How Polarized Is Your State?

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“Those of us who report on state-level politics,” writes Abby Rapoport today, “usually brag about how much better it is than following Congress.” Really? I’ve always thought of state capitols as cesspools that make Congress look like a finely crafted Swiss watch. What’s going on here?

The answer, it turns out, is location, location, location. The chart on the right shows the average polarization of all 50 state legislatures, which is a pretty good proxy for gridlock and general cesspoolishness. My state isn’t merely the most polarized, it’s literally in a class by itself. No wonder I think of state politics as insufferable. In California, it is.

So it’s true: California really is two states. Not northern and southern, though. Unless water is involved, LA and San Francisco can get along OK. Basically, what this chart shows is coastal vs. inland. Most of coastal California is as liberal as its stereotype, while inland California is somewhere to the right of rural Georgia. Lately, the coastals have taken firm command of Sacramento, and the inlanders haven’t yet figured out how to respond. I don’t think they will anytime soon.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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