Since the US is so divided, should we lessen our focus federal progressive goals and go hyper local?

entremet

Member
Oct 26, 2017
17,209
This is already happening with minimum wage laws passing to higher levels in the Blue States.

So would a lower fed tax rate and a higher state/local tax rate work better for both political groups? States can fund initiatives like M4A, free tuition, and so on. Free tuition isn't a new thing. NYC's CUNY system used to be completely free.

Blue states do have many issues. Housing costs are generally higher and so on. But it just seems the problem with the divided electorate will continue for the foreseeable future. This was the original conceit of the United States. States were also way more distinct and regional than there are today. But that was lost as the monoculture of capitalism has killed much of that.

It's a complex issue for sure. Right now, states compete on jobs as well. We've seen a big migration of companies from California to Texas. Many cite lower taxes, CoL, and a less restrictive business environment in Texas as the reason.

Many would say, but what about abandoning those the red states? I'm not saying that we should literally give up on federal progressive goals. But the whole concept of US federalism was that states would be the laboratory for new ideas. The federal government is not designed, as per our Constitution, for sudden change, unfortunately--look at the McConnell led Senate.

In stark contrast, look all the changes coming to Virginia as Dems take the legislative and progressive branches there. Also, another progressive darling is Minnesota, which has been passing a good portion of progressive legislation.


So I know there's a lot of doom and gloom about the federal government, but stuff is moving at the local level. I do think we, myself included, put too much focus on the federal government. And federal elections becomes this big all or nothing sporting event that leaves half the country dejected. Not only that but that focus encourages less political participation as it only once in four years and put a huge expectation on the federal government.

Thoughts?
 

Slayven

1000% Demon King
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
44,795
Yes, the focus should always been on the local. At all levels, a blue city can get crushed by a red governor like what happened to NC, Charlotte, and Durham
 
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entremet

entremet

Member
Oct 26, 2017
17,209
Yes, the focus should always been on the local. At all levels, a blue city can get crushed by a red governor like what happened to NC, Charlotte, and Durham
Yeah, I'm not saying to give up on federal progressive goals. Mostly to remember that this is a marathon and not get dejected when it seems the federal government is going a specific direction.
 

Bear

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,415
Yes, I live in the most expensive county in the east coast and had my pay slashed due to coronavirus but got zero federal benefits. Housing here is more expensive by default, so I'm shit out of luck because of national parameters set by the federal government. Should always be local.
 

captive

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,189
Houston
no the focus should be local to city, to state, to federal.
Yes, the focus should always been on the local. At all levels, a blue city can get crushed by a red governor like what happened to NC, Charlotte, and Durham
for this reason right here. If you let Rs have federal they can just make laws that supersede local laws. And then when you want to take it to court, they've packed the judges with conservative judges.
 

OnionPowder

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,492
Orlando, FL
You need to make local changes to change the culture of individualism ingrained in so many Americans. The only way to do that is with local interactions and not sweeping global change, because too many aren't prepared for those big changes after decades of getting american right wing ideals bashed into their skulls.
 

teruterubozu

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,883
Urban areas may manage but rural areas are still going to need lots of federal assistance. But yes, there is way too much focus on the political theater at the federal level. It's a modern cultural thing really. In the past people were very local and never moved much so localized politics was very intense. But nowadays we live in a mobile society where people are moving in and out all the time, making for less local emphasis and more of a national one.
 
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entremet

entremet

Member
Oct 26, 2017
17,209
no the focus should be local to city, to state, to federal.


for this reason right here. If you let Rs have federal they can just make laws that supersede local laws. And then when you want to take it to court, they've packed the judges with conservative judges.
Not saying to give up. Bernie has brought a lot to the table and these discussions should continue.

However, he got blasted by a moderate Dem. Most of the voting populace does not want it. We should continue to propagate these ideas, but if they fail federally, which should push them statewide.
 

electricblue

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,064
Abandoning state governments and being wholly fixated on the presidency is a bad strategy, yes
President can't enact the kind of change leftists want
 
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entremet

entremet

Member
Oct 26, 2017
17,209
Urban areas may manage but rural areas are still going to need lots of federal assistance. But yes, there is way too much focus on the political theater at the federal level. It's a modern cultural thing really. In the past people were very local and never moved much so localized politics was very intense. But nowadays we live in a mobile society where people are moving in and out all the time, making for less local emphasis and more of a national one.
I heard Americans are moving less tho?

 
Dec 9, 2017
1,004
Continuing to try and get a president elected as the big goal of the progressive movement is one of its biggest failures (it's the same bad strategy that our third parties have done ad nauseum over the years). Slowly the tides seem to be changing especially with the last congressional cycle but we need tons more candidates at a lower level than even the squad to actually shift the balance of power.

State and local officials are important because they can inspire people to see how they'll directly benefit from certain ideologies and they can push for a more even playing field in the state for elections.
 

teruterubozu

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,883
I heard Americans are moving less tho?

Well comparatively I'm speaking. I'm more talking about the difference between the 19th century and modern times. In the past you would be more familiar with your local governance, laws and proposals. You would know who is president, but federal level politics would have been of less interest than it is today. In the past your local governance would have mostly been town lifers. Today it's very common for local governance to be made up of people from all over the United States and not necessarily born and raised in your home town. I guess my point is that culturally we've been identifying more on a national level than on a local level and it's hard to flip that modern mindset. Even the larger political divide in Washington has seeped into small town politics, so it's become very hard to divorce the two.
 

Kill3r7

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,997
Yes but outside of major metropolitan areas and cities you will find that at the local level you aren’t getting much traction when it comes to progressive policies. NIMBYs is incredibly strong at the local level.
 
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entremet

entremet

Member
Oct 26, 2017
17,209
Yes but outside of major metropolitan areas and cities you will find that at the local level you aren’t getting much traction when it comes to progressive policies. NIMBYs is incredibly strong at the local level.
You're right. Many say much of the lack of progress in infrastructure in the last 30 years is due to powerful NIMBY interest.
 

Jegriva

Banned
Sep 23, 2019
3,150
Yeah, I sometimes wonder if the USA should just peacfully split in two, at this point.
 

Zelas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,696
FUCKING YES!!!

The presidency will never be the shortcut people are making it out to be. Build from the ground up. It's constant work that's required and people need to stop running away from it.
 

TaySan

Member
Dec 10, 2018
8,770
Yes it frustrates me so much when someone says they won't vote all due to not liking a presidential candidate when there is also local elections that are arguably have a bigger impact on their lives.
 

Renna Hazel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,008
I'm going to disagree on lessening a focus on federal goals. We should of course focus on our own states but the federal government is what dragged red states to force progressive policies. Gay marriage would still be against the law in many red states if not for the federal government. The amount of extra abuse that federally protected minority groups would receive means we can't afford to abandon them because they're in a red state.
 

Zombegoast

Member
Oct 30, 2017
5,701
For once I'm happy living in Orange County, Florida where the county mayor is pushing for progressive policy by introducing amendments this year
 

Aaron

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,436
I'm going to disagree on lessening a focus on federal goals. We should of course focus on our own states but the federal government is what dragged red states to force progressive policies. Gay marriage would still be against the law in many red states if not for the federal government. The amount of extra abuse that federally protected minority groups would receive means we can't afford to abandon them because they're in a red state.
Well, it should be a combination of both, really.

The reality is that unless progressives/Democrats figure out a solution to midterm snapback, we only get two years of unified federal control every ten years or so at best. Since Carter we've had exactly four years where Democrats have fully controlled the House, Senate and presidency. Four. Out of forty. The first two years of Clinton's term and the first two years of Obama's. Further exacerbating the problem is that while Republicans in the 80s, 90s and even the early 00s were at least willing to entertain compromise legislation, the Tea Party and now Trump-driven nucleus of the party that's come into power recently is only interested in passing tax cuts and little else.

This isn't really a problem of the Democrats' making, either, so it's not one where I'm sure that it even has a solution. (Republicans get hit by the same effect - turnout was anemic on their side in 2006, and while Republican voters were fired up in 2018, Democrats blew the doors off by comparison) Unless the Democratic base internalizes the importance of midterm elections between now and 2022, we are, at best, looking at two years of united government under Biden (or whoever the nominee will be) until Republicans gain control of the House or Senate (or both!) and muck things up again.

So during those two years? Pass everything we possibly can, of course. There's a ton of no-brainer legislation that's been pent up in Congress for years simply because Republicans didn't want to hand Democrats a victory, even if it was something they originally supported or came up with (the Dream Act, for example, was the brainchild of a Republican Senator in 2000 who then voted against it in 2010 when Obama tried passing it). So even setting aside the big ticket items (like Medicare for All, or even the humbler public option) there's still a lot that can get done, and is more or less unanimously supported by the Democratic Party. But once things go south, the emphasis for new policy gains will have to shift back to the states almost out of necessity.

And then the problem there is that state/local election results are fairly correlated to federal elections, so if we lose government in 2022 we're probably taking a beating in the gubernatorial/state legislative elections too. Ideally Democrats can make significant strides in the Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona state governments this year and get some good bills passed before that happens (along with partial control in states like Iowa, Florida and Texas), but even that'll be tough.

tl;dr - vote in 2022 please (not directed at you specifically, just anyone who happens to be reading this).
 

Steel

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
12,991
Local stuff is super important but states can only do so much since their hands are tied by having to have a balanced budget. They can't do proper Universal Healthcare internally. They can't single-handedly regulate guns since people can easily cross state borders.
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,869
A lot of people have made this argument, most recently Rahm Emmanuel in his latest book, and it's been a phenomenon for centuries in the US.



Rahm Emanuel is going on the book tour for his newest book. He was on with Preet this past week, it's a good interview. Skip the Ian Brehmer part for the first 20-30mins, I think Brehmer is kind of a blowhard.


Cities and states have traditionally taken the lead while the federal government has lagged on almost every key societal issue. Whether it's the abolition of slavery, or climate change, LGTQ+ rights, abortion, women's rights. There are few issues that the Federal government has led on in our history, it usually gets dragged in. The feds have led on some massive projects like the interstate highway system, massive public works, the census, space race, technological development like the internet (Although this was also a mix of a partnership between the Feds + individual, non-state organizations), and more, but for social issues the states, cities, and local governments tend to lead and lead effectively.

Among free societies, the major cosmopolitan cities around world share much more in common than they have different. At the American level this is even more true. People in New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Washington DC, Atlanta, Orlando, Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, Columbus....... etc., are all waaaay more similar to each other than they are different. If you go down the list of social issues with people from these areas, largely, you're going to find a cohesive social identity. Some things may matter more in some areas over others: climate change will be more important for people in New York than Columbus; Energy will be more important for in Phoenix than Seattle; Civil rights will be more important for Atlanta than Denver. But, you don't find strong contrasting opinions.

THe federalization/nationalization of the political debate is what has made the US so partisan and polarized. Everything can be quickly turned into a national issue. E.g., you might like your local city councilman, and maybe that person runs for state-wide office and does a good job on local issues that are important to your state or the district they represent. Today, that's not enough, and that congressman has to be aligned on issues that might not even really affect the people who elect them ... For instance, a progressive congressman in West Pennsylvania will struggle to have progressive energy policy. For them, it's a choice between sending their district into widescale unemployment, or being on the outs on a major national policy issue for their broader constituency. The House isn't really supposed to work this way. House members are supposed to represent their district; Senators are supposed to represent their state; and the executive branch is supposed to represent all Americans, but the nationalization of all politics has skewed this. Now, of course, some issues have always been national issues: Slavery, national security, social security, etc., but most issues shouldn't be.

The reality is still closer to Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil's famous statement, "All Politics is Local." A Crisis exposes the weakness of a federalized government. THe coronavirus, climate change, national security like terrorism or war, election security, national health care, child abuse exploitation. These are things that a strong federal government should be tackling, but they're not. It's the failure of the executive branch, 40 years of Reaganism, where you apply a lesson that may work in one instance (for instance, local job growth) and then expanding that to all aspects of American society or areas of responsibility for the government.
 
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platocplx

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,121
Yes. this is no different than money policy. We've been trying to do trickle down for years to push progressive matters, when it really needs to start local and they build up to the feds. States and even cities have a shit load of power and thats where we could make a ton of headway progressively.
 

Renna Hazel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,008
Well, it should be a combination of both, really.

The reality is that unless progressives/Democrats figure out a solution to midterm snapback, we only get two years of unified federal control every ten years or so at best. Since Carter we've had exactly four years where Democrats have fully controlled the House, Senate and presidency. Four. Out of forty. The first two years of Clinton's term and the first two years of Obama's. Further exacerbating the problem is that while Republicans in the 80s, 90s and even the early 00s were at least willing to entertain compromise legislation, the Tea Party and now Trump-driven nucleus of the party that's come into power recently is only interested in passing tax cuts and little else.

This isn't really a problem of the Democrats' making, either, so it's not one where I'm sure that it even has a solution. (Republicans get hit by the same effect - turnout was anemic on their side in 2006, and while Republican voters were fired up in 2018, Democrats blew the doors off by comparison) Unless the Democratic base internalizes the importance of midterm elections between now and 2022, we are, at best, looking at two years of united government under Biden (or whoever the nominee will be) until Republicans gain control of the House or Senate (or both!) and muck things up again.

So during those two years? Pass everything we possibly can, of course. There's a ton of no-brainer legislation that's been pent up in Congress for years simply because Republicans didn't want to hand Democrats a victory, even if it was something they originally supported or came up with (the Dream Act, for example, was the brainchild of a Republican Senator in 2000 who then voted against it in 2010 when Obama tried passing it). So even setting aside the big ticket items (like Medicare for All, or even the humbler public option) there's still a lot that can get done, and is more or less unanimously supported by the Democratic Party. But once things go south, the emphasis for new policy gains will have to shift back to the states almost out of necessity.

And then the problem there is that state/local election results are fairly correlated to federal elections, so if we lose government in 2022 we're probably taking a beating in the gubernatorial/state legislative elections too. Ideally Democrats can make significant strides in the Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona state governments this year and get some good bills passed before that happens (along with partial control in states like Iowa, Florida and Texas), but even that'll be tough.

tl;dr - vote in 2022 please (not directed at you specifically, just anyone who happens to be reading this).
I agree. We should be focused on getting republicans out of office in every level of government. Vote in 2021 as well. Vote every election.
 

hurlex

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,540
WA has passed a public option but if wasn't very good. Even here, the power of the insurance industry was hard to break.
 

mael

Avenger
Nov 3, 2017
8,143
The US is really a federal country so it's not like a heavy centralised country like France where winning the presidency means your party get to decide nearly everything at all levels.
I have no idea why people living in a country like the US full of fairly autonomous states think the presidency is the thing most effecting their lives.
 
Dec 6, 2019
1,085
Yeah, I sometimes wonder if the USA should just peacfully split in two, at this point.
Well, one side would have all the guns and would invade the other side immediately out of paranoia.



I'm going to disagree on lessening a focus on federal goals. We should of course focus on our own states but the federal government is what dragged red states to force progressive policies. Gay marriage would still be against the law in many red states if not for the federal government. The amount of extra abuse that federally protected minority groups would receive means we can't afford to abandon them because they're in a red state.

Also this.

The entire premise of this thread irritates me because...I just wish ppl knew what it was like to live in the Deep South. There’s no amount of reading that can do it justice.
 

Neo C.

Member
Nov 9, 2017
892
Yes, I hate to see idiots being in the office for years because people don't care about local politics and those idiots can stay on their job uncontested.
 

Anatole

Member
Mar 25, 2020
37
Obviously more people having health insurance is good, but the states are just straight up unable to carry out the sweeping economic changes that we really need to pull it off. Fiscal policy does not work the same way for states as for the federal government - balancing budgets matters for a state, while the federal government’s structural deficit is the backbone of the modern economy. The states also do not have monetary policy and central banks, which handicaps their ability to consider alternatives.

In CA, my state and the state with the most debt, the total debt is on the order of 100 billion dollars. This is spread across general obligation loans, municipal bonds (which have to be approved by ballot measures), and retirement accounts, about $4000 per capita. It’s two orders of magnitude less than the federal debt, even though much ado has been made about CA having ‘the fifth largest world economy on its own’. The states are just not equipped to subsidize major legislature on their own.