Though Western states and their legislatures are making some of the most critically important political news in America, the corporate newsrooms back east in Washington and New York are entirely missing those stories.
AMAC Newsline will not make that mistake. Today, we are introducing a new series that will provide regular updates on political events in the American West.
We do so, understanding that this isn’t the first time the West has led the nation.
In 1893, famed historian Frederick Jackson Turner argued that “American democracy was born of no theorist’s dream” but came from the gritty, day-to-day, real-world encounter of American settlers with the wilderness and that our nation and our democratic experience “gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier.”
The West, in other words, made America. If Turner was right—that our frontier creates the forces which ripple back and shape our politics—it might explain why the Washington media so often misses those forces.
So here’s the latest news from this freedom-loving frontier that you will never hear from journalists trapped inside the New York-Washington bubble.
Last week, Arizona became the latest state to ban outside, private funds from election administration. Arizona’s legislature, like a growing number of state legislatures, took up the effort when suspicion grew during the 2020 election cycle that private donations, particularly those made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, flowed into election administration accounts and skewed those activities toward partisan purposes.
In Arizona, about $5 million went toward so-called election “administration” efforts, particularly in Democrat-leaning counties. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, received almost $3 million alone.
In signing the bill banning so-called “Zuckerbucks,” Governor Doug Ducey explained that “with public confidence in our elections in peril,” the state’s “elections must be pristine and above reproach—and the sole purview of government.”
Representative Jake Huffman, one of the bill’s sponsors, celebrated that “the passage and signing of House Bill 2569 makes Arizona the first in the nation to fully ban billionaires from influencing the administration and management of Arizona elections.”
Meanwhile, in Nevada, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is standing up to the Democrat governor’s crippling lockdown–saying that Governor Steve Sisolak’s ongoing and indefinite state of emergency “smacks of tyranny.” Mayor Goodman explained that, from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Las Vegas’s tourism and hospitality-driven economy demanded a more “nuanced” and “moderate” approach than one-size-fits-all mandates and lockdowns.
Always a vocal opponent of universal lockdowns, Goodman has finally had enough. The Mayor says that “America is the land of the free, but Americans in SOME STATES, not all, have been forced to subjugate their freedoms to the will of a single individual, seemingly in perpetuity.” That’s a pointed shot across the bow at the Governor—and more action both from the Mayor’s office and the statehouse is expected in the coming days.
Finally, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, and South Dakota are among the fewer-than-fifteen states which continue to successfully resist expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults under ObamaCare.
Among the provisions of the $1.9 trillion federal bill pushed by President Joe Biden and passed with only Democratic votes is a new twist which applies even more pressure. The bill promises that if these states finally give up their fight against ObamaCare, the federal government will boost funding to their programs by five percent for the next two years.
In other words, in exchange for more government spending, the government will spend even more. Yet after two years, these states would be required to cover this new entitlement for working-age, able-bodied adults all on their own. States which have already expanded have seen their budgets explode far beyond projections.
So far, Kansas, Texas, Wyoming, and South Dakota are holding the line despite the pressure. As Wyoming State Senator Lynn Hutchings put it recently, “Where are we going to get the money to fund this program?” Medicaid expansion wouldn’t run Wyoming into debt, Hutchings said, “we’re sprinting into debt.”
At least in the West, the American spirit is alive and well.
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