8:29 PM for 15h 12m 46s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 97.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1883, William Horlick patents the first powdered milk in the world. He names his new product, intended to be used as a health food for infants, “Malted Milk.” Horlick’s product went on to be used as a staple in fountain drinks as well as survival provisions. Malted milk was even included in explorations undertaken by Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen and Richard Byrd.

In 2020, a bipartisan group of legislators formed Keep Our Republic.  Ruth Conniff reports that a Wisconsin chapter launches today:

The group’s creed, according to its mission statement, is: “Let all eligible voters vote. Let all votes be counted. Let the vote count stand.”

Chapters in Pennsylvania and Michigan as well as Wisconsin are focused on informing the public about elections, voting rights and the democratic process in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.

Led by a national board that includes former Colorado Republican Congressman Tim Wirth and longtime Democratic House leader Dick Gephardt, on its website Keep Our Republic pledges to “to discover, highlight and help to prevent an array of extraordinary threats to American democracy, strengthen democratic guardrails, and educate the public before it is too late.”

Former Democratic Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, a member of the group’s Wisconsin advisory council, says Keep Our Republic grew out of a bipartisan, national recognition of “very real threats” to U.S. democracy and is working “in places where it’s really urgent, like it is in Wisconsin.” 

Why Wisconsin?

“Think Gableman,” says Lawton, referring to the former state Supreme Court justice who was fired after leading a years-long, taxpayer-financed investigation that failed to prove claims that the 2020 election was stolen. 

In deeply divided Wisconsin, Keep Our Republic wants to help usher in a return to values that prized civic engagement, functional government, and well-run elections, Lawton says. 

The bipartisan nature of the group is critical to its mission of rebuilding trust, Lawton says. The 12-member Wisconsin advisory council includes former Assembly members from opposite sides of the aisle David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) as well as former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson. 

“We don’t agree on many things,” says Lawton. “But we agree we have a moment of fragility in our democracy and have to put our shoulders to the wheel.

Republican former state senator Kathy Bernier will lead the Wisconsin chapter. She knows it’s a difficult task to overcome conspiracy theories, as Conniff reports:

Bernier still talks to constituents who are convinced that the 2020 election was stolen. She says she is 99% sure she can never convince “a devout election denier when it comes to 2020.”

“I have a couple who’ve called me – both computer programmers – and I’ve been totally unsuccessful explaining anything to them.” She has spent hours telling people about Wisconsin’s system for checking and rechecking its paper ballots. “I say, ‘How can you hack paper?’”

Part of Bernier’s mission at Keep Our Republic will be to raise awareness of the security of Wisconsin’s decentralized election system.

“If they’ve closed their minds to facts, there’s nothing we can do,” she says. 

Loud sonic boom heard across D.C. area:

Rocket, a rescue dog, was startled by a loud boom in Fairfax Station, Va., on June 4. The sound was caused by fighter jets scrambling to intercept a private plane.
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