Finley: GOP should pre-empt pot vote
There may be some merit to the suggestion that Republican lawmakers should go ahead and legalize the recreational use of marijuana to keep the question off the ballot in November.
Pot legalization has proven to be a voter turnout driver in other places where it’s appeared on the ballot, and voters motivated by the issue tend to be more liberal and thus more inclined to cast the rest of their votes for Democrats.
Early indications already suggest the possibility of a heavier than normal Democratic turnout. Liberal voters angered by President Donald Trump have been tilting special elections to Democrats across the country.
The pot measure is likely to pass anyway, according to polls. Republicans may buy some favor with the electorate, while keeping single issue voters at home, by pre-emptively enacting the proposal.
It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve made such a move. In 2006, Republican lawmakers struck a deal with Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm to raise the minimum wage to head off a ballot proposal that looked sure to pass and was likely to bring liberal voters flocking to the polls.
Legalizing the recreational use of pot might be a bigger stretch for Republicans. But with the measure polling above 60 percent, getting out in front of the vote would be smart strategy.
And it might cause younger, unaligned voters to view the GOP in a different light.
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