Michigan’s Lame Duck action makes news nationwide

Michigan’s Lame Duck session has been a popular topic around the nation.

More than a dozen major news outlets, including CNN, NBC and The New York Times, have reported on state GOP lawmakers and their frantic attempt to strip authority and decision-making from incoming Democratic statewide officials.

Hillary Clinton

Michigan’s end-of-the-year session also has attracted the attention of national figures on social media. Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, weighed in on Thursday, tweeting that Republicans’ actions in Michigan “dangerous.”

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe tweeted Wednesday: “MEMO to Wisconsin and Michigan: When an outgoing state legislature enacts laws designed to strip an incoming governor or attorney general of executive powers, that violates the typical state constitution’s separation of powers guarantee.”

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a possible 2020 presidential hopeful, tweeted Thursday: “The people spoke in this election! Yet Republican legislators in Michigan & Wisconsin are using lame duck sessions to undermine incoming governors & democracy. With their desperate last-minute bills they’re putting party before the people. Unacceptable!‬⁩”

Here is a roundup of national stories:

The New York Times was in Michigan this week and reports that “Republicans are responding to their Election Day chastening in top statewide races by trying to curb the power of leaders from the opposing party.”

Michigan State Capitol | Susan J. Demas

– In the Washington Post, Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University said that “extreme wings of the GOP have pushed the envelope and are now getting away with things that used to be out of bounds.”

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn said Michigan and Wisconsin show that Lame Duck sessions need to die.

CNBC notes that Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin are “replicating what occurred in North Carolina after Democrat Roy Cooper was elected governor in 2016.”

– In the Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein argues that Lame Duck action in Michigan and Wisconsin is about “the struggle between metropolitan and non-metro America for control of the country’s direction.”

CNN analyst John Avlon says: “Make no mistake: This is an end run around the election result.”

NBC’s story is “‘Banana republic dictators’: Democrats fume over last-minute GOP power-grabs in Wisconsin, Michigan.”

Reuters’ take is that Michigan Republicans are “following Wisconsin’s lead in curbing Democrats’ power.”

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

USA Today ran an op-ed arguing that lawmakers in Michigan and Wisconsin “are threatening democracy itself.”

Slate said Republicans’ actions demonstrate that they believe they have “the right to change the rules of the game to preserve its power.”

ThinkProgress ran with the headline: “Republicans nationwide enact back-up plan after losing elections: just reject the results.”

Huffington Post notes that the bipartisan group No Labels refused to call out Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin over Lame Duck actions.

Vox writes, “There’s no way around it; it’s a power grab that would seriously undermine the platform on which these Democrats campaigned on, and won.”

Salon interviewed a University of Michigan professor about Lame Duck and if Gov. Rick Snyder will sign legislation.

Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman reports on Southeast Michigan, education, civil rights and voting rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.
Susan J. Demas is a 17-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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