Thursday, 9 October 2003

Opposing recalls on principle

Russell Fox, a political scientist at near-neighbor Arkansas State University (whose football team is about to be Ole Miss’ sacrificial lamb for Homecoming), has a lengthy post that makes a reasonably strong case why recalls are a bad thing. As I posted before, I think the tenets of representative democracy are compatible with the recall power, but I can see where an unchecked recall power might harm our system of government, and in some ways I can agree with Russell that the California procedure was a “mess.” (Arguably, the state’s bizarre super-open primary system added to the mess by creating a situation where neither party nominated a decent candidate in 2002.)

I guess the big, open question is how to avoid the “mess” while still retaining a credible threat to lame-duck politicians and permitting a fair selection of candidates on the replacement ballot.

Steve Verdon thinks there are some flaws in Russell’s argument.