If you’ve ever wondered why conservative policy ideas triumph more often at the state level than they do in Washington, here’s one explanation: the rising influence of free-market-oriented think tanks in the states.
Take the momentous victory last month in Chattanooga, Tenn., where workers at a Volkswagen plant rejected the United Auto Workers’ bid to represent them. This victory didn’t come about by chance. The Beacon Center, an advocacy group for conservative policy in Tennessee, played a key role in the battle. Beacon held town-hall forums — one of which I participated in — making the commonsense case to community leaders, the media, and VW workers that inviting in the union would put this fast-growing southern town on the path toward becoming another Detroit. The failure of labor bosses to win the VW vote and establish a foothold in the South is due at least in part to the Beacon Center’s successful campaign to educate the public.