Sunday, January 15

As local news coverage declines in USA, politics becomes nationalized

From How Cory Booker went from progressive hero to traitor in under 2 days by Jeff Stein; January 14, Vox:

The fight over Booker’s vote highlights a real, and much broader, disconnect between Capitol Hill and the outside world.

On the one hand, members of Congress have continued to legislate as they always have — with a far greater concern for the jobs and markets in their own states.

But that reality isn’t always reflected in a media environment that increasingly sees everything through its implications for the country as a whole. In part, that’s because of the long decline in the size and staffing of local newsrooms, says Michele Swers, a Georgetown University professor who specializes in Congress. 

And in part it’s because people have stopped caring nearly as much about politics of their states, as research by political scientist Jonathan Ladd has shown.

“Politics is much more nationalized than it was just a few decades ago,” said Swers in an interview in October 2016.

She added: “That probably has to do with the fact that the way you get your information has changed. Twenty years ago ... if you were a House member, you could get the coverage of your character, of the bill you passed for your home district, or of you in parades or whatever. Now, with there being so much more national coverage and the local papers dying out, it’s much more ideological.”

And that new dynamic will create a new form of headache for senators like Cory Booker who may have higher national ambitions. They are stuck between two bad outcomes — defying the industries of their home states, or taking a position that could be broadly unpopular with their national parties.

Soon we’ll get another test of whether this calculus is beginning to change within the halls of Congress. Sanders is expected to soon introduce similar legislation to the drug prescription bill that was defeated on Wednesday. If Booker changes his position, it could be a big sign that the grassroots is winning.



1 comment:

bdoran said...

Simply proof the Progressives are spoiled children.

We had plenty already.