Government is not the answer
Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom’s frank discussion of Democratic Party strategy in recent interviews included the perennial progressive wish for annual sessions of the legislature. The progressives obsess over problems they believe can be solved by more politicians creating more laws. Unconsidered are the laws they pass having unintended consequences that lead to more laws and then more unintended consequences and so on with a constant loss of freedom. They see government as the solution, not the problem. They forget what the great classical liberal Mark Twain once said about the newly created Nevada Legislature: “The Nevada Constitution says the legislature shall meet for 90 days every two years. After watching them in action, I believe they should meet for two days every 90 years.” The Legislature is not the solution to Nevada’s problems. The people of Nevada are.
Ending term limits is another goal. According to the progressives, there is now no chance for “leadership” with so many newcomers every session. In other words, there are fewer political debts to call to get votes in line. The days of the strong Assembly Speaker like the late Joe Dini are over. To many this lack of leadership is a feature, not a bug. Society is becoming less hierarchical because networking in the shared economy is growing. If you live by the initiative, you can also die by the initiative. The people have signed on to term limits, and the progressives have got to live with it at least for now.
Progressives believe that the changing “demographics” in Nevada include the rise of the Millennial generation. But aside from the social issues, are the Millennials really on board with the progressive agenda? Recent polls indicate otherwise. The Millennials never experienced the Cold War. But they are growing up experiencing diminished expectations from the old progressive institutions like Social Security. When Millennial say “liberal” they mean socially liberal, period. When they say “socialism” they mean a basic safety net, not government ownership of the means of production. Segerblom is riding a wave of social liberalism because he is on the right side of history with medical—and now recreational—marijuana, and overturning the ban on gay marriage. But he is doing this with the help of libertarian Republicans like Reno Assemblyman Pat Hickey who helped get the medical marijuana establishments law passed. I hope that this same libertarian streak will enable some Republicans to break ranks and support the legalization of gay marriage in this upcoming session. Then it is up to Republicans to get out the message that there are economic downsides to progressives despite their social tolerance. A majority of young people want to own their own business someday. They also say they do not want big government telling them how to run their business. They believe in free markets, although they identify the word “capitalism” with crony capitalism.
Although many Millennials are registered Democrats, more are nonpartisan. Even the proportion of registered Democrats is lower than other age groups. The Republican numbers are weak among Millennials, largely because of the party’s social intolerance. The Libertarian Party may be able to capitalize on this but always face the two-party bias baked into our electoral system. Republicans can, if they are willing to concede the social changes while vigorously protecting religious minorities and emphasizing the downsides to a hierarchical, heavily taxed and regulated future for Nevada. When Millennials say “fair,” unlike progressives like Segerblom, they are talking about everyone getting their due, not necessarily about income redistribution through progressive taxation. This generation holds Nevada’s political future in their hands.