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Vox Sentences: Scott Walker’s revenge

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

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Wisconsin’s lame-duck session strips the new governor of power; Theresa May comes home from Brussels empty-handed.

Scott Walker hamstrings his successor

Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed bills on Friday that take power away from Wisconsin’s new governor, a Democrat, and give it to Republican lawmakers in the statehouse. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • The bills cut down on early voting hours and will make it harder for Gov.-elect Tony Evers to keep some of his campaign promises — including withdrawing Wisconsin from an Affordable Care Act lawsuit and eliminating work requirements for Medicaid. [NBC / Dartunorro Clark]
  • The state legislature, controlled by Republicans, passed the bills in a special lame-duck session to get the legislation through before Evers takes office in January. [NYT / Mitch Smith and Monica Davey]
  • But the bills were months in the making, plotted out so that Republicans could shore up their policy changes even if Democrats won in November. [NYT / Mitch Smith, John Eligon, and Monica Davey]
  • Progressive groups are already planning to file a lawsuit against the bills. [AP]
  • In Michigan, Republicans are trying to follow in Wisconsin’s path — but it’s not clear if Gov. Rick Snyder will go along. [Detroit News / Jonathan Oosting]
  • For scholars of democracy, these are scary developments. Democracy relies on the peaceful transition of power and elected officials’ willingness to accept the legitimacy of elections. Lame-duck power grabs challenge both. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]

Let’s (not) make a deal

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May was hoping to get a better Brexit deal from the European Union. Instead, EU officials ended up ditching a conciliatory statement and hardening their position. [Washington Post / Michael Birnbaum and Quentin Ariès]
  • May needs to be able to show some kind of concession on the EU’s part to skeptical British lawmakers who oppose her deal. The European Union is clearly frustrated with the drama and doesn’t appear inclined to make it any easier. [NYT / Steven Erlanger and Stephen Castle]
  • The EU knows that May’s Brexit deal is incredibly unpopular, and that no matter what they do, it likely won’t pass. [CNN / Nic Robertson]
  • Now May has to reschedule a vote on a deal that isn’t going to go her way. And the likelihood of a “hard Brexit” — an exit from the European Union with no trade deal to replace it — on March 29 is getting bigger. [NBC / Alexander Smith]


  • Most Americans don’t believe some of President Trump’s most prominent false claims. [Washington Post / Glenn Kessler and Scott Clement]
  • The Trump administration is denying government-backed home loans, designed to help low-income homebuyers afford a house, to DACA recipients under an unofficial policy. [BuzzFeed News / Nidhi Prakash]
  • Johnson & Johnson is facing a lawsuit over asbestos in its baby powder, and records show the company knew about the contamination as far back as 1957. [Reuters / Lisa Girion]
  • If you’re looking for a city at the all-important intersection of “good public transit” and “good tacos,” your best bet might be Chicago. [CityLab / David Montgomery]


“This was not a big crime.” [President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Michael Cohen’s campaign finance law violations, to the Daily Beast]

Watch this: How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

And why they want more. [YouTube / Sam Ellis]

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