The implosion of state legislatures
I think it’s fair to say that many of our state legislatures across the land are out of control.
I mean ABSOLUTELY out of control.
Like, they don’t even care what the voters want.
Want an example?
Let’s take Kansas…
Donald Trump won Kansas by 56.1% of the vote in 2020.
Kansas is a Red state. BIGLY.
But abortion is a losing topic. And people are pretty clear that they want women to have a right to choose. (I even heard a pro-life , Republican father say on a podcast recently that while he hates abortions and is totally pro-life, he also has a college-age daughter…)
Republicans USED to want government out of the bedroom, but the party became more extreme.
Sadly, the Republican Party allowed the Bible-toting evangelicals to take it over and drive out the moderates. (And as I say this as a Bible-toter myself.)
Trump used evangelicals to get elected, but he never fully realized that many of these evangelicals actually believed the radical things they say.
And now the evangelicals have taken over the Right and with gerrymandered districts, the most far-right candidates will continue to win and make foolish legislation at the state level.
Thus, with just shocking clarity, it’s clear: state legislatures have gone off the deep end.
Back to Kansas…
After voting to elect Trump by 56.1% of the vote in 2020, the state COMPLETELY FLIPPED and voted by 18 percentage points to keep abortion legal in 2022!!
I’m not great at math, but that’s a 20-point flip by my figuring… So, like you would think you’d leave the abortion topic alone.
How about swing-state Wisconsin, which was decided by less than one point in 2016 and 2020?
It, too, completely transformed and voted by an 11-point margin for a liberal judge over a conservative just a few weeks ago.
Again, by my math, that’s a 12-point flip
The people have spoken. Or so it would seem.
But Republicans are half-crazy. Or maybe they’re ruled by/comprised of evangelicals…
So, state legislatures are not even slowing down on their extreme moves.
In Kansas (yep, the state we just talked about), the state legislature ignored that 20-point swing I mentioned above and has overridden the governor’s veto of an anti-abortion piece of legislation.
In other places, the same thing is happening. “Supermajorities in Ohio and Florida have taken on projects similarly misaligned with public opinion.”
In Tennessee, the supermajority of Republicans removed two state reps who acted disorderly. These two men happened to be black, but that didn’t play a role, legislators say. A white female acted disorderly, as well, though she survived the purge by one vote. The Republicans who did this have said many times publicly since then that color didn’t play a role. (As Fox News used to say, “We report. You decide.”)
Back to the point. It gets worse.
This isn’t just about abortion.
It’s about other things, too. Such as books…
Yes, seven states are even banning books, while still others are claiming insurrections (four separate times?!) for things that are clearly not insurrections.
On the book thing, let me say this as both an author and someone overseeing a teenage boy who cares more about bats and balls (get your mind out of the gutter) than books.
I have a 14-year-old. I can speak with some authority on this: I’m not even sure you need to ban any books. lol. Young folks don’t read.
I can also say with some authority that I have met, interviewed, and talked with lots of state reps in my 15 years in the news business. I’m not sure they read books either. (As this column proves, I’m not even sure they can math.)
But back to the point, so many states have legislatures with veto-proof majorities tat we’re just going to have to put up with their outrageous behavior for a little longer.
It’s truly a sad state of affairs, compounded by:
No serious local media covering state houses.
And a public more focused on distraction than governing.
There’s no easy way to fix this.
It’s like losing weight. It’s not rocket science, but it is hard work.
We have to get involved, pay attention, and take back our state legislatures. We have to watch their foolishness, harness our collective outrage, and work twice as hard to get them out.
Otherwise, they’re not going to stop because they’re
extremist evangelicals spineless suits who are afraid of their base.
Love and peace,
Stan R. Mitchell
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CLOSING THOUGHT: Do not despair in these coming days. The light of dawn is emerging, and nothing can stop light (or truth).
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