BY Rochelle Goldstein, October 16, 2019
“A timely, urgent call for political engagement,” declared the Kirkus Review about All Politics is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States, by alumna Meaghan Winter ’10.
“The fight for control of state governments is the biggest sleeper issue in American politics right now,” Kirkus goes on to explain, since so many of the core issues are being played out on this level, from gun control to abortion rights to gutting unions to shredding the economic safety net. The review praises Winter for the way she “compellingly shows how democracy is being subverted in the states, and how Democrats and progressives can fight back.”
For Winter, the root of this political imbalance is that Democrats concentrate their energies on the grassroots level primarily during election years, while, for the most part, abandoning the heartland afterwards, without establishing a far-reaching and influential ongoing presence.
On the other hand, Republicans have over the years systematically created a political infrastructure, working tirelessly year round through a well-developed network of politicians, donors, lobbyists and other operatives in statehouses and local groups throughout their state.
Playing a large part in this organizational clout are powerful individual donors and organizations, like the Koch Brothers and their Americans for Prosperity. Koch’s enterprise, as Winter notes, has offices in some 35 states, focusing on state and local lobbying.
Above all, this conservative sphere of power has helped set the trend among many states to either overturn or push back against progressive such hot button issues as LGBTQ protections, the power of unions, race, immigration, redistricting, fracking, and the minimum wage. As Winter writes, “seemingly disparate local laws in fact have broad national consequence.”
“The 24-hour news cycle hurls tragedy after tragedy at us, much of it beyond our control,” Winter writes. “Getting involved in our own districts is something we can actually do.” According to Winter, we have the ability to put our political destiny in our own hands, making our political system more of a bottom up than top down structure. And our civic lives less dependent on the vagaries of Washington.
All Politics is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States is available for purchase now.
This review is reposted with permission from https://arts.columbia.edu/news/alumna-meaghan-winter-10-forecasts-political-change-new-book