"...Finally, the cities have strong civic stories and clear narratives about where they’ve been, where they are going and what makes them distinctive. The mayors in these places almost never have national ambitions. This is their town, and this is their highest office.
Today, in this era of local renaissance and national apocalypse, I hear people wondering if maybe America can be like Italy — dysfunctional on the national level but with strong localities and a lovely lifestyle.
I don’t think so. Local improvement can go only so far when national politics is a meat grinder. The good news is the solutions to our civic problems already exist; it’s just that, as the Fallowses write, these stories are lonely and disconnected.
We just need to take these civic programs and this governing philosophy and nationalize them. We need to transform these local stories into a coherent national story and a bottom-up coalition, which will look a lot like a 21st-century descendant of the 19th-century Whigs."