It's one-party rule across much of the South and Midwest, which could affect abortion, same-sex marriage and more
By David A. Lieb
There’s a new superpower growing in the Great Plains and the South, where bulging Republican majorities in state capitols could dramatically cut taxes and change public education with barely a whimper of resistance from Democrats.
Contrast that with California, where voters have given Democrats a new dominance that could allow them to raise taxes and embrace same-sex marriage without regard to Republican objections.
If you thought the presidential election revealed the nation’s political rifts, consider the outcomes in state legislatures. The vote also created a broader tier of powerful one-party governments that can act with no need for compromise. Half of state legislatures now have veto-proof majorities, up from 13 only four years ago, according to figures compiled for The Associated Press by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
All but three states—Iowa, Kentucky and New Hampshire—have one-party control of their legislatures, the highest mark since 1928.
The result could lead to stark differences in how people live and work.
If the parties make full use of their enlarged majorities, residents of similar-sized cities in different parts of the country could soon experience a virtual continental divide in their way of life.
States already have different approaches to taxes, the economy and care for the poor, but they have been tempered by compromise. Now the middle ground may begin to disappear in favor of stark extremes.
Supermajorities can allow lawmakers to override governors’ vetoes, change tax rates, put constitutional amendments on the ballot, rewrite legislative rules and establish a quorum for business—all without any participation by the opposing party.