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Why Federalism?

Based on the vitriol being thrown around by supporters of the various GOP presidential candidates, it’s obvious that people are desperate to nominate and elect their candidate because they believe that only their candidate can save the nation from Obama. What this desperation tells me is that we have invested too much authority and too much power in the office of the president.

In the early days of the republic the president was a much less consequential position than it is today because all of the decisions that affected the day to day lives of Americans were made much closer to home at the state and local level. National politics was not local. It used to be far more important who was elected to the state legislatures and the governorships.

Rather than battling for the presidency as if our very lives depended on it we need to focus our efforts on securing conservative majorities at the state and local level and electing people to these offices who are dedicated to federalism. Returning to federalism will reduce the power of the federal government and minimize the impact the election of one person has on the nature of our republic. It will also reduce the wild swings in national policy as the Congress switches from party to party and they are derived of their usurped power to pass unconstitutional legislation. There has been a lot of hand wringing and gnashing of teeth about the future of our country should Obama get reelected.

I have to ask, why do we have to allow this one man and his party’s limited time in office fundamentally transform our nation? We don’t have to if we change our strategy and work hard to restore federalism.

This is a large and diverse country. I live in Arkansas and it is definitely not California. Nor is it Michigan or Massachusetts. It’s Arkansas, and the citizens of Arkansas have different wants, needs, and desires for their state than do the citizens of the rest of the country. One size government does not fit all, yet the attempt by the Left to impose their agenda on everyone is the root cause of so much division in the nation.

Take Obamacare for example; if the Left want to impose statist solutions on their citizens at the state level, I say let them. However, why should they be allowed to impose it on everyone else? One reason they want to I suspect, is that they know their ideas always fail and that allowing them to be enacted at the state level rather than the national level will provide an escape route for the industrious and leave behind the dependent classes. Centralization prevents escape. One of the great unwritten freedoms we have in this country is the freedom of movement; it is the key to competitive state government. If productive citizens are free to move to another state, states are restrained from abusing or overburdening their citizens lest all the productive citizens depart for more friendly and welcoming states. We see this in action today as people abandon California and Texas booms.

Rather than live in fear of electing Democrats and reelecting Obama, work to reestablish federalism and make them near irrelevant. Imagine how powerless we can make the Democrats and their interest groups if power were returned to the states. No Democrat special interest group can afford to fight fifty state level battles for their pet projects. They would have to abandon the fight in strong red states.

 

I think many on the Left hate the ongoing battles as much as we do and many would be willing to join with us in restoring federalism if it assured them that they wouldn’t have to worry about a GOP Congress crippling unions, outlawing abortion, undercutting welfare, et al. because the power to do so was stripped from Congress and returned to the fifty states.

Unfortunately, politicians in DC won’t give up their power voluntarily; it must be seized from them by the states acting together. Rather than suing the federal government over Obamacare for example, the states that are suing should simply refuse to implement it. This strategy can be expanded to other areas outside the enumerated powers such as education, energy, infrastructure et al.

In summary, the tools to reduce the power of the central government exist if only we would use them and we have nothing to lose and much to gain.

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