A nationwide movement is underway to make fiscally conservative states even better positioned to lure business. Texas, as usual, is a leader, and South Carolina is charging forward. Here the WSJ brings you the good news. I like what I read. And I have long been championing a movement to strip the federal government of a broad array of responsibilities and turn these responsibilities over to the states. My broader plan involves putting the individual states in a powerful position to compete for business as well as new residents, such as retirees and families seeking school choice and family protection under, by example, Castle Doctrine protection. One of the initial federal agencies I would shutter is the Department of Education.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is a proud Lone Star son—on his desk he keeps a map that shows “Texas” and “Not Texas.” That helps explain why the conservative activist is leading a charge to use this year’s election to “trade up” Texas politicians, replacing the state’s already conservative majority with new Republicans, all raring to propel Texas to the front of the state-reform movement.
“Texas has things to be proud of,” says Mr. Sullivan, who runs Empower Texans, a political group that is playing big in the state’s primaries. “Then again, we’re like the least drunk guy at the bar. California is drooling on itself, Illinois is passed out in the corner. We look good simply because we can walk a straight line. We should be leading the way.”
The trade-up strategy is the defining feature of this year’s state races. The GOP emerged from its blowout 2010 midterm with extraordinary local power, and today boasts 23 states in which it controls both the governorship and entire state legislature (in some cases with supermajorities). Yet grass-roots activists have grown frustrated that many of the most solidly conservative parts of the country have sat out the state-reform push that has produced tax cuts, pension reform and education overhaul.
This midterm, conservatives are targeting the bottlenecks—going after lackluster Republicans in primaries, rallying around free-market gubernatorial candidates, and working to get final numbers for majorities or supermajorities in key states. One model here is Kansas, where a group of a dozen statehouse Senate Republicans balked at Gov. Sam Brownback’s aggressive tax reform. Conservative groups mobilized, and in the 2012 primaries nine of the 12 were defeated in primaries by more-conservative challengers.
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