Tip O’Neill famously observed, “all politics is local.” These days, in heated campaigns across America, it seems that “all politics is now national.” Yet, Americans are far likelier to have regular interaction with local government than federal. Most matters of education, law enforcement, development, public safety, traffic, and general quality-of-life are handled at the local level. Our Mayors, Commissioners and School Board Members are more likely to affect our daily lives than Presidents. Indeed, even our elections are largely administered by local officials. Nonetheless, Americans participate in Presidential elections at much higher rates than local ones. In a compelling piece, teacher Michael DiMatteo addresses the importance of local elections. Take a moment to read, and share!
By Michael DiMatteo
October 01, 2020
RealClear Public Affairs
When U.S. House Speaker “Tip” O’Neill said that “all politics is local,” he couldn’t have been more correct. The problem is that hardly anyone listened. Instead, most Americans shrugged their shoulders, smiled politely, and walked away, grumbling about the latest controversy in Congress, the president’s latest remark, or worse, what the first lady was wearing.
If all politics isn’t local, the vast majority of it surely is. The problem is that we’ve simply learned to ignore this vital truth.
Case in point: local elections, especially in large municipalities or cities, have abysmal turnout rates. In New York City, Bill DeBlasio won the mayoral race with the lowest voter turnout since the 1950s. Only 25 percent of voters turned out for the District of Columbia’s mayoral election which, by all accounts, was hotly contested.
It seems that the only time locals vote is when there’s a referendum on increasing property taxes for the local schools. That is a significant bone of contention for many, with both sides digging in. Even then, well under 30 percent of registered voters turn out, but at least they do. These numbers are getting worse on the local and state levels as more voters are becoming apathetic. Read more…