What Tennessee tells us about democracy in America's states
There’s democracy at the federal level. Then there’s the states, once called the laboratory of democracy.
Political scientist Jake Grumbach decided to measure the health of democracy at the state level. Take for example, Tennessee.
“Do Tennessee’s democratic institutions allow for the broad participation of Tennesseans? That’s a really important part of democracy,” he says.
Grumbach says democracy in Tennessee is in trouble.
“The state legislature has been on a steady … march for the last decade of preempting overturning local laws,” Sekou Franklin says.
“They’ve targeted cities and prevented us from establishing an affordable housing policy. Local officials are reluctant to do anything about it because they feel that it will be overturned by the state.”
Today, On Point: Tennessee and a case study of the health of democracy in America’s state legislatures.
Blaise Gainey, political reporter for Nashville Public Radio.
Sekou Franklin, professor of political science at Middle Tennessee State University. Author of Losing Power: African Americans and Racial Polarization in Tennessee Politics and After the Rebellion: Social Movement Activism and Popular Mobilization among the Post-Civil Rights Generation.
Gino Bulso, Republican state representative representing District 61.
Jake Grumbach, political scientist at the University of Washington and author of Laboratories Against Democracy.
Greta McClain, executive director of Silent No Longer Tennessee.
Sheila Clemmons Lee, led an effort to establish a Community Oversight Board in Nashville.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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