In a decade in which Michigan Republicans have dominated all three branches of state government, voters have continued to place the state Board of Education in the hands of a lopsided Democratic majority.
To the substantial plurality of Michiganders who feel no strong allegiance to either party, this Democratic exception to GOP rule seems innocuous enough. But to partisan Republicans, it is an insufferable insult — a pea under the mattress of their party's hegemony over state government.
Never mind that the board of education's role is mostly advisory, and that its Democratic majority seems little more, at times, than the ideological counterweight to well-financed movement of Republican activists who would like to outsource Michigan's public education system to for-profit charter school operators.
To the many GOP legislators indebted to the generosity of that movement's dark-money bankrollers, the state board remains a prize worth fighting for, and in recent months their efforts to disrupt the board's history of Democratic control have acquired an increasingly desperate sense of urgency.