Saturday, June 18, 2011

State Level Authoritarianism

The next leg down in social mood is now in progress, and we are already seeing the effects of declining social mood in the political arena. As expected, we have been seeing an increase in authoritarianism in the red states. As we go deeper into Primary wave [3] down, the trend of increasing authoritarianism is expected to accelerate over time, especially in the red states. There are a number of areas that I will discuss here as they are all pertinent to the larger picture of increasing authoritarianism at the state level in the United States.

Union busting legislation

A number of states have taken up an agenda of busting unions and stripping away collective bargaining rights. This trend has been unfolding for several months, starting with Wisconsin. This was followed by Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, and most recently, Maine. This is also part of a larger picture of austerity measures being undertaken at the state level as tax revenue dries up as the bear market continues to unfold.

So far, Michigan has gone farther than any other state in this area with Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP controlled state legislature not only passing legislation that strips collective bargaining rights, but also greatly expanded the powers of emergency financial managers.

Most recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of the union stripping bill authored by Gov. Scott Walker, saying that the law can go into effect. The ruling resulted in massive protests at the state capital. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is pushing for an anti-union bill that will restrict collective bargaining rights, which is already sparking protests in that state.

Voter suppression legislation

A large number of states have already undertaken legislation aimed at voter suppression under the pretense of stopping voter fraud. This is unfolding most strongly in red states, but even purple states are going in that direction as well.

The most common form that the voter suppression efforts have unfolded is the addition of an ID requirement to be able to vote. It didn't stop there as a number of states have also excluded college IDs as a valid ID. Some states, such as Kansas, are even going as far a requiring a birth certificate to vote.

Much of the information on the voter suppression developments has come from the Rachel Maddow Show, as well as the Maddow Blog. The full information about the voter suppression trend can be found here.

The trend started in 2008 with Indiana passing a law requiring IDs for voting. The law was challenged in court and ended with the US Supreme Court upholding the law. With Primary wave [3] down in progress, this trend is accelerating as social mood trends downward. Voter suppression is considered a form of increasing authoritarianism as it represents a social trend in the direction away from democracy. Expect this trend to accelerate in the months and years ahead.

Anti-abortion legislation

This trend has been unfolding at a very fast clip. In the last several months, a number of states, mostly those controlled by the GOP, have been passing legislation aimed at restricting access to abortion and family planning. So far, thirteen states block abortion coverage in their public health care systems, several states passed laws requiring ultrasounds, several states passed laws increasing the waiting period, with South Dakota being the most extreme case with a 72 hour waiting period, and three states -- Indiana, Kansas, and North Carolina -- have defunded Planned Parenthood. Most recently, Louisiana introduced a "person-hood" bill that would effectively outlaw abortion altogether.

This development all comes down to what is really at the core of this social trend -- desiring power over people -- which is again characteristic of bear markets. Expect this trend to intensify in the months and years ahead, with more and more states going as far as defunding Planned Parenthood.

We are about a month and a half into Primary wave [3] down in social mood, and we are already seeing the effects of declining social mood in the political arena. As we go deeper into Primary wave [3] down, we will see an acceleration of increasing authoritarianism at the state level, especially in the red states.

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