Those who attempt to separate out national and local politics, to the extent of treating them as if they belong to two distinct phyla and never the twain shall meet, are being disingenuous, doltish, or some measure of both.
People choose to be Republicans or Democrats for a reason or several reasons…and their rationale, more often than not, centers around an adherence to a particular set of values. And these values, which undergird their political philosophy, tend to apply to their worldview on governance at the local, state, and national levels.
This is especially true in recent years as the parties have become more ideologically distinct (farewell, Milliken Republicans (read: “moderate” GOPers for you non-Michiganians)); good f’ing riddance Dixiecrats (who are all Republicans now).
Many people became Republicans because they liked how Ronald Reagan articulated a conservative governing vision that connected with them. Many others became Democrats because Barack Obama offered up a progressive vision for our society that made sense to them.
How many people join a political party mainly because of how attuned they were with the ideas of a local public official on local matters?
Shifting to issues (as distinct from the figures who advocate for them) for a moment…it would be a rare Republican indeed, in these times, who (for example) favored reducing federal income tax rates but supported raising state income tax rates. There tends to be a consistency, or at least a relationship, between how they approach challenges at all levels of government.
So, for instance, if a candidate for public office, even a “non-partisan” local office is a Republican…I would like to know what about that party appeals to that person. If they are running for the Board of Education, what do they think about the public education policies being carried out by President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? This is a legitimate question.
Education reform enacted at the federal level can impact local education policies and practices (example: “No Child Left Behind”). So I find it curious when people suggest that it is out-of-bounds for local candidates to be asked about national issues, especially ones that could affect our communities. I wonder if some people are just being naïve or are they working to obscure the picture in order to advance a particular agenda?
Voters have a right to ask whatever questions they wish to ask. They can and should decide what is important for them to know when deciding for whom to vote.
Howard County is not an island on another planet. Our lives are intertwined with those who live in other parts of Maryland, the United States, and the world. Let’s move past this embrace of extreme exceptionalism and recognize that national, state, and local public affairs are all interrelated. Yes, including those of us in HoCo.
Pardon me for belaboring the point, but I believe my argument is self-evident…yet apparently it is considered somewhat controversial in certain circles.
This resistance against asking questions of those who wish to engage in public service is very odd. I find attempts to restrict such communications troubling.