Tag Archives: federalism

David Davenport: A Silver Lining In the Cloud of Controversy

Compromise

President Trump’s approval numbers are low and controversies are high, nevertheless some good things are happening in our democratic system.

Congress, for example, is stepping up to its responsibilities to debate and decide policy. With Trump less interested in policy particulars, Congress can become what the founders intended, the first of the branches of government. They are debating health care, tax reform and war powers instead of waiting for the president.

Federalism is also flourishing, with states and cities becoming more proactive in policy affairs. I don’t always agree with them, but California and other states have figured out that they can make decisions about immigration or the environment. Again, that’s how the republic is supposed to work.

There’s even a new appreciation for checks and balances and separations of power as the Constitution established them.

Call them unintended good consequences of Donald Trump’s presidency, perhaps, but these are healthy signs for our democratic system.

 

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David Davenport: California’s Bully Federalism

Compromise

California’s travel ban, forbidding the expenditure of state money to travel to states that have policies they don’t like, is what I call bully federalism.

You may remember federalism, the idea that state and local governments retain considerable power in our federal system. Under the 10th Amendment, states can fight back and defend their powers against Washington.

But California’s federalism is not defending against federal power, it is offensive in nature, seeking to force its policies onto other states.

California doesn’t want state officials—or even university students—to travel to states that do not agree with its policies on LGBT issues. With the 6th largest economy in the world, California has the economic power to be a bully.

Do we all have to be like California? Is California the only state that gets things right? Is there no respect for the laws of other states, as seems to be called for by the “full faith and credit” provision of the Constitution?

No one likes bullies.

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