By Dan Hopkins of FiveThirtyEight
It didn’t used to be this way.
State and local governments have a huge influence on citizens’ daily lives. They spend people’s tax dollars. They decide how schools operate and what constitutes a crime. And yet, few people seem to care these days. State and local elections aren’t drawing the interest from voters or the media that they did a few decades ago. National politics, on the other hand, is a bit like your smartphone: Even when you know that other things demand your attention, you can’t seem to look away.