Why state politics matter more than ever before

By Landon Allison

During American infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent Senate testimony, he expressed concerns over the possibility of states opening up too early in this pandemic when they have not yet reached the checkpoints necessary for safe reentry into normal life.

Some states have already begun the process of loosening government orders. On April 24, Georgia lifted some restrictions, allowing restaurants and certain businesses like hair salons and bowling alleys to start back up again.

President Donald Trump said he never played a part in or even agreed with the decision made by Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, to lift protections.

With President Trump having emphasized the states’ control over the pandemic response, it seems like American citizens must look to state leaders rather than the federal government for responsible decisions.

National politics have been dominating the attention of most Americans for quite some time. According to census data, the extremely consequential 2016 presidential election had a 61 percent turnout from those eligible to vote.

Now compare that to the 2014 midterms, which influenced state but not federal politics. The turnout at that election was 42 percent.

In the coronavirus-laden, quarantine-defined times of 2020, our local and state representatives have far more of a visible impact on the citizens they represent. In some cases, they literally hold American lives in their hands.

With the general election swiftly approaching, the choice of who will lead this country as its president will only command the national discussion more and more.

Keep in mind that who is voted into office closer to home can also have significant ramifications on future decisions.

Landon Allison is a student in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.

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