A few days ago, two Colorado State legislatures were removed from office in a recall election that gained national attention.
Why two state senators recalled?
Because they supported an extreme gun control bill that passed earlier this year. The bill restricted gun magazines to under 15 rounds and required universal background checks on all firearm sales.
And the kick is that both state legislatures were Democrats.
State Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron were both recalled in a heavily contested recall election that had major backers on both sides of the arena.
The NRA on one side, and billionaire New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg on the other. Both heavily funded their respective side; hoping to further spread their agendas, and gain national attention.
And it seems like Bloomberg picked the short straw.
John Morse lost by a 343 votes, and Angela Giron lost in a landslide victory for the gun rights movement; 56 percent to 44 percent. Both will be replaced by Republican lawmakers.
But what really should surprise you is that this is the first recall election in Colorado’s history. And it succeeded in removing two Democrats, one of whom is in a democratic high precinct.
How’d they manage to accomplish such an astounding victory?
And how can you learn from their success to effectively plan a recall election when the time comes for you (The People) to take matters into your own hands?
Here’s how you do it…
1. Revolve it around an important national issue
You know why the Colorado recall election grabbed so much attention?
Because it revolved around gun control. That was the basis for voter discontent.
If you’re going to set up a recall election make sure the issue is A) familiar, B) national and C) strong enough for people to passionately support it.
Gun control fits all three requirements. Most people are familiar with the topic, it’s a national issue, and both sides are passionate about their stance.
Focusing your recall election around regional state or precinct concerns can still be effective, but the chances of success will be lower. A national issue creates a national interest, which means more attention (and support) to your recall election.
2. Recall state officials for the right reasons
This is vital to understand before thinking about setting one up.
Recall elections are not supposed to be utilized every time your state legislature does something you don’t like.
Think of it this way. The recall election is your big gun; your last resort if all else fails. If you’re pulling out the recall card on a regular basis it’ll only end up hurting your chances of carrying out a successful recall election when it matters.
What are some right reasons to start a recall election then?
A violation of your individual rights (as laid out by the Constitution and your state constitution) is a good place to start. Let’s not forget that Colorado did their recall election for the same reason.
The US Constitution gives you the right to own a gun. The Colorado constitution, under Article II, section 13, gives Coloradans the right to bear arms. The Democrats’ bill to limit the size of gun magazines was an obvious restriction of that freedom.
Some wrong reasons to start a recall election?
Failure to provide government healthcare or welfare, Market regulations weren’t passed, public schools didn’t receive appropriate funding, and the list goes on.
3. Get backing from major action funds and organizations
When you look at the politics that surrounded the Colorado recall election you’ll notice that both the NRA (a pro-gun rights organization) and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (a billionaire gun control supporter) backed their respective side of the conflict.
But their backing wasn’t limited to just words and presence. Both groups donated massive amount of money as well.
Reported contributions to Morse and Giron totaled about $3 million, dwarfing the reported amount raised by gun activists who petitioned for the recall, though some independent groups didn’t have to report spending. Both the NRA and Bloomberg contributed more than $300,000 to the pro- and anti-recall campaigns.
It should go without saying that receiving the backing of large political organizations goes a long way to helping a recall election succeed. Not only do they give you financial support to run adds, banners, and the like, but they also bring with them a large audience to tap into.
What gets these big players in the game? It all has to do with what I talked about in the previous two points.
4. Have The People on your side
This is exactly why the Democrats lost the recall election. They didn’t have the support of the people.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll last month, voters in the state opposed the gun laws by a margin of 54%-40%. Democrats were supportive of the measures, 78%-16%, while Republicans more strongly opposed them, 89% to 7%.
More importantly for electoral purposes, a majority of independent voters opposed the laws, 56%-39%. [emphasis added]
This is why the Democrats lost. They ignored their constituents.
For your recall election to work you have to have The People behind you. It all goes back to picking the right issue to start a fight over.
It also means being on The People’s side, listening to them, and acting on their wishes.
Colorado Democrats failed in that respect. They passed a gun control bill despite opposition from the people.
That is not how you gain the support of the populace.
You can learn a lot from the recent events in Colorado.
As an elected official your duty is to listen to your voters. Failing to do so will lead to you being fired.
For a successful recall election to work you have to revolve it around an issue that’s prevalent (and yes, heated). Only then can you gain the backing and financial support to remove unruly politicians.
Hopefully, this guide will help you with your own state recall elections. Whenever a politicians crosses that line of violating your rights the only logical step is to teach them whose boss.
You’re the boss.