We’ve been here before – recently – how we respond will make a difference.
Since Christmas 2016, I’ve posted a grand total of three opinion pieces on this site, which is a very far cry from my usual pace; blame the weird hours of my current work schedule. The interesting thing about working “dawn patrol” is that I get to spend a great deal of time paying attention to my newsfeed. Many credible political pundits, whom I follow on that newsfeed, are referring to last week’s elections outcome as a “split decision” on a national scale. Fair enough. But here in the “Great Lake Effect State” (lots of snow on the ground last weekend), we’re armpit deep in something that isn’t snow.
The Michigan Republican Party seems to be the structurally weakest it’s been since the immediate aftermath of the Milliken Administration (circa 1983), a “rule of empathy” majority now holds the state’s Supreme Court, and an underinformed electorate has just enshrined systemic election fraud into the state’s constitution. Oh, and just in case it matters, the Libertarian Party of Michigan promptly lost their brand-new “major party” status, due to election underperformance. As with the other time something similar happened this century, the key question ought not so much be, “What happened?” as it ought to be, “What are we going to do about it?” . . . because that second question is the one that we must answer if we’re going to accomplish anything constructive going forward.
Will Proposal 15-1 become a bridge too far for the GoverNerd?
According to a colleague of mine, the power of government (at any level), over its law-abiding citizens, is directly derived from the taxation authority. Think about that for a moment or two. In a truly free society, the government has no means to control the behavior of its citizens who aren’t actual criminals, nor will those citizens tolerate any such action from their duly-elected public servants. And while the citizenry does indeed pay taxes – because even in a free society, the government still has the authority to tax – control of the taxation mechanism isn’t left to the arbitrary whims of government functionaries, and the true tax burden is plainly visible for all to see.
By that measure, it’s been at least five decades since Michigan was a truly free state. Since being gifted with an income-based taxation model, and a full-time legislative model, the state that was once the engine of freedom has progressively mutated into a socialist laboratory, at best a generation between now and whatever bankruptcy chapter awaits a nominally sovereign state collapsing into receivership. And in that regard, I don’t think it overly dramatic to suggest that this statewide special election to decide the fate of a legislative piece of sausage is similar to Gettysburg . . . if we don’t stop them here, then where will we ever be able to stop them at all?
The upside is that We the People received a bit of good news on this front yesterday, though how this’ll ultimately play out is still an open question.
Safe Roads YES! is already running media ads . . . why aren’t their opponents?
So, about three weeks ago, Safe Roads YES! launched their radio and television ad campaign, designed to convince us that jacking up our per-person state tax-and-fee burden by roughly $248.12 – permanently (not including inflation adjustments to the wholesale fuel tax) – is a good idea. To do so, they’re using the standard tactics of bogus statistics and emotional appeals, praying that the typical low-information voter isn’t going to do even the basic homework into the legislative piece of sausage that the GoverNerd and his hodge-podge of allies are doing their damnedest to slide by us roughly six weeks from now.
And you’d think that at least one of the organizations or individuals lined up to oppose the Michigan Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Amendment would have already snagged media buys for at least one well-produced television commercial. I’ll freely admit that I don’t spend much time in front of the boob tube these days, but I can’t seem to get through even one prime-time television show (regardless of channel) without seeing at least one Pro-1 30-second spot. The reason that bugs me (both the pro-1 ad campaign and the absence of an anti-1 ad campaign) has less to do with polling, and more to do with my understanding of voter behavior.