Sunday, November 11, 2012
The Divided States of America
As the country saunters down the road to new serfdom of democratic socialism, a country of makers and takers, of those who work for a living and those who vote for a living, the divide among us becomes more and more palpable. The divided states of America can be easily seen in the state governments of the country, where more and more, each of them goes one way or the other.
In the Red states, state government moved to increasing Republican control. The one change of governor, North Carolina, which flipped GOP, was a Red state. The three state legislative chambers that flipped GOP were both of the Red state of Arkansas' state legislative chambers and the Purple state of Wisconsin's state senate.
The Democrats picked up eight state legislative chambers: the state senate of the Blue state of New York, the state house in the Purple states of Colorado, New Hampshire and Oregon, two chambers of the Blue state of Maine and in the Purple state of Minnesota.
The Republicans now totally control the state governments of 24 states (I include Nebraska in this list, as a majority of the members of its non-partisan, unicameral state legislature identify themselves as Republican). The Democrats now totally control the state governments of 15 states. Only 11 states have divided government.
The Republican liberated sections of the country are mainly in the middle, from Pennsylvania west to the Rocky Mountains, including Alaska, and from Virginia south. Almost all of these states feature total Republican control or divided government. The one exception is Illinois, which sticks out like a middle finger in the center of the country. The Democrat infested sections of the country include New England, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and D.C. in the northeast, the Pacific West states of California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. And, the aforementioned middle finger state of Illinois.
In terms of the huge Republican advantage in Governors (they now have a total of 30), the advantage of the Republicans currently enjoy is partly due to the fact that most Governors being elected in non-Presidential years. To illustrate, this year, we only picked up one Governorship, in North Carolina, and failed to pick up Governorships in three other places of various shades (Montana, New Hampshire and Washington).
In terms of state legislators (and U.S. Congressmen), even those that were all or part up for election this year, the Republicans have the advantage where they had the advantage because of their victories in 2010 and redistricting since. The Republicans drew lines mostly favorable to the members of their party.
To illustrate, in 2011, the Republicans controlled the lower chamber and the Democrats controlled the upper chamber of the state legislature of Virginia. As usually is the practice, the Republicans re-drew the lines for the chamber they controlled and the Democrats re-drew the lines for the chamber they controlled. Subsequently, the Republicans turned a narrow majority in the Virginia House of Delegates into a huge majority in the 2011 elections, while the Democrats were able, just barely, to hold onto a share of power in the state Senate, even though Republican candidates piled up the same majorities of the statewide popular vote for the candidates for both chambers.
For Democrats, the consolidation of Republican control of the great heartland of the country is that they must control the entire country from their centers of power, to include the centers of the coercive power of the state and of the soft power of the elite liberal media. In contrast, Republicans must increasingly rely on bottom-up centers of power, such as local government, the free market, and self-organizing institutions such as congregationalist churches (as opposed to hierarchical churches).
The strategic agenda for Republicans has got to be to grow the constituency for freedom. This includes but goes far beyond the identity politics of race and gender. This includes replacing the tax structure with something like a flat tax, if necessary a graduated flat tax, so everybody pays taxes, not just the upper 47 percent. This includes replacing our entitlement programs with investment programs, so that the workers of the country actually become the owners of the means of production, making all who work into capitalists. This means replacing our education programs with student-oriented schools that are chosen because they actually enable our children and young adults to make a successful transition to adulthood.
The next four years should be for us a time to think about what we're actually going to do should we be succeed in taking over the U.S. Senate and the White House, because, for us, it's not really about which party wins the election but about the future of the country. because, as Abraham Lincoln, the savior of our country, once put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."