Democracy. Safe abortion access. Clean water. Good Jobs. What do all of these issues have in common? Your state lawmakers are the ones deciding on these issues. Our own Daniel Squadron joined Nathaniel Pearlman on The Great Battlefield Podcast to break down what’s at stake in the states this November — and how you can get involved.
Read a snippet of their conversation and listen to the interview below!
Nathaniel Pearlman: Let’s talk about the stakes. They’re top of mind for me, but may not be for everybody. So what are the stakes as you see them? What does partial or full control in a state legislature mean?
Daniel Squadron: Think about the issue you most care about. It’s almost certain state legislatures have had a greater impact on that issue in the last decade than the federal government. Choice. The environment, clean water, good jobs, education —even infrastructure. The states themselves are constantly moving bills at a rate and a level of significance well beyond what you see at the federal level. In the last decade we have seen either more progress or more damage in state legislatures than at any other level of government.
Nathaniel Pearlman: It strikes me that it’s not even just the issues, but the culture wars that states like Florida can wage. They can make laws and shift the politics in a way that they wouldn’t be able to without this kind of state-level control.
Daniel Squadron: It’s really interesting isn’t it? In conservative media, they take the most liberal locality or most liberal state in the country that is passing the bill that is most consistent with the politics of that area, and it becomes a national story in the conservative media ecosystem.
Meanwhile, at The States Project, we were in Mississippi in 2019, because they had just moved this bill that is going to be the supposed justification to end Roe. Did any of your listeners hear about this bill in 2019? It’s amazing. A whole state passing a bill that’s not just a reflection of their very conservative culture, but is also a test case for the United States Supreme Court — and nothing.
Your point about the culture is so important, and it’s reflected in every way that they are talking about these issues. It is a dangerous type of proto-authoritarian populism that’s been germinating and cultivating in legislative chambers for decades.
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