Progressives have struggled to build policy clout at the state level. Here’s why.
After the 2010 Republican wave election, state legislatures were flooded with almost-identical bills that would require strict photo ID to vote, weaken unions with right-to-work laws and allow individuals to use lethal force if they felt threatened. Democrats were taken off guard — but they shouldn’t have been.
A right-leaning “troika” of powerful interest groups had been working steadily for years to consolidate their power over a majority of states. Conservatives came to drive policymaking in the states through a collaboration between three powerful organizations: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity (AFP), and the State Policy Network (SPN). Meanwhile, progressives have struggled to build similar policy clout at the state level — but why?