Federalism Requires Bipartisan Commitment to Devolve Power

By Stuart MacPhail – June 2021

If You Want To Fix the Country, Devolve Power says the headline in May 7 article by J.D. Tuccile on the Reason blog.
The writer points out, “It’s a given in American politics that partisans become born-again believers in federalism when their faction is out of power in Washington, DC, only to lose faith in decentralization the next time they win control of Congress and the presidency.”
The article notes: “This back-and-forthing on the value of local control vs. central supremacy is exhausting, not to mention overtly opportunistic.”  It then talks about a prominent Democrat and Republican who agreed that “Federalism must be a bipartisan issue.  Otherwise, it will continue to be subject to the inconsistent whims of elections.”
In a recent bipartisan article by the two they said: “On issues like gun control and the minimum wage, why not let Wyoming be Wyoming and New York be New York?  Half of congressional dysfunction could be eliminated by modestly accepting the diversity of our country.”
The excellent article suggests that political differences are becoming dangerous conflict as national tensions and strife.  It quotes Nate Cohn’s words in a recent New York Times piece wherein he said, “The country is increasingly split into camps that don’t just disagree on policy and politics — they see the other as alien, immoral, a threat,”
The writer concludes by saying, “Failing [to devolve power from the federal level to lower levels], the major parties will continue to pretend that they care about federalism when they’ve lost control of Washington, DC, and discard their faith in the principle when they’ve regained a grip on the central political apparatus.  And the country will continue to descend into sectarianism and strife as they play their opportunistic games.”  Read the article HERE.
Another good related article was published on May 5 in City Journal (an urban policy magazine produced by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research) written by senior fellow Brian Riedt under the heading The Federalism Fix.
Reidt argues that “America is too large and diverse for … centralization,” and that an honest application of the principles of federalism can bring peace to America.  Read that article HERE.

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