What do you do when you aren’t representing the people and they’re starting to get wise to you? You make it harder for them to recall you.
That’s what the Michigan Republicans did this morning.
Amid a flurry of lame duck ALEC based legislation they passed, including allowing concealed weapons in schools, churches, arenas, hospitals and more (that they passed this on the eve of the Connecticut elementary school shooting tragedy appears to have caused no shame), weakening abortion rights, restricting medical marijuana, and taking away collective bargaining from unions, Michigan Republicans also passed legislation aimed at creating a safety net for their theft of democracy.
It is now harder to recall your lawmakers, the governor and local officials, as if it isn’t hard enough already. There is both a shorter time for signature gathering and you now have to have a primary with an opponent rather than an up and down vote on a recall.
Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) asked Republicans, “Why are you making it more difficult to recall an officeholder? We are willing to work on this with you. Yet you jam it through in dark of night on the last night of a lame-duck session… You’re trying to inoculate yourselves from a recall.”
This move echoes the propaganda Republicans sold in Wisconsin, that recalls are not the way to “express” yourself. “Recalls shouldn’t be used for disagreeing with a vote.”
Yes, that’s true. But that is not why people wanted to recall Governors Walker and Snyder.
Both men ran on ONE thing and turned around and did quite another. They misled the voters. Deliberately.
Both men subverted the democratic process in order to pass Koch brother-funded, ALEC-based legislation that was not the will of the people, nor was it designed to address specific matters in the state.
Both states faced financial problems, and those problems were used to justify legislation that many didn’t agree with. But it’s not a matter of the actual policy, even, but a matter of process.
If you have to violate the democratic process, if you have to violate Open Meeting Laws, if you pass things in the dark of night without debate, if you have to lie to the people about your intentions, if you mislead people deliberately, then you should be subject to recall.
Republicans like to make this about the actual policies. The policies are bad enough, especially since they are not designed for the specific needs of those states. They may dress the policies up as “tough” choices for hard fiscal times, but that is not their real agenda – how could it be, when the nationally distributed legislation was written to benefit wealthy billionaires who have their own global agenda.
It’s not about the policies. It’s about the democratic process.
And that’s why Michigan Republicans just took more of that process/freedom away from the people. They don’t want voters to be able to make their displeasure known, so they simply moved the goal post of the recall.