Taking Stock of 2020



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States of Crisis with Dan Vock
Taking Stock of 2020
By Daniel C. Vock • Issue #28 • View online
The whole reason I started this newsletter is that our country faced an historic set of crises this year, and states were right in the middle of dealing with all of them. So it’s safe to say that most, if not all of us, will be happy to see this year – and the crises it spawned – come to an end.
Still, I think it’s worth reflecting on the last 363-or-so days, if only to marvel at what we’ve come through and ponder how we will proceed.
Since we launched this project in June, we have explored topics together that weren’t getting much attention or that were emerging as major stories. Before they got to be big national news, you read stories from “States of Crisis” about counting ballots on election night, reopening schools, testing the legal powers of governors, negotiating aid for states in Congress and finding health workers during the latest COVID-19 surge.
I hope they’ve helped you in your work and your efforts to be productive, knowledgeable citizens.
To better serve you, this newsletter is likely to see some changes in the coming year. My inclination is to start writing more regular news analysis for paid members, while still offering big-picture feature stories once or twice a month for free subscribers. (Now’s a good time to join either group if you haven’t already!)
I haven’t made any final decisions, so feel free to let me know what would help you the most.
For now, though, enjoy a quick look back at the stories that performed the best. Thank you for traveling through 2020 with me and this community. Stay safe and healthy, and enjoy the year to come.

Our Most Popular Stories This Year
The newsletter got a lot of buzz in its first few weeks, with lots of people sharing stories via email and on social media. That drove some of the biggest hits of the year. Not surprisingly, stories about recurring issues – masks, schools and state aid – did well, too.
One-state stories didn’t do as well as I thought they might, even though I tried to couch them in terms of broader national themes. Sorry, Steve Bullock.
And now, enjoy our most popular stories since June, and feel free to get caught up on issues you might have missed:
  1. Masks Can Stop Coronavirus, So How Do Governors Get People to Wear Them? (July)
  2. The Next Crisis to Hit: State Budget Cuts (June)
  3. Coronavirus Cases Are Climbing: Who’s Ready to Send Kids to School? (June)
  4. The Inherent Vulnerability of Living in a Federal Fiefdom (June)
  5. Trump Declares State and Local Aid Dead … Maybe (October)
  6. How Long Can Governors Claim Emergency Powers? (September)
  7. Election Day Could Become Election Week (August)
  8. How the Debate over State Aid Is Playing Out in Mitch McConnell’s Backyard (July)
  9. Partial School Reopenings Could Significantly Limit Risk, Disruptions (September)
  10. At America’s Edges, State Officials Impose Tough Travel Restrictions (June)
See you in the new year!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Daniel C. Vock

A pandemic. Recession. Civil unrest. State leaders are grappling with several enormous crises all at once. We explore how they're responding.

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© Daniel C. Vock, LLC of Washington, D.C.