Earlier this summer, the Kansas Republicans attacked the state’s Democratic governor for failing to take border security seriously, despite Topeka being slightly closer to the US border with Canada than the Mexican border. (I guess, of course, that’s not the border they talked about.) Local and state politicians often take action aimed more at attracting national attention than the concerns of the citizens who nominated them – for example example, signing chimerical and arguably unconstitutional legislation designed to prevent social media companies from moderating themselves as they see fit, as Florida has demonstrated.
Like the NFL, their reason for doing so is deeply rooted in the media ecosystem – a completely national media environment, to be precise, in which people often choose a network based on their political outlook rather than where they are. live. As the number of local media shrinks, a few formerly local newspapers have become national and international powers (such as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times).
But the nationalization of politics is a problem for America and for Americans. In many large cities, less than 15% of Americans participate in local elections that determine how, when, and why their tax dollars are spent. And now even these local elections are viewed in national terms, as the example of Kansas shows.
A candidate may have wanted to run for office to mend a bad road or to quit a corrupt politician, but her victory is often presented as a victory for National Democrats or National Republicans, a rebuke to Joe Biden or Donald Trump . Each election has become the most important election, the election that reverses political tendencies or transforms the national scene.
But local elections are not supposed to transform the national scene. There are no national or local election playoffs, no competitions across the country, no need for every politician to make a national play. There is the basic idea behind federalism: that some places are run differently from other places, and that’s fine. Decisions voted on by the residents of Reno, Nevada, should be decisions that make sense to Nevadans, not decisions that have to make sense to me, because I don’t live there. The idea that every Democratic or Republican city or state should do politics the same as any other city or state that shared its ruling party is an idea that doesn’t make sense if you’ve been to places before. as different as Seattle or Columbus or Miami.
Nationalizing the sport has allowed me to watch my favorite teams wherever I live or visit, and once left me furious on the steps of a Ponsonby Road mall in Auckland about a game taking place across the world. But nationalizing politics helps our group instincts worse. Politics is not sport. There is no such thing as a “team victory”. And while the Cincinnati Bengals may have to play in Los Angeles, Houston or, God forbid, Pittsburgh, politicians in Cincinnati (and Ohio) don’t. And they should stop trying.
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