Friday, March 11, 2011

Bouncing into view -- the recent explosion in recalls

As numerous commentators have noted, the threat to kick out 16 Wisconsin state Senators is an unprecedented use of the recall. Only once in the recall’s history has as many as three state legislators faced a recall in one term.
But Wisconsin is just the latest, and most prominent, recall battle in the nation. Miami’s mayor is currently fighting a recall, Omaha’s mayor just barely survived one in January and Bell, California just wiped out its Mayor and Council. Recalls have also tried to shoehorn their way onto the federal level, with NJ’s Supreme Court ruling that US Senators are not subject to recalls.
Some political observers have cited a wave of unprecedented voter anger as being the cause of the revitalization of the recall. This is a strange assertion, as it suggests that this wave of voter anger is that greater than any before. The “voter anger” argument ignores more important developments that suggest that the recall is now coming into its own and, barring changes in the law, will continue to grow in use nation-wide. In fact, the recall has been gaining steam since at least 1971.
This blog, and the soon to be launched website, will critically examine the latest updates on recalls happening across the nation, the history of the device, a detailed examination for all state legislative recalls that have taken place up till now, and a look at some of the big historical figures involved with the recall.
A word about the name of the site: The recall has been referred to by many names – such as the “hair-trigger form of Government;” or “Freak Legislation;” but my favorite was the Los Angeles Times, which once called it “The Grand Bounce.” Let’s go bouncing into history and politics and discover what the recall means for the future of the American political system.

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