Red Governors, Blue Cities

Red State Governors like Ron DeSantis (Florida), Greg Abbott (Texas), and Doug Ducey (Arizona) are signing executive orders that ban city governments and local school boards in Democratic cities from enacting mask or vaccination mandates. The always excellent Ron Brownstein breaks down of the power dynamics between conservative Republican Governors with power bases in stagnant rural areas and Democratic mayors and school boards representing multicultural and economically dynamic metro areas.

Now, the school officials of metro areas in Florida and Texas are rebelling against the ban on school mandates. School officials in the Miami and Tamp areas are going ahead with mask mandates despite an executive order by DeSantis; so are schools in Texas and Arizona

Some brief points:

Reinforcing the Democratic Super-Majority: As is the case with issues like gun control, abortion rights, gay marriage, trans rights and Biden’s infrastructure plans, support for mask and vaccination mandates is over 60%. As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post notes:

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll, for instance, finds large majorities of registered voters either strongly or somewhat support their local governments requiring masks for offices (64 percent), for indoor dining (61 percent), at gyms (62 percent) and at entertainment venues (65 percent).

Reporters and pollsters still pay more attention to white conservative contrariness, but much of the Democratic policy agenda now enjoys super-majority support.

Another Dimension of Instability: The United States has not been a stable society since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President in 2015. That instability is usually discussed in terms of the Jan. 6 Insurrection but the impasse between Red State governors and Blue Metros is also destabilizing. By refusing to allow metros like Miami and Tampa to govern themselves, Desantis undermines the well-being of cities. Still, executive orders have the force of law and metro officials defy the law by keeping their mask mandates. I’m on the side of the cities, but what they’re doing is destabilizing as well.

Blue instability. Sunday’s anti-vax riot in Los Angeles is a reminder that Blue metros areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, and New York still contain large populations of white conservatives. So do most of the Blue States. A militia in Michigan planned a coup attempt against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the terrorism of rape threats, death threats, and attacks on the children of public officials is a constant in the lives of local and state officials in blue areas. Chronic instability is a thing.

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