A hundred years ago progressives liked federalism. As Jeffrey Rosen points out in the NYT, Wilson appointed Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, and Brandeis was a progressive champion of federalism. When, not if, Roe v. Wade is overturned it will be up to each State to write its own abortion laws. Which is as it should be. Maybe that entire exercise will make the left rediscover the virtues of decentalization.
The Sanders millennials don’t really like or trust the federal government. They think it’s irredeemably corrupt, and they’re right. It’s been captured by crony capitalists and government dependents. They own it, lock, stock and barrel. The Sanders voters need to understand that rather than try to reform the federal government, they need to help dismantle it. Take away its power, and return it to the States, and the people.
Oh, but what about all those black people in South Carolina, and the LGBT people in North Carolina, or the gays in Texas? What will happen to them, if the voters of those benighted States are free from federal supervision? Well, the black people of South Carolina have one of their own in the U. S. Senate, and if your sexual lifestyle is your big thing in life, maybe you should move to San Francisco.
A sanctuary city is municipal nullification of federal law. The liberalized marijuana laws of a growing number of States are in defiance of well established federal law. A higher minimum wage is a State issue, and the left can win on that issue on a local basis.
This is what drives me crazy about the left. When I was at Cal in the 60’s the liberals were free spirits. They didn’t like the government. They were rebellious. They weren’t interested in telling me how to live my life. How things have changed. The left has become fascist, and that’s why they don’t like federalism and States Rights.
But there’s got to be a non-fascist left out there, one that’s willing to leave people alone. Why is it Berkeley’s business what South Dakota’s law on abortion is? And why does South Dakota care if they all smoke dope in Berkeley? Live and let live. Why can’t the left go along with that?
Term limits are only tangentially related to federalism, but there is a connection. Term limits is an attack by the States on Congress, and the way it does business. And Congress is the ultimate source of the corruption of the federal government.
Somewhere out there in this great big country there are liberal Democrats who want term limits. There’s got to be a way to find them. I mean, if you’re a Democrat in the Age of Trump, what else are you going to do?