Minnesota’s DFL Governor Mark Dayton has taken controversial positions that most Minnesotans oppose, such as support for a subsidized Vikings Stadium, an individual health insurance mandate and gay marriage.
Of course not. Whether the target is liberal like Dayton or conservative like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, honest policy disagreements shouldn’t lead to mid-term recalls. Recalls should be reserved for people who engage in proven criminal behavior. For policy disagreements, we have a tried and true solution — regularly scheduled elections.
If a recall had succeeded in Wisconsin, more mid-term recalls would surely start to sprout around the nation, funded by corporations and billionaires who no longer are limited in their political spending.
And what would policymaking look like if we were in a constant state of policy-based recall elections? Chaos. You think the Minnesota State Capitol is chaotic, polarized and ineffective now? Imagine it in perpetual recall campaign mode.
The other destructive outcome of a policy-based recall epidemic would be leaders who are even more afraid to take positions that don’t have strong majority support, for fear that doing so would make them a target of a multi-million dollar recall drive.
And here is the problem with leaders not questioning majority viewpoints: Many times, the majority is just flat wrong. The majority was very wrong on slavery and civil rights for a long time. It was wrong on the Iraq War, trickle down economics, no new taxes, and single payer health care. We need leaders who are not afraid of questioning the majority viewpoint.
What distinguishes Democrats from Republicans is that Democrats want government to be functional, because they know a dysfunctional public sector can’t help ordinary people pursue the American dream. For that reason, they should oppose these policy-based recall elections that thrust government into mid-term chaos.