In last year’s elections, [Kansas] bucked its long tradition of moderate Republicanism. Conservatives ousted several moderates in Senate primary contests and went on to victory in November. Now, for the first time in generations, the House, the Senate and the governor’s office in Kansas are controlled by conservative Republicans. In much of the rest of the country, the political equation is similar: The Republican Party now controls both legislative chambers and governorships in 24 states. Democrats have single-party control in 13.
And they--the tea partiers, the right-wing extremists, the conservative Republicans, whatever you wish to call the they of the core GOP--told us some time ago that they'd do precisely what they're doing, in Kansas: gutting government services, undermining revenue streams, heaping fiscal burdens on the working class, further privatizing government healthcare programs, decimating education funding and, reports the NYT, "repeal[ing] ... tax credits for food, rental housing and child care that benefited low-income residents."
State and local politics are the more perfect union for the right's dystopic aims: they offer even lower-information but ideologically motivated voters a rather easy chance to dominate at the body politic's lightly frequented polls. Thus while the left is cheering a reblossoming of its nationally progressive vision, the right is whistling and walking away with the citizenry's real-world, material future.
For the left it becomes a question of resources and staying power. Can it effectively fight with persistent determination a two-front war?--the newsier, sexier national crusade, as well as the state and local struggle?
I can't know the answer to that, none of us can; but we should know that the challenges are really just beginning.