Daily Bread for 9.15.22: Tim Michels, the Man Who Would Be King

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with high of 79. Sunrise is 6:35 AM and sunset 7:03 PM for 12h 28m 13s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 71.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets at 5:30 PM

  On this day in 1588, the “Invincible Armada,” sent by Catholic King Philip II of Spain to overthrow Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England, is defeated in the English Channel. 

Many years ago, for a brief period, Wisconsin had a would-be king. It’s a sad, absurd tale:

On this date James Jesse Strang, leader of the estranged Mormon faction, the Strangites, was crowned king; the only man to achieve such a title in America. When founder Joseph Smith was assassinated, Strang forged a letter from Smith dictating he was to be the heir. The Mormon movement split into followers of Strang and followers of Brigham Young. As he gained more followers (but never nearly as many as Brigham Young), Strang became comparable to a Saint, and in 1850 was crowned King James in a ceremony in which he wore a discarded red robe of a Shakespearean actor, and a metal crown studded with a cluster of stars as his followers sang him hosannas. Soon after his crowning, he announced that Mormonism embraced and supported polygamy. (Young’s faction was known to have practiced polygamy, but had not at this time announced it publicly.) A number of followers lived in Walworth County, including Strang at a home in Burlington. In 1856 Strang was himself assassinated, leaving five wives. Without Strang’s leadership, his movement disintegrated. [Source: Wisconsin Saints and Sinners, by Fred L. Holmes, p. 106-121]

There is, however, an upcoming election that would bring Wisconsin close to a governor with king-like powers (and no need for a discarded red robe).

The two principal elections in Wisconsin his fall, gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests, look to be close, as recent polling confirms. A Republican victory in the gubernatorial race would leave the victor in a different position, however, from a Republican victory in the U.S. Senate race. 

If Ron Johnson wins, and the Republicans also take the majority, it would be McConnell, not Johnson, who would be in a position of power. Johnson would be one of 51 or more, but McConnell would be leader of the whole caucus.

By contrast, if Tim Michels wins, it is he who would have executive authority to advance the legislative agenda of the gerrymandered WISGOP Assembly. One can confidently assume that abortion would be illegal in almost all cases, the state university system would undergo a complete transformation, and there would be additional restrictions on ballot access and voting. 

Not long from now, a Connecticut homeowner may come as close to a king as Wisconsin has ever seen. 

 Recreating a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ with an Excel Spreadsheet Drum Machine Hack:

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