Bring Prestige Back to Local Politics

The 2016 Presidential Primary campaigns are in full swing. Candidates are strategically jabbing within their own parties while swinging haymakers across the aisle. The nation is gearing up for the presidential election with candidates expecting to raise in excess of one-billon dollars in donations. The Presidential election is extremely important and rightfully gains tremendous media attention; however, I think it takes more than its fair share. I believe local and state elections should regain the prominence and prestige they once had.

Large-scale change in the US is extremely difficult. The US is one of the largest nations in the world; fourth largest geographically, and the third largest by population. Throw in the fact that it is possible the most culturally diverse nation to ever exist; it’s amazing any change occurs at all. It is undeniable that America has major social, economic, and infrastructure issues. Due to its size, the federal government cannot solve these problems; they must be solved locally.

Social issues are crucial to the framework of our citizens’ lives. But we can’t expect a nation of 320,939,000 people, all with diverse immigrant histories, to come to a single consensus. Most issues have to be debated at the local and state levels. If someone is anti-gay marriage, then they have that right. If a state wants to ban gay marriage, it has that right. If a state wants to legalize marijuana, it has that right. If a state wants to enact government healthcare, it can. If you want to live in a state with government provided healthcare, you can. If you disagree with the policies of your state, you have the choice to move to a state that better represents your views. If you aren’t willing to move, then perhaps your social beliefs do not hold as much weight as you thought they did. Our country’s political system allows for this freedom of movement. Take advantage of it, live where your views are recognized, and play a part in the necessary changes.

The federal government will never be able to please the entire nation. Because the US is so large, and it represents so many different cultures and views, there can’t be one overarching policy for any given issue. Americans need to focus their attention on their immediate geographical regions and stop worrying about how people half a continent away are living and thinking. Policies need to be debated at the local level. Convince your cities’ government to change its policies, and then move up to the state. This is the only way change will be enacted and the people’s voices will be heard. We need to bring prestige back to local and state government. It should be considered a great honor to serve in state legislation not considered second class to the federal congress. Maybe once this happens we’ll see the widespread change that most people are hoping for. We have the ability to build a better culture; however, we need to get back to basics and start local.


7 thoughts on “Bring Prestige Back to Local Politics

  1. America needs to change a lot more than devolution if it wants to get out of this rut for good. Getting rid of first past the post would be a damn good start.

      • Well, you have a number of alternatives. If you want to keep the constituencies, there is literally no reason not to switch to instant run-off preferences. If you’re looking to better represent the electorate, then proportional representation has various flavours.

  2. I like the idea of instant run-off; however, I think it can become too cumbersome. I dislike proportional representation because I dislike political parties.

    • It’s not cumbersome, any more than FPTP. Most countries with constituencies use instant run-off with no negative effects now that our counting needn’t be restricted to pen and paper.

      If you’re going to reject PR- and I can’t say I disagree with your opinion of parties- you’re going to need to look at solutions to parties within a constituent-based system anyway.

      • Yes, which is the conclusion that I find myself leaning towards: political parties are inevitable. But I don’t think that a system that institutionalizes them will lead to anything good.

        I am intrigued by instant run-off as it would take away the strict primary system. But it has to be limited to a two-tiered system.

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