Why Michigan Democrats would struggle to recall Rick Snyder

Pro-union forces are furious over the Wolverine State's new right-to-work law. But trying to oust Michigan's GOP governor would be incredibly difficult

A trampled sign lies on the ground after a rally to protest Michigan's new right-to-work law.
(Image credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Michigan's quick adoption of a right-to-work law appeared to catch enraged union leaders by surprise. As Michigan is famed for its powerful unions, and since right-to-work laws are seen as a grave threat to unions, drastic political action seems like a strong possibility in the wake of the new law's passage. Already, there has been discussion of recall attempts against GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and members of the legislature. However, due to several factors, including the way Michigan's recall laws are written, these recalls may end up being just idle threats.

This may seem odd. Not only are unions still strong in Michigan — though nowhere near their former peak — but the state has also been a fervent user of recalls in the past. It is almost ground zero for the recent recall boom. Last year it was home to almost 20 percent of the recalls that made a ballot around the country. This year saw a drop-off, but Michigan was still home to 24 recalls. Michigan has also been the home of numerous recalls of state legislators. Four state legislators have faced recalls (two in 1983, the Speaker of the House in 2008, and one more in 2011). Three of those legislators were removed.

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