Governor Rick Snyder has signed so many momentous bills in the last week that some which normally might have gotten headlines have been almost overlooked. One was yesterday.
This is a new law that makes it harder to recall state officials, meaning to remove them from office by a special election before their term is over. There’s bound to be a lot of grumbling that this is anti-democratic, that the lawmakers did this to protect themselves from being removed by outraged citizens.
Well, I am sure that may have been a motivation for some. But in fact, making recalls harder is a good thing. Good for democracy and our state, and will make it easier for lawmakers to do their jobs.
Here’s why. We already have a system of recalls -- it’s called elections. Officials serve short terms. House members have to run every two years. State senators and most other state officials, including the governor, every four years. Only judges serve longer.
In order for representative democracy to work, elected officials sometimes must make unpopular decisions. Washington did, Lincoln did, the Roosevelt’s and Reagan did. State legislators, ditto.
But in recent years, any time Michigan lawmakers have done something some faction doesn’t like, it’s been common to start hollering “recall.”