The GOP is going to war against popular progressive ballot initiatives -- and 'that should terrify all of us'
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Progressive activists have run up a string of victories in recent years passing ballot initiatives at the state level that have included increases in the minimum wage, legalized pot, and the expansion of Medicaid.

NBC News reports, however, that Republicans have found various ways to resist implementing these initiatives, even when they pass by significant margins.

Additionally, the state GOP lawmakers are working on ways to make it more difficult for ballot initiatives to get put before voters in the first place.

In Idaho, for example, Republicans recently "passed a law that required organizers to gather signatures from all of the state's 35 districts" rather than simply getting a set number of signatures statewide for an initiative to make it onto a ballot.

"That means that future organizers will have to travel to far-flung sections of the rural state, potentially increasing costs of any ballot initiative by millions of dollars for a process that most idealize as a grassroots one," notes NBC News. "Local organizing groups have complained it makes a ballot initiative nearly impossible."

Jim Jones, a former Republican Idaho state attorney general, tells NBC News that he no longer identifies with his party because of the way it has worked to limit democracy.

"They've essentially — not just here in Idaho but in other states, too — attempted to make the initiative process inoperable, so that people don't have a way of getting around a recalcitrant legislature," he explains.

Kelly Hall, the executive director of the progressive Fairness Project, was even more blunt about the challenges her organization faces in trying to organize future ballot initiatives.

"Increasingly partisan state legislatures are realizing that the only way that they can hold onto power is by limiting who can vote and making it harder for people to vote on issues themselves," she said. "That should terrify all of us."