Detroit has another new mayor. Voters, or at least a tiny portion of potential voters, selected businessman and former basketball star Dave Bing to take over from the acting mayor Ken Cockrel, Jr. And now they get to do it all again, as the regular mayoral primary comes in early August, followed by the general election in November. This might be a good plan, eh?: Install a new mayor every seven or eight months. Should keep corruption down, since nobody sticks around long enough to get cozy with the corrupters. I’m not sure about effective government, but hey.
But, this is what the city charter called for when the previous former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, resigned. There was no better way to read the charter, even though everyone knew all these elections would, in the implied words of the citizens, suck. Nothing else could be done, legally.
According to the Detroit News, turnout was only about 15 percent of the electorate, which more or less matches the primary turnout in February. So, 85 percent of the potential voters couldn’t be bothered over who should lead a city in crisis? Anyone wondering why the city’s in crisis now?
Of course, they’re still stuck with the same eight city council members until November. Maybe the prospect of throwing a few of them out on their ears will nudge the turnout up a little higher.
It’s not that I’m picking on Detroit here. It’s just that you can’t really have functioning democracy with low voter turnouts, and I’ve said that for years about all kinds of elections.