Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

One Pathway

I was looking at the Senate map in 2018 and 2020.  That was the untold tragedy last night - losing those winnable Senate seats in PA, OH, FL, AZ and WI. It wasn't JUST the White House we lost.  We lost a chance to reshape the Senate, six years after the Tea Party wave.  Now you have to wait another 6 years.  If Trump completely shits the bed from the start - and that's not impossible - you still only make a dent in the House in 2018, if you're lucky.  You're really looking at 2020 before you can flip any of the three.

What sort of damage will be done by then?

Many times today, I have been recalled to my whiteness and maleness.  Partly because I look at every dude in a pickup truck and wonder just who's behind the wheel.  As someone Tweeted: "That feeling you've had for the last fifteen minutes?  Welcome to feeling like a minority."  More than anything, I know that my whiteness and maleness protects me from what could be some of the worst effects of a Trump Administration.

I also know that living in Connecticut insulates me from the worst effects.  I'm watching protests on CNN in cities across the country.  Cities.  Blue states.

For years, liberalism has defined itself in its actions via the national government.  Civil rights legislation and the Great Society.  The Affordable Care Act.  I wonder if the energy turns now to the states and localities that are already blue.

My wife and I had students come in with questions, and all of them were along the lines of "The Electoral College? WTF?"  So we talked about state compact groups.  It occurred to me that state compacts make so much sense.

My biggest worry is frankly environmental policy.  Tax policy will be a nightmare, people will suffer under the Ryan budget, but we will find a way to muddle through.  Once Trump and his minions get loosed upon the EPA, we are truly cooked.

However, it seems like this is an opportunity for states to join together to set their own standards.  Why can't California, Oregon and Washington come together and create fuel efficiency standards?  If they can reach out and join New York, Pennsylvania and New England, there isn't an automaker in the country who would make two sets of cars - one for the compact states and one for the non-compact states.  Similar attempts could be made on green energy policy or even possible infrastructure projects.

One obvious and fatal flaw that was exposed last night was geographic sorting.  There are a shit-ton of Democrats in cities and college towns, and very few anywhere else.  What I am proposing might very well make that worse. In some ways, it is the first logical step towards breaking up the United States.

But these are huge issues we face that go beyond economics.  It goes towards the future of our planet.  Global warming scares the shit out of me.  Trump will accelerate that warming, just as there was some evidence that we were starting to slow it.

State compacts among the blue states might be the best way to tackle those issues so that America doesn't return to becoming the world's biggest polluter.

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