120 years ago progressive Republicans were a critical support for the reforms of the progressive era. Among them were initiative, referendum and recall, three ways for the people to exercise power directly. Many states adopted these “power to the people” ideas, and are better off for it. Republican Governor Hiram Johnson was able to get all three for California. He was Teddy Roosevelt’s VP on the Progressive ticket of 1912.
Do today’s progressives want power to the people? Do they want a national initiative system, where the people could pass laws, bypassing Congress? Do they want a national referendum, where the people could repeal a law that Congress has passed? Do they want the people to be able to throw out a Senator or Representative who no longer is listening?
Are there enough progressive Democratic state legislators to have such ideas adopted through Article V? Which, of course, is the only way any of them could be adopted.
I say we have a Convention of States in 2021 and find out.
My old buddy Robin Taylor was asking these questions yesterday, and it was something I hadn’t thought of. We’re having a FOSSILS* Zoom meeting tomorrow, and we’ll ask some of our old Democratic colleagues.
* “Former Old Senior Statesmen In Legislative Service”, a group set up by Democratic Senator Wild Mike Szymanski.