A lot. Want proof? Just look to California.
People like to think of California as uber liberal, but it really isn’t. After all, it is the home of Orange county (one of the most conservative places in the US), was the state of Reagan and Nixon, the birthplace of modern religious conservatism, and it fired the first salvo of the state tax revolts when it capped property taxes.
As everyone’s favorite Nobel winning economist points out, it was California’s conservatives who brought the state to its economic knees, all the while blaming it on those darn liberals. For example:
A dozen years ago, the state was supposedly doomed by all its environmentalists. You see, the eco-freaks were blocking power plants, and the result was crippling blackouts and soaring power prices. “The country’s showcase state,” gloated The Wall Street Journal, “has come to look like a hapless banana republic.”
But a funny thing happened on the road to collapse: it turned out that the main culprit in the electricity crisis was deregulation, which opened the door for ruthless market manipulation. When the market manipulation went away, so did the blackouts.
But now, things are changing.
California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making.
And that’s where things get really interesting — because the era of hamstrung government seems to be coming to an end.
The increasingly out-of-touch state Republican party has shrunk to the point where it now could be drowned in its own bathtub, removing their ability to block the Democrats from actually, you know, governing. As a result, the recently close-to-bankrupt state is now running a budget surplus. Infrastructure spending is up.
If things keep going well, this could look really bad for the Republican party in general, which has become not much more than knee-jerk obstructionists. One can only hope that maybe voters will be able to figure this out at the national level.