Why is NY-23 predominately Republican when NYS is predominately Democratic? The answer is fear–Western NY politicians thrive on it.
- Fear of domination by urban interests.
- Fear of firearm restrictions.
- Fear of minorities.
- Fear of each other.
Currently NY-23 politics is dominated by suggestions that we fear Tompkins County liberalism, socialism, immigration, the SAFE Act, taxes, those struggling with poverty and low wages, and the unemployed. These fears are actively promoted with political advertising, Tom Reed’s for example:
- Martha Robertson and Nancy Pelosi are two of a kind. The two liberals spent this weekend together, advocating failed, big government policies across Western New York. (actually, they were celebrating and affirming women’s rights)
- Once again, our Second Amendment rights are under attack. Liberal politicians from Albany to Washington are working to curb our rights and penalize law-abiding citizens.
- Martha Robertson claims to support our community yet she continues to unfairly punish working families by voting for drastic tax increases, burdensome regulations, and reckless spending in the legislature.
Fear also works to maintain a sea of less populous red States with a fringe of more populous blue States. Red State politicians maintain their offices by fanning fears or eastern elites and California liberalism. Red and blue struggle over Federal spending–which States win and which States lose.
Fear may explain regional differences on abortion and climate change. In less populated red regions, politicians, seeking election by fanning fear of depopulation, promote opposition to abortion, while fear of environmental pollution and global warming leads to support for limiting greenhouse gases in more populous regions. The oft echoed argument against big government reflects fear of one’s neighbors–something that urban residents have learned to live with while rural residents have not.
How might the tendency to concentrate red and blue in disjoint regions be reversed? Perhaps all or some representatives to Congress ought be elected at large. At large representatives would reflect a national consensus of the public interest rather than regional interests. At large election would counteract the tendency of local politicians to become entrenched in office. At large representatives, drawn from a nationwide pool of candidates, ought to have superior qualifications to those having only local renown.
© William Hungerford – July 2014