Michigan Rising’s effort to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ends

The good fight was fought

After the devastating result on Tuesday to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Michigan Rising, the group who organized two efforts to recall Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, has decided to end its signature gathering. It’s a smart decision given the apparent lack of enthusiasm, interest and level of involvement by Michiganders from the highest levels of the Michigan Democratic Party and unions to the ground level grassroots volunteers. A sparse turnout at their kickoff rally was only one of many symptoms of what appears to be a malaise that has infected progressive activists in Michigan. This only became more apparent as they reached June 1st with only a few thousand signatures, well below what would be needed to be successful.

Ending the recall attempt now allows efforts to be focused more intensely on the election of democrats at every level, particularly in our state legislature. It is important to realize that the Wisconsin results had a glimmer of good news. With the victory of Democrat John Lehman over Republican Van Wanggaard in Wisconsin’s 21st state senate district, the Wisconsin senate is now majority Democrat. Because of that, Scott Walker no longer has the ability to do whatever he wishes to do.

The situation is the same in Michigan. If we can flip just a handful of seats from Republican to Democrat, we can turn the House blue and make sure that not a single piece of legislation hits the desk of Rick Snyder that doesn’t have a the Democratic seal of approval on it.

Michigan Rising says they will shift to becoming a “think tank” to rival the conservative think tanks. I’m dubious about such a claim and about think tanks in general. Also, Progress Michigan already fills this niche and it is unnecessary for there to be two competing progressive groups of this nature. It seems to me that their efforts are better spent on the state House and Senate elections that are so critically important to stopping the Republican juggernaut in our state. Perhaps this is what they will do.

My hat is off to them and to all of the volunteers for Michigan Rising and the Committee to Recall Rick Snyder before them. Thousands of you worked hard for an uncertain outcome because you believed in the cause. The lack of success is simply an outcome of the lack of involvement by key parties that could have made a significant difference, the difficulty of the task itself and the lack of experience of those who led the effort. It is not a reflection of the passion, hard work and dedication of the volunteers who gave their time, energy and sweat in the attempt.

Here is the press release from Michigan Rising, released this morning:

Effort to Recall Governor Snyder Enters New Phase as Recall Effort Ends

Michigan Rising has been deeply impressed by the energy and passion shown by the thousands of volunteers and petition signers over the past 15 months. Michigan residents from all walks of life have demonstrated a commitment to one goal: stopping the corporate takeover of Michigan. Michigan Rising attempted to accomplish this goal through an effort to Recall Governor Rick Snyder.

“It has become abundantly clear that Michigan Rising was not going accomplish its goal of recalling Governor Snyder. The results in Wisconsin crystalized how difficult a task it is to recall a sitting governor, even when the unions and the Democratic Party play a significant role in the effort. To quote the words of Senator Ted Kennedy, ‘The work goes on. The cause endures. The hope still lives and the dream shall never die,’” said Communications Director Bruce Fealk.

The recall effort was well short of its benchmark to have 200,000 petition signatures by June 1.

Michigan Rising as of Thursday, June 7, 2012, will no longer be collecting signatures to recall Governor Snyder. The fact that Wisconsin could not oust Governor Walker after 16 months of protests and gathering over 1 million signatures makes it clear how difficult it is to recall a governor and why it has only been successful twice in U.S. history.

However, Michigan Rising is not giving up on the goal of stopping the corporate takeover of our beloved state. Michigan Rising will be transitioning from a recall effort into a long term project to develop a progressive think tank to rival conservative think tanks, and develop progressive leaders and support current progressive legislators.

Corporate interests proved, yet again, that a huge funding gap can influence the ballot box.

Our volunteers aren’t finished. You’ll soon see Michigan Rising volunteers raising awareness of Governor Snyder’s tactics, fighting to protect union rights and working to restore the social safety net and becoming progressive leaders.

Julius Muller, Michigan Rising’s CEO said, “We will continue to forge ahead in this battle against the corporate takeover of Michigan. While our tactics will change and our processes adapt, our goal to preserve democracy remains. I believe our decision to end this campaign is the right one. It will allow Michigan Rising to explore more viable options and free our network of supporters and volunteers to focus on more feasible opportunities through which we can achieve the victories necessary for democracy to ultimately prevail.”

We might be putting down the clipboards, but we’re revving up. We’re going to Occupy This Governor. We want to create a think tank to advance the best ideas for Michigan – not the most convenient ideas money can buy. We’re going to get out the vote in the August and November elections.

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  • Marty Townsend

    Our thoughts on becoming a think tank is not to compete with groups like Progress Michigan and Michigan Forward, which also fill similar roles, but to work WITH them toward the attainment of those goals and objectives that overlap. One lesson to be learned from the GOP is that having more than one “Think Tank” does not have to mean strife and competition between the entities. The individual units have some singular goals, but they often work together to promote other goals held jointly by the various groups. By combining our resources, it is our hope that we, as progressives, become a stronger and more cohesive TEAM, working together to attain the much needed legislative balance in Michigan while promoting awareness and education on the issues affecting our great state. One of the largest problems we have seen in Michigan, on the progressive side of the fence, is an unwillingness to work together to attain goals and that practice must be discontinued in order for us to succeed and ultimately to thrive, and to regain a balance in Michigan politics. If we do not start working together and combining resources, the GOP will have succeeded in their “divide and conquer” strategy.

    • cryingliberty

      I hate to tell you this, but the big reason that the GOP is as successful at getting their message out as they are has absolutely nothing to do with teamwork. Linking arms with Progress Michigan and Michigan Forward is a good thing, to be sure, but the Democratic party and the liberal wing of American politics needs to better understand the conservative playbook if they’re ever going to -firmly- win the hearts of more than just the intelligentsia and socially-conscious individuals.

      The conservative message spreads so well because of what it appeals to. It appeals to fear, it appeals to emotion, and it appeals to instinct in its arguments. Conservativism appeals to stability, to predictability, and to lack of change; in the conservative mindset, change creates uncertainty, change flies in the face of stability and predictability, and therefore, creates fear of the unknown. We are, after all, creatures of habit, and therefore, we feel comfortable when things are knowable and predictable, and we are afraid when things are mutable and chaotic.

      The conservative mindset also champions individualism, sometimes to the point of absurdity — where the individual is all that ultimately matters. The conservative message has become virulently antisocial – by which, I mean that the conservative message seems to comically oppose any greater sense of unified society; it almost seems to take John Donne’s classic poem “no man is an island entire of itself” and push it as to the opposite logical extreme.

      Are there people who might be capable of living in complete isolation from their fellow man, either because they possess the skills to survive or have so much money that it’s a moot point? Sure, but those people are far and few between. We aren’t in the colonial days or territorial days of America, where you could go out with some wood, build a fence around some land and claim it as your own and start living off of the land. Those days are over.

      One of the things that the liberal arm of American politics has done an exceedingly poor job of in general is showing us what will result if we continue on the path we’re on. The “fringe voices” out there scream and howl about what we’re doing to ourselves, but until the mainstream is forced to come to grips with the reality of what will happen, either through indisputable evidence or grisly object lessons of just how horrific greed and avarice are, people will not buy in.

      People asked, in the wake of Scott Walker’s survival in the recall, how people could be so blind as to be a card-carrying union member and yet still support his extraordinarily hostile position towards unions – when thirty-something percent of union members actually supported Walker in the recall. While I am certain many factors (including willful ignorance) played into this, I am also certain that the idea of “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” played into their decisions. Better in their minds to allow Walker, whose position, however terrible and despicable, is known, to finish his term than to allow Barrett, who can very easily preach one thing and do another (as Walker and Snyder -both- have done with their respective stations) to take the reins. Better to allow someone whose position you know and understand to remain than someone who may say one thing and do another to step in and make things even worse.

      All of this plays into fear, emotion, and instinct. Am I saying that the Democrats need to start making everyone afraid and playing the Republicans’ game? Not necessarily, but the liberal arm of American politics needs to learn very quickly how to either counter or disarm the conservative ploys of appealing to our baser instincts. Helping to defuse the fear of “the other”, making the case cogently and smartly for acting in a unified fashion, forcing people to think critically about how their situation and their actions affect others and how they are, despite every effort of Republicans, not alone and isolated in the fabric of society, no matter how much they might otherwise think.

      There is a severe lack of social consciousness in America right now – if people could be made to understand, to gain some awareness and consciousness of their fellow man and how his situation affects their own, we might not be in such a divisive place today.

  • Ginger Mom

    The article said there as a glimmer of hope with Lehman’s win. FYI – Wisconsin Senate won’t be is session again until January 2013 – after the Nov election. The Republicans will have the majority back by then. Also, side note, There are many reports of voter and poll worker intimidation in Lehman’s district. His seat was probably stollen – that’s why voter ID is so vital.

    • nabsentia23

      Yeah, right! In case you don’t know, I’m being sarcastic.

  • Mariah

    Sucks.

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