WHERE THINGS START

          In the book Megatrends, it is suggested that major trends start locally and spread nationally while fads start nationally and spread down to localities.

          John Naisbitt demonstrates that major trends begin in 5 bellwether states. He later added a sixth. You might ask yourself before reading the rest of this column, what are those 6 states? What are the six states where so many major trends begin in our country?

Pause for a moment and ask yourself where you think most ideas start that are subsequently picked up nationally. Write those states down on a piece of paper.

Salad bars started locally and spread nationally.  Where do you think they might have begun? It is the #1 state for new trends. Salad bars began in California as did McDonalds, the granola craze, most of the human potential groups and the physical fitness trend.

Florida is the #2 state for new trends bringing to us the boom in condominiums, time-shared vacations, “sunshine laws” that required public agencies to hold open meetings and have since spread to almost every state, and many approaches to deal with the realities of our aging population.

Colorado passed the first laws limiting growth of population, highways, shopping centers and housing units (followed within 2 months by similar laws in Florida and California). Colorado also initiated “sunset laws” that closed down new agencies unless legislatures explicitly renewed them.

Connecticut, Washington and Texas are the other states where new trends are particularly likely to begin.

On Election Day California joined the state of Washington by passing an open primary referendumWashington went to the open primary concept whereby the top two vote getters in the primary, whatever their party, appear on the ballot in the general election. Last week California voters approved a similar process during their state’s primary.

Under the open primary system all who vote in a primary may vote for any of the candidates. Candidates may choose to list their party affiliation or not to list their party affiliation. Both parties or all parties can still raise money and campaign for their candidates. Then comes the primary vote and the top two move on to the general election in November. In some elections this will mean two Democrats in other districts two Republicans will be on the November ballot. . 

Open primaries give stronger voice to largest political group – moderates.

This “top two” approach to determining who is on the ballot in November is certain to lead to law suits, extensive debate and strong consideration in other states. Whether it becomes a national trend, like so many other trends that started in Washington or California, will be fascinating to follow.