Op-Ed: The Localist Legislator — Last Hope Of The Middle Class?

Originally published in The American Conservative.

Ronald Reagan chalked up his success in politics to its correlation with show business. Social critic Neil Postman ruefully agreed, adding that in American democracy “the idea [of politics] is not to pursue excellence, clarity or honesty, but to appear as if you are, which is another matter altogether.” Without reading Postman, middle America knows from experience that the politicians they send to Washington are not always as they appear. However, the ones who stay close to home—the elected members of state legislatures—are a different breed.

Members of Congress are notoriously out of step with their constituents. One example is Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), whose district voted for Trump in 2020 by 16 percent, but who constantly blasts Trump—even after the former president’s exit from public life—and any Republican who dared support him. When Kinzinger voted to impeach the President in February, he was censured by his county’s Republican Central Committee—and denounced by his own family via handwritten note obtained by the New York Times.

The D.C. smog of special interests is enough to cloud the thinking of any politician, even setting a congressman at odds with his own “flyover” family. And this disconnect is by no means limited to Congress. Today’s forgotten middle class finds…

Read more at The American Conservative.