Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Laboratories of Democracy

The Moose notes perhaps the most promising development for the donkey.

While most of the attention on this election has been centered on Congress, the most significant races are in the states. Governors and state legislatures will shape the political map for many years to come. That is where congressional seats are drawn. And more importantly, it is in the states where innovative policy reforms are implemented - they are the laboratories of democracy.

The Republican ascendancy in Washington would have been impossible without the GOP rise in the states - particularly in the nineties. Governors such as Ridge, Thompson, Engler and Bush led the way to a national political majority.

Now, that GOP trend in the statehouses is potentially being reversed. Today's New York Times,

"More than 6,000 state legislative seats in 46 states are on the Nov. 7 ballot, and like the seismic state elections in 1994 and 1974 the cumulative impact of the outcomes could be immense, with Democrats possibly gaining control of a majority of state capitols for the first time in a decade...

"If the Democrats take control of a majority of the legislatures, which polls indicate could happen, women could also attain leadership positions in greater numbers, since Democratic women in state capitals outnumber Republican women by nearly two to one. The next generation of national political leaders, by tradition, is nurtured in the state legislatures."

The Moose recalls attending numerous conservative meetings in the early nineties where the conversation centered on developments in the states. The right recognized that is where the "farm team" was being developed for future control over national politics.

The Moose has always been impressed by the annual DLC National Conversation that brings together hundreds of Democratic state officials. They are sensibly centrist and pragmatic problem solvers. They are the best of the Democratic Party.

It is no accident that Bill Clinton rose from state to national office. He, like his fellow Governors, understood what it takes to govern successfully from the vital center. And for the party to regain its success at the national level - look to the countryside.
-- Posted at 8:10 AM | Link to this post | Email this post