“…Ultimately preemption is a strategy of minority rule. It’s one of those tools in the toolbox used by those who want to divide and conquer so that they can maintain power while only serving the interests of a minority of Americans. And that’s the most important thing that I want folks to understand going into the 2024 election.” — Lydia Bean
“I don’t doubt that many of these state legislators do believe they have some, you know, maybe religious belief or otherwise that what they’re doing is right, but there is definitely a political and partisan incentive and it’s coming from the top and as well as being kind of influenced by the public will. People are very angry about this.” — Maresa Strano on state preemption of local protections for LGBTQ+ communities.
As cities continue to grow in population and cultural influence within our Ten Across region, tensions between local and state governments appear to have exploded in the last few years over various socioeconomic, public safety, electoral, and cultural issues.
Though preemptive action from the state or federal government has at times, been organic or useful in the past, a more concerning form of preemption has recently emerged—one which seeks to suppress or eliminate local policies that conflict with the dominant goals of certain state governments or special interest groups.
In this episode, Ten Across founder Duke Reiter speaks with Maresa Strano and Dr. Lydia Bean, co-authors of the 2019 New America report, “Punching Down: How States are Suppressing Local Democracy,” about the impacts of this movement against local governance and how it may influence the 2024 federal election.
Maresa Strano is the Deputy Director of the Political Reform program at New America, where her areas of focus include; the politics of American policymaking, electoral reform, and ranked-choice voting. Maresa also teaches at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.
Dr. Lydia Bean is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Caring Across Generations and author of The Politics of Evangelical Identity. In 2014, she founded Faith in Texas, a multiracial nonprofit bringing together faith communities advocating for justice and fairness. Lydia is a former fellow the Political Reform program at New America and former candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in Tarrant County.