This is a meta issue, so come back to it if you're in a hurry right now. It's about local, state and federal authority.

Here's the question:

What is the most effective position progressives can take on the issue of state and local autonomy?

These days, I'm finding myself having less confidence in broad federal policy and much more interest in local and state decision-making. To some extent that's a function of how much I loathe what's happening at the federal level right now, but it also reflects my sense that small is often more manageable.

Of course, the great fear is that our state will go the way of the federal government and start to fear diversity. Because here in North Carolina, state trumps local at pretty much every turn. Local taxing authority, for example, is highly constrained. The ability to control state roads inside city limits is sketchy. And no North Carolina municipality could declare that same-sex couples free to marry. (Is this true in every state?)

As an entrepreneurial type, I see great potential in diversity and experimentation that might take place at the local or county level. If we were smart enough, we might just be able to define progressive in a way that touches, moves and inspires people to embrace the common good.

So. What are the big ten things we should experiment on - either at the state or local level. And if there aren't ten, I'll settle for three.



Funny you should mention that.

Strategically, I think the answer is that any group should favor greater power at whatever level they can win the battles. In the 50s and 60s, the Civil Rights movement was having a hard time winning battles in the south (which is not to say that it didn't happen), so they turned to the power of the judiciary and the US Congress. The Republicans favor overturning Roe because they think they can win on abortion in the states.

So, here's the "funny you should mention that" part: I'll be posting later this evening about a promising new tool for pushing the progressive agenda at the state level. Stay tuned!