The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Keep calm and cast a recall

What? What’s that you say? A bunch of rich white jerks have been elected to Congress again? Hah. Don’t scare me like that. I thought you meant something catastrophic had happened!

Yes, another election day has come and gone. The world is still turning, the American government has not collapsed into all-out anarchy, and the Congress still has a white male majority. The only difference is that most of them are Republican now instead of closer to an even split.

It. Is. Not. The. End.

Stop panicking. A Republican-controlled Senate is not the end of the world. The American government has failsafes built in to make sure the government doesn’t collapse from the little things like Republicans being in charge. And, yes, that applies to the Democrats as well. They are not saints either.

If there is one thing to be learned from sitting through mind-numbingly dull lectures on how the American government works, it is that you eventually take away one shining little fact: the recall election is a glorious invention and exists for a reason.

The recall election is a wonderful part of the American election process, and is the only one that is not used as much as it should be. In essence, the recall allows voters who are dissatisfied with elected officials–for example, officials who aren’t doing their job or are not in line with the will of the people in the case of the Republican Senate, as seems to be the case–to remove them from office before their term is ended.

The recall begins when a sufficient number of voters have signed a petition calling for the official they elected to be removed from office. A sufficient number of voters is defined by the American government as at least 10 percent of voters from the previous election, although the actual figures vary from state to state.

While a Republican-controlled Senate may prove to be a disaster, there is no reason to believe that it will be any worse than a Democrat-controlled Senate or even a bipartisan Senate.

For those who are convinced that a Republican-controlled Senate will always be the worst thing ever, American history has proved that a single party controlling the Senate and/or the House will not make the government collapse. Over the past 100 years, the Republicans have had a majority in the Senate for roughly 34 years total.

The Democrats have had a majority for a rough total of 66 years. In the greater scheme of things, the Republicans have had majority control of the US House and Senate for far less total time than the Democrats have had–26 years in rough total compared to the Democrats’ rough total control of a cumulative 60 years, with an even 14 of bipartisan control.

The US government has survived for over 150 years. Two years of a conservative-controlled government will not make much of a difference. Yes, the Republicans are obstructionist and irritating and make a lot of really poor choices–the majority of which make people hate them, although usually for a good reason–but they have not managed to destroy the country yet.

Elections come and go. Politicians get elected. Life goes on.

And if the politicians are terrible, there is always the recall.

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