The federal government may be locked up in an extended state of bipartisan gridlock, but our fifty nifty United States have been moving towards clear-cut majorities not seen in these numbers in decades. The NYT summarizes the new situation:
Come January, more than two-thirds of the states will be under single-party control, raising the prospect that bold partisan agendas — on both ends of the political spectrum — will flourish over the next couple of years.
Though the Nov. 6 election maintained divided government in Washington, the picture is starkly different in capitals from California to Florida: one party will hold the governor’s office and majorities in both legislative chambers in at least 37 states, the largest number in 60 years and a significant jump from even two years ago.
Twenty-four states will be controlled by Republicans, including Alaska and Wisconsin, where the party took the State Senate, and North Carolina, where the governorship changed hands. At least 13 states will be Democratic, including Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon, where control of the legislatures shifted, and California, where the already dominant Democrats gained a supermajority in both chambers. …
This is going to be an interesting phenomenon to watch during the next four years of a continued Obama economy. As the choices made by individual states become more starkly partisan and the results start rolling in, we’re going to be able to compare apples to apples — and I’d bet good money that red states are going to start seeing significant gains in areas over which they have control.
For instance, California has a massive debt crisis on hand, and is sitting atop oil and gas reserves four times as large as those available in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota. Although California could sorely use the revenue and jobs that tapping into those resources more would create, they’re obstinately committed to developing an economy more focused on renewables. North Dakota, meanwhile, is taking full advantage of their energy resources, and their economy is going gangbusters with an unemployment rate hovering around three percent.
Implementing ObamaCare, education policy, regulatory agendas, taxes, energy development — there are plenty of policy decisions on which the parties will be able to make their specific mark, and the contrasts between good policies and bad policies are going to be much more readily apparent.