A Federalist Moment

 
Allstate-Media-Infographics-20150306-2

(Click to embiggen)

By a factor of nearly three to one, Americans believe that state and local government is more successful at solving problems than Washington, D.C. In the just-released Heartland Monitor Poll sponsored by Allstate and National Journal, 64 percent of respondents said that more progress is being made by governments close to home compared to just 26 percent who chose the federal government.

This federalist sentiment was shared by people across nearly every group, independent of age, gender, education level, personal wealth and region. When the question was expanded to include state and local institutions like businesses and nonprofits, the gap with national organizations increased to a 69-22 split.  National Journal interviewed some Americans about the findings:

“After 10 years of paying attention to politics, I just prefer state and local government,” says [Michael] Hansen, an independent voter who works in food sales and lives in Idaho, just outside of Sun Valley. “I think local and state politicians actually listen more. They have to live within the same rules that they create.”

…”Changes on the national level haven’t affected me,” explains 22-year-old Hailey Kenkel, a Democrat and graduate student from Maryville, Missouri. “I don’t know how people are supposed to make big changes with how hard Congress makes it.”

…”The federal government is too big and too slow. I think it needs to be cut down,” says Luke Roberts, a 30-year-old Republican from Littleton, Colo. “I just think that less is more right now with the federal government.”

Diving into the numbers (PDF here) only reinforces this local-first attitude. Respondents think America as a whole is on the wrong track by 54 to 33 percent, but they think their own area is on the right track, 66 to 25 percent. And that’s in spite of a grim assessment of the U.S. economy (75 percent negative; 25 percent positive).

What most warmed my conservatarian heart was the preference for non-governmental institutions. When asked who most improved their local area, businesses and nonprofits each got more than double the votes of government, which carried a lowly 15 percent. When it came to providing job opportunities, government at all levels earned a meager 8 percent.

For years, conservatives have insisted that the real work of governance is happening in our statehouses and city halls. For once, it seems like the American people overwhelmingly agree with us. How can we capitalize on this moment to push the feds to devolve government to where it actually belongs?

There are 14 comments.

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  1. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    I don’t think it can be done from the federal level.  How do you find people to run for office that will vote to decrease their power??  We have to pursue this from the state level.  Elect state officials that are willing to cut the federal purse strings and go it alone.

    • #1
  2. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    We need to find federal candidates who a.) can articulate the federalist message, b.) can stand their ground in the face of demagoguery, “So, you want to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment?  And bring back Jim Crow?”, and c.) are willing to use their federal power to reduce federal power.

    • #2
  3. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Probable Cause:We need to find federal candidates who a.) can articulate the federalist message, b.) can stand their ground in the face of demagoguery, “So, you want to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment? And bring back Jim Crow?”, and c.) are willing to use their federal power to reduce federal power.

    c. Is where the trouble starts.

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Sorry, I should read the post before commenting but I’m stuck on where it says “Click to embiggen” under the graphic.

    As we all know “a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man!”

    • #4
  5. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    Concretevol:c. Is where the trouble starts.

    Agreed.

    If I were king for a day, we’d repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and return the States to their rightful place at the federal table (as opposed to the federal trough).  But there we’re faced with a similar catch-22 — asking the Senate to repeal an amendment that guarantees their power.  The alternative path is a constitutional convention.  But in an age in which Congress exercising its power of the purse is crazy talk, a constitutional convention is beyond crazy talk.

    • #5
  6. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Couldn’t agree with you more Jon. I’d love to see one of the candidates state that they understand how polarized we are but that  recommitting ourselves to the Constitution and the Republic would foster greater cumulative harmony and happiness (of course tempering ‘States Rights’: Civil Rights, Voting Rights) by respecting local & state jurisdictions to decide: marriage, public religious displays, abortion, prayer in school, etc.

    I wouldn’t move to California, Massachusetts, or the Bible Belt but they can all decide how they want to run things for the majority of their residents. I’ll respect that if (IF) they respect my state.

    I’m not sold on Rand Paul at all but surprised he hasn’t latched on to this more, or Ted Cruz, Scott Walker…

    • #6
  7. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @WardRobles

    We Californians might finally have to confront the ramifications of our overly generous welfare system when all the conservative states’ social programs consist of buying bus tickets to California.

    • #7
  8. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    An awful lot of state, county and municipal governments are a fiscal and managerial disaster. We all can’t move to non-Austin parts of Texas. It would be nice to recover some respect for subsidiarity but it could be hard. Americans freed from big, intrusive, expensive government might be as disoriented as East Germans bewildered by the risks and opportunities presented by freedom.

    • #8
  9. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Now, if people will actually vote this way in November 2016…

    • #9
  10. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Now, if people will actually vote this way in November 2016…

    That’s the rub, eh?

    • #10
  11. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    MLH:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Now, if people will actually vote this way in November 2016…

    That’s the rub, eh?

    The demagoguery tends to tilt the playing field the other way in practice.  Take something as simple as eliminating the federal Department of Education.  If one takes the most benign view, the department is clearly redundant, as every State already has one.

    You know what they’d say…

    Welcome to the “War on Children.”

    • #11
  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Concretevol:I don’t think it can be done from the federal level. How do you find people to run for office that will vote to decrease their power?? We have to pursue this from the state level. Elect state officials that are willing to cut the federal purse strings and go it alone.

    Power is not given, it must be taken. That’s why I’m a fan of the Compact for America. The strange thing is, many statehouses are fine surrendering their power to D.C. in order to avoid the tough decisions.

    • #12
  13. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Concretevol:I don’t think it can be done from the federal level. How do you find people to run for office that will vote to decrease their power?? We have to pursue this from the state level. Elect state officials that are willing to cut the federal purse strings and go it alone.

    Power is not given, it must be taken. That’s why I’m a fan of the Compact for America. The strange thing is, many statehouses are fine surrendering their power to D.C. in order to avoid the tough decisions.

    Or is it to get $$ ?

    • #13
  14. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:Power is not given, it must be taken. That’s why I’m a fan of the Compact for America. The strange thing is, many statehouses are fine surrendering their power to D.C. in order to avoid the tough decisions.

    Since their agenda is unpopular, progressives have learned to advance their cause through executive and judicial actions.  Their goal in the legislative bodies is simply to prevent any opposing actions from getting through.  E.g.: President Obama + Democrat Senate minority filibuster.  I suspect something similar is at work in the state houses.

    Obamacare, of course, is an exception.  In rare instances in which progressives control all three branches, they can take a great leap forward.

    • #14
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