Tag: federalism

The Missing Element of Political Reform Debates

Political reform, whether it favors sweeping institutional overhauls or looks to fixes tailored towards more narrow problems, operates under the assumption that government dysfunction ultimately stems from some flaw within government. This statement might seem blatantly tautological, but in fact it reflects a deeper problem with American politics: a fundamental misunderstanding of the complex role…

Is National Security Replacing the Commerce Clause as the Basis for Sweeping Federal Power?

The falling away of federalistic principles from government is often linked to the increasingly nationalistic scope of politics. Under the auspices of the commerce clause and the “necessary and proper” clause, federal government officials have been able to rationalize their claim to final regulatory authority over an increasingly wide swathe of issues. The commerce clause…

Congress Is Inept Because It Was Never Meant to Be the Primary Political Problem Solver

There is a strain of modern political thought that equates specialized knowledge and topical expertise with elitism, itself rooted in anti-populism. Such thinking contributes to high levels of political inefficacy as the operational premise of representational government is that legislators, who dedicate their time to informing themselves on issues that affect their constituents, will use…

The Shutdown Highlights Oligarchic Attitudes in Government

There is perhaps nothing so indicative of an increasingly oligarchic trend in government as language from politicians signaling their actions are oriented around what is most convenient to others of their ranks. By way of example, a recent story in Roll Call detailed how, in the waning hours before the government shutdown took effect, Sen.…

Re-establishing federalism starts with divorcing national politics from elections

If one believes that many of the shortcomings of today’s politics can ultimately be traced to the abandonment of federalist principles—as tends to typify certain strains of right-wing thought—then the trend in national elections, which primarily subjects candidates running for federal office to scrutiny by other elected officials rather than to the judgment of their…

No, Federal Funding for Disaster Relief Is Not Antithetical to Conservatism

For the vast majority of the country, Hurricane Harvey, though a tragedy, also served as a reminder that political divisiveness is superficial. The outpouring of support from Americans even in areas far from the path of the storm demonstrated that rugged individualism is still a central animating tenet of civic life.  Love of one’s own…

2016: An Election of Political Death and Realignment

Nothing is so over-prognosticated as the death of political parties. Under the microscope of public, and perhaps more importantly, media scrutiny, insignificant quibbles are overly magnified into catastrophic divisions, which, catalyzed by the constant pressures of the biannual election cycle, threaten to rent the party asunder. But reports of the demise of political parties are…

On regime change

With very little regard for partisan loyalties that play into the frenetic turnover between old and new presidential administrations, American citizens seem to inherently recognize the nation’s roughly two centuries of peaceful and regular transitions of power as something to be lauded. And rightly so. The ability of former rivals, in the electorate and the…

What does an electoral mandate mean in a democratic government?

Whenever an election result heavily favors one party or candidate, the commentariat class—those members of the media and political elite who feel qualified to act as final arbiters in determining the meaning of political and cultural events—brand that victory a “mandate.” This term is used as if the degree of victory somehow gives the winner…

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