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The Wisconsin State Capitol. Photo: Andy Manis/Getty Images

In state capitals around the country, we're seeing year-end power plays aimed at permanently icing out the political opposition.

Why it matters: The architects of these drives say they’re just running to the tape before they lose juice. But at a time of declining faith in public institutions, these moves can alienate voters, and make it harder for states to be responsive when the electorate demands change.

Driving the news:

  • New Jersey Democrats want to change the state constitution so that the redistricting process is no longer bipartisan, but rather largely led by whoever controls the statewide offices. The state's Democratic governor has vowed to fight the effort, calling it undemocratic.
  • Wisconsin and Michigan Republicans, who lost statewide races but control their state legislatures, are using lame duck sessions to strip incoming Democratic governors and attorneys general of their power and tighten their control on redistricting committees.

The big picture: "The Republican efforts could hurt the party’s image with moderate voters [in the Midwest] ... Yet GOP leaders are determined to push ahead, fearing that their decade-long dominance in the Midwest is coming to an end as newly elected Democrats and the prospect of more competitive districts threaten to shift the balance of power." [NYT]

Be smart: Some of America's most difficult political problems tend to trickle up from the states. Reformers might want to refocus their efforts on where the problems begin.

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Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

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