Recall Snyder?
A partisan stunt in the Wolverine State.

Michigan governor Rick Snyder


Katrina Trinko

If some Michigan liberals have their way, the Wolverine State’s governor, Rick Snyder, will be the next Scott Walker.

“Governor Snyder is bad for Michigan. Our citizens cannot afford to wait another two years to get rid of this corporate monster; the recall will chop off its head,” said Jan BenDor in a statement. BenDor serves as an election specialist for Michigan Rising, the group that’s working to gather 1.1 million signatures to remove Snyder. (Only around 800,000 are needed, but the group wants to make sure that it has enough to withstand many being thrown out).

Unlike Wisconsin, in which state a bill that sought to limit collective-bargaining powers was the reason behind the recall, there seems to be no single issue behind Michigan Rising’s recall rationale. Instead, BenDor offers a laundry list of complaints in her statement.

“Governor Snyder has abused the children of Michigan,” she said. “He cut thousands of children off food aid. He robbed $400 million from the School Aid Fund, and then slashed school payments. This forced children into crowded classes. Then he signed more laws that privatize services, attack teachers and blame unions.”

Matt Frendeway, the state GOP’s director of communications, dismisses the recall as a purely partisan stunt: “I think what’s driving them is their frustration he’s succeeding,” he says.

Greg MacNeilly, a Michigan GOP strategist, argues that it’s ridiculous for the group to claim they’re driven by school cuts since former Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm also slashed education funding. Instead, MacNeilly contends, it’s Michigan’s emergency-manager law — which Snyder signed into law last year — that’s driving Michigan Rising. The law is despised by the Left (liberal magazine Mother Jones headlined a piece about it “Michigan’s Hostile Takeover”), in part because it allows union contracts to be broken. Although Michigan law had previously allowed the state to intervene when localities were in desperate financial straits, permission to break union contracts was among the new additions to the bill Snyder signed.

“The biggest thing that the Democrats have coalesced around is this emergency-manager law,” says MacNeilly. “But in Benton Harbor and in Flint and in a few other cities, Snyder sent in an emergency-manager and one of the things they get to do is abrogate contracts. So all the union contracts were zeroed out and they started over. They fixed Benton Harbor in 18 months and that had been a city that had been in and out of the verge of bankruptcy for 20 years.”

The repeal is not the only tactic being employed against Snyder. A separate effort to put repeal of Snyder’s emergency-manager law onto the November ballot is underway, and the real energy seems to be behind that measure — not the effort to recall Snyder. Also competing for attention is an effort — backed by the United Auto Workers union — to add an amendment to the state constitution that would make it unconstitutional for Michigan to pass a right-to-work law.