I was asked by the folks at the Washington Spectator to write a brief primer on why state-level elections this year (and every year) matter, and this is the product. I didn’t explicitly suggest that Republicans have a superior ability to exploit and also to perpetuate their political gains in the states, but that’s kinda how it looks at the moment, doesn’t it?

Funny thing is, I spent close to twelve years in state government myself, yet get the sense I would barely recognize what it’s become today, at least in terms of the political dynamics. Then again, my last day of service to the People of Georgia was December 31, 1994, and a whole lot has changed since then.

I used to think conservative Republicans would struggle to maintain power at the state level (at least in places where they didn’t have a massive demographic advantage) due to their fundamental opposition to that crazy liberal idea of “governing.” That may be what’s happening in Kansas this year, but in general, I have to give the pachyderms credit for managing to keep themselves perpetually busy in the Frankenstein Laboratories of Democracy just screwing things up and finding ways to keep their opponents’ votes from being cast or having any effect.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.