State Legislatures: the fulcrum point for progressive power
a) electing true progressives to office
b) reforming the Democratic party from within
c) holding entrenched Senators and Representatives in DC accountable in the only way that really counts, by making them scared for their political lives in their own districts
On the American political playing field there is one slow-moving power dynamic that trumps all others: victory in State Legislatures. Control of State Legislatures is the surest way to:
a) advance policy through the legislative test tube of 50 separate States implementing solutions particular to their environmment
b) shape the make up of the U.S. House of Representatives through influence on the redistricting process
c) influence the election laws of every state and ensure fair and free elections (State legislatures are where this happens.)
d) and, ultimately, exert influence on the United States Constitution itself through the Amendment process (no small concern given the current make up of the Supreme Court)
Virtually the only way to truly scare the living crap out of some of the undefeatable dinosaurs that currently rule the legislative agenda of the Democratic party is to elect progressive, forward-thinking Democrats to seats in districts that overlap their own.This is a win-win-win.
We position our candidates in the feeder system for eventually succeeding the dinosaur Congressperson or Senator, we advance our legislative agenda on the State level, and we put pressure on the Democratic party from within by creating the visible, tangible threat of a primary challenge for the Dinosaur Dems who are currently ruling over Washington like a flock of Roosters. The natural and best-positioned candidates to challenge entrenched incumbents from within a party are State Legislative office holders, especially those from a shared district. They have the field team, the base of voters and the fundraising to do what few else can: challenge the dinosaurs and give them a run for the money.The 2007/08 election cycle will be about a great many things. Presidential politics will, as always, occupy much of the media's attention.
Activist grassroots progressives focused on taking our country back should not forget the real engine for lasting political reform it the United States federal system of government: the power of State Legislatures. Reform movements that elect their people to state legislative office set in motion cascading after-effects that keep winning long after the media tents on election day have packed up and disappeared.If we are serious about creating a lasting legacy of progressive policy in this nation and forging a true "New Day" in terms of legislation passed and reforms won, progressives need to relentlessly focus on State Legislatures. These local bodies are truly the fulcrum point of political power in the American system of government. When we elect our people locally, we win and keep winning for decades.
It's that simple.