“Michigan’s strictest-in-the-nation term limits law will force nearly 70 percent of state senators out of office in 2019 and more than 20 percent of representatives,” reports the Detroit News, “a mass turnover that is fueling renewed interest in reform.”
What?!! Could term limitation laws actually make our poor underpaid and overworked politicians vacate their powerful perches . . . even when they don’t want to?
Who could have foreseen this strange turn of events? Who could have predicted that limits on the number of terms politicians may stay in office would mandate that politicians, having reached that limit, would be summarily cast out to live like the rest of us?
Who, I ask you, who?
You guessed. Everyone. The “mass turnover” coming after the 2018 election cycle will indeed be caused by term limits. Booted out will be 26 of 38 state senators and 24 of 110 reps in the House.
While this level of turnover is certainly unheard of in the U.S. Congress and the 35 states lacking term limits, it is not so out of the ordinary for Michigan. For instance, the Great Lakes State saw greater turnover in 2010 with 25 senators and 34 representatives termed-out.
Somehow the state survived.
In fact, one clear result of the state’s toughest-in-the-nation term limits law is the state’s best-in-the-nation level of electoral competitiveness. In both the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, Michigan led the nation with every single state legislative seat contested. Michigan’s 100 percent competitiveness in the last two cycles compares to a national average of just 58 percent in 2016 and 57 percent in 2014.
Is it possible that voters are much fonder of competitive elections than are incumbent politicians and powerful lobbyists? Perhaps that is why the “renewed interest in reform” comes not from the state’s citizens, but their politicians.
Oh, and powerful lobbyists and special interests.
The newspaper report continues: “Term limits remain popular with the voting public, but critics say Michigan rules have thrust inexperienced legislators into complex policy issues they may be ill-equipped to address.”
Rich Studley, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s head-honcho, argues that “Leadership really matters, and experience really matters.” His lobbying outfit, “an influential business group with significant financial resources,” is working to…