Political change sometimes happens in hiccups.
A burst of innovation. Then a slump in its pace. An idea’s day may be done . . . or may just lie dormant, awaiting conditions for resurgence. Perhaps one tipping point is a rise in the number of voters who have become really, really, really fed up with the excesses of the ruling class.
Consider statewide citizen initiative rights, which many states installed between 1898 and 1920, with few more in the 1970s and Mississippi in 1993. The current total is 24.
Citizens of the other states need initiative rights too. Especially those graded F by the Citizens in Charge Foundation for their lack of initiative rights—for example, Pennsylvania. The Keystone State was rocked by a major legislative pay scandal a few years back, not to mention several scary judicial scandals.
Michael Nerozzi and Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation argue that only initiative rights will enable genuine reform. Pennsylvania’s constitution recognizes the right of citizens to “alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think proper,” but citizens are thwarted by the politicians.
Citizen initiative, the authors say, “is the only reliable mechanism for implementing reforms such as a part-time legislature, term limits, state spending caps, and abolishing gerrymandering.”
It’s a tough sell with the political class. But Pennsylvanians can and will win the right of citizen initiative when enough of them insist. Strongly.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.