Question 1): A high-powered, seemingly bipartisan group has announced it is mounting a petition drive to amend Michigan’s three-decades-old term-limits requirement embodied in the state Constitution. This will require obtaining at least half a million signatures on petitions to be obtained by July. This proposal would REDUCE the number of years a legislator could serve from the current 14 years to only 12, but it would allow “flexibility” such that a legislator could serve all of those years in a single chamber, if they are elected. In other words, somebody could serve 12 years in the state House OR 12 years in the state Senate, or a combination of the two totaling 12 years. As a “sweetener” to get voters to approve something they might otherwise reject, the proposal would also impose financial disclosure requirements similar to those mandated for Members of Congress, which would certainly be appealing to the news media and the electorate. But the proposal also would allow FORMER legislators to RETURN to the Legislature if they can get elected, and start the clock running again on how long they can serve. The current constitutional language does NOT allow that. How likely is it that this proposal will be able to collect the necessary minimum number of signatures to qualify for the November 8 general election ballot, and, if so, is it likely to be approved by the voters statewide?
Answer 1): The group will be able to count on “dark money” (501 c.4s) to fund their effort, so there’s a good chance they can actually succeed in being able to place such a constitutional amendment on the ballot for the first time ever since voters approved the original term-limits language back in 1992. But will it pass muster with the voters? California and Arkansas, the last two states with term-limits language as draconian as Michigan’s, DID get voters to loosen up their strict term limits language, but California did so without allowing an ‘escape clause” for former lawmakers to run again under the new language. Arkansas initially kept the “lifetime ban,” but liberalized the law in 2020 to allow lawmakers to sit out four years before they would be allowed to try again. The backers of this Michigan amendment may be attempting a “bridge too far” by repealing the lifetime ban, thereby giving the opponents of this attempted ballot proposal a weapon to use against it, which they are already employing. The big question is WHY the pro-amendment group chose to do this, and will it cost them in November? Right now the answer appears to be that it well could.
Question 2):. If Donald TRUMP succeeds in making adherence to claims that ‘the 2020 election was stolen’ the ‘acid-test’ for Michigan Republicans to win nominations at the GOP state convention, would that hurt Republican chances in November?
Answer 2): Of course. A “GOP state convention” nominates candidates only for STATEWIDE office, and no such Republican nominee should have to run with that albatross around his or her neck if he or she doesn’t want it. Every Republican up and down the ballot should do a “Youngkin” (who, remember, was nominated for governor at a Virginia state convention, not a primary) and not incur Trump’s wrath if he or she doesn’t pledge allegiance to the former president’s grievances. They should get the GOP nomination and go from there.
Question 3): . In recent weeks we’ve had the Canadian trucker protest and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to the omnipresent issue of inflation. Has the COVID-19 pandemic already been relegated to the political backburner? Which major political party benefits the most if it has?
Answer 3): COVID will be far less of a factor than it looked like it would be a year ago, unless there’s a recurrence of some “variant” that forces the issue again. Gretchen Whitmer certainly realizes that she and her party will be the clear beneficiaries if the COVID issue would just go away. Of course, even a so-called “new” issue like the Canadian trucker protest IS an offshoot of COVID and the government’s heavy-handed and often incoherent response in dealing with it. Ukraine and foreign policy — especially if they exacerbate the inflation problem — will be more important, plus issues we haven’t even thought of at this point.
Question 4): Is there any type of audit that might verify the result of the 2020 presidential election while also satisfying those who claim that Trump actually won?
Answer 4): “Those who claim that Trump actually won” will NEVER be satisfied with any type of audit, no matter what such an enterprise might reveal, so why even try?
Question 5): The Michigan Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) members recently voted themselves a 7% pay hike. Is this ultimately an “insider story” that will hold the general public’s attention for about ten minutes and quickly be forgotten?
Answer 5): As someone said, it ain’t over till it’s over. We don’t even know for sure what the final maps will look like. We’ve still got to get through all the litigation. Meanwhile, the Legislature has to deal with the part-time MICRC’s cost overruns and its request for 7% salary hikes that will make the commissioners almost as well compensated as state senators and representatives. Once we get done with all that, let’s assess whether, despite their arrogance and their stumbles, the MICRC actually succeeded in drawing maps that withstood all court challenges. If the commission emerges relatively unscathed, that should pretty much be the end of it. After all, who are the news media and electorate going to punish if they don’t like the MICRC’s behavior and its work product? — they did it to themselves by approving this process at the polls in 2018.