Medicaid for Idaho snake-oil purveyor Reclaim Idaho isn’t a grassroots organization. tells us grassroots indicates “the common or ordinary people, especially as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file.”

Are Reclaim Idaho’s leaders of said grassroots? One has to search for answers as their “Our Team” web page fails to provide “CV” details. (It’s almost as if they’re hiding that information from the public.)

Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville is, indeed, from Sandpoint. However, according to, he’s also “a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for American Studies at Columbia University.” Pretty elite is Columbia — it’s also in New York, which is a heck of a commute from Sandpoint.

What is Reclaim Idaho ? According to Idaho Business Review, its communications director, Jeremy Gugino, was “communications director for Idaho Democrat A.J. Balukoff’s gubernatorial campaign (and formerly) the communications director for the Democratic Caucus in the Idaho State House and Senate.”

What is Reclaim Idaho? Executive Director Rebecca Cleveland-Schroeder ran for the Idaho State A4 (Coeur d’Alene) Representative slot as a Democrat. Treasurer Deborah Silver was a Democratic candidate for Idaho’s Senate.

What is Reclaim Idaho? Clearly at least these four (of six) members of Reclaim Idaho’s leadership team are political apparatchiks and so not rank and file.

Reclaim Idaho doesn’t list donors on its website (quelle surprise). However, the Los Angeles Times noted that “With funding from the Fairness Project (Medicaid expansion) advocates in Nebraska, Idaho and Utah were able to fan out across their states and collect more than enough signatures.” (11/16/18)

The Fairness Project is run by the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West , a California-based labor union.

Prominent leadership and out-of-state financing equal Astroturf fakery, not a grassroots movement.

So when Marty Trillhaase calls Reclaim “grassroots,” he’s either naively accepting their phony claim at face value or eliding over inconvenient information. (LMT 8/14/19)

Trillhaase also repeated Reclaim’s claim that the initiative process is a “right” – that’s just not so. The right to petition the government is in the U. S. Constitution and Article 2 of the Idaho Constitution affirms that “All political power is inherent in the people” but exercising that power via an initiative isn’t specified.

Idaho’s initiative process is a matter of statute law — specifically Title 34, Chapter 18.

Guess what? Not every state allows initiatives. Democrat-stronghold states Minnesota and New York are among those that don’t.

Ballotpedia provides a useful roundup of state initiative and referendum processes ( as well as a brief history of same in the United States (

They note that referenda were prevalent until the 19th century when both populists and progressives began pushing for citizen-proposed initiatives.

Idaho approved the initiative process in 1912 but didn’t actually pass one until 1938. Traditionally and happily, she has seen far fewer on the ballot than her neighbor to the west. (Few things are worse than enduring Washington’s perennial parade of initiative ads.)

The low number of truly grassroots attempts to change Idaho’s laws and Constitution is a reflection of the conservative tendencies of the state’s population — as is the robust health of the Idaho GOP versus the ongoing necrotizing of the Idaho Democratic Party.

Given that necrosis, it’s no wonder out-of-state carpet-baggers and their Idaho-affiliated Democratic rent-boys have glommed onto Idaho’s initiative process.

One can readily see in Trillhaase’s cheerleading for initiatives a tacit admission that Idaho’s Democrats have failed at representative government — failed so profoundly that funneling out-of-state monies into niche ballot initiatives is the only way Democrats can impact Idaho’s Legislature.

However, in reacting to the threat posed by the sinister forces behind Reclaim Idaho the Idaho Legislature went way overboard.

No matter how Astroturf is Reclaim Idaho – no matter how disgusting the chancres erupting on Idaho’s body politic due to her Democratic Party prostituting itself — no tricks were turned at the ballot box by Idaho voters.

Idahoans should be free to make law however good or bad the product that results – just like their legislators.

No special interest from outside the state should be able to buy their way onto an Idaho ballot but, once passed by the people, the Legislature should have to respect a reasonable moratorium before it can rescind an initiative.

Revisiting Idaho’s initiative statutes to provide these and other protections should fall to an independent commission.

The Legislature should then put the commission’s recommendations before the people as a referendum and let them decide.

Hennigan, of Lewiston, is an instructional technology administrator at Lewis-Clark State College. His email address is

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