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Voting 'No' on Proposal 1 Is Good for Michigan

05/04/2015 09:25 am ET | Updated May 04, 2016

The good folks over at Eclectablog feel that liberals and progressives should vote in favor of proposal 1 and have put together a three-part series discussing their rationale. While the assertion that the "truly progressive position is to support [Proposal 1]" is a bit self-aggrandizing and off-putting, the authors present plenty of good reasons to support this ballot measure.

Unfortunately, while claiming to hold the truly liberal position, they seem to be somewhat oblivious to the actual reason for liberals to vote against proposal 1. The opposition isn't to send the legislature a message. History shows that they either don't care or don't understand what voters want. The opposition isn't because Rick Snyder supports it. Voting against your own best interests to spite the man at the top is a conservative thing. The opposition isn't a way to force the legislature back to the drawing board. Properly funding Michigan's infrastructure needs has been kicked down the road for years; this legislature clearly isn't capable of producing a viable solution no matter how long they are given.

No, the real progressive opposition to this bill is finally standing up to the bullies in Lansing and letting them know we aren't going to take this anymore. Getting funds for our roads and bridges, properly supporting public education, and restoring the tax credits for the working poor are all things this legislature should have done without holding voters hostage. The fact that these legislators repeatedly and consistently chose special interests over their constituents' needs should cost them their jobs.

The staff at Eclectablog would probably agree with this statement; however, they seem defeated regarding the prospect of Democrats regaining control and doing the job that voters expect from their elected officials, stating, "If voters weren't motivated to get out and vote in 2014 after all Republicans had done to our state, I have little confidence they will do so in big enough numbers to take back the House and Senate in 2016, either."

Given how demoralized the authors sound a year and a half before the 2016 election cycle, it is no wonder that they are willing to capitulate on Proposal 1. If failure is predetermined, then taking the best deal you can get is the obvious choice. The problem is that the assumption that voters won't remove Republicans in the future is anything but predetermined.

Republicans have put an awful lot of eggs in the Proposal 1 basket and stand to lose some political capital upon its defeat. Democrats can easily show that their Republican counterparts not only passed bill after bill that went against voters' wishes but limited voters' recourse by castrating democracy. Beyond that, few voters are so involved in politics that they would be outraged by many of the things liberal bloggers think should drive people to the polls. Crumbling roads and bridges, however, are a very salient failure of the legislature that voters are certain to remember.

Of course, the biggest reason to be optimistic that 2016 will be different from 2014 is the fact that 2016 is a presidential-election year. Michigan is a blue state, and nothing turns out Democrats like a presidential election. In fact, Michigan has voted for Democrats for president every year since 1988; President Barack Obama carried the state by 17 points in 2008. Given the cacophony of ideologues currently vying for the Republican presidential nomination, it seems likely that the Democratic candidate will again turn out a large number of voters in 2016. These numbers should have a positive impact on Democrats running for state office.

There is little doubt that Michigan needs much of what Proposal 1 offers, but enough is enough. Liberals need to stop taking what they can get and start demanding what they deserve. Considering the results of the past four years, the only way to make sure that happens is to replace as many of the corporate-sponsored Republicans as possible. Voting "no" on Proposal 1 is the first step in removing the devilish shade of red that is slowing strangling this state.