Federalism is embedded in the United States constitution and has played a key role in American history. However, since the Great Depression and World War II, power has been increasingly centralized in Washington D.C., leaving state and local governments with less authority to provide local solutions to local problems.
Yet this one-size-fits-all centralization has become increasingly contentious as Americans sort themselves into like-minded communities that wish to have their values represented in the policies that affect them. After all, is there any reason that conservative Texas and liberal Vermont need to have the same health care or education system? Centralization stifles state-level pluralism, and forces diverse communities to fight for ultimate control in Washington.
What are the prospects and opportunities for devolution in today’s political climate? What do states stand to gain and lose, and what effects might this have on American unity and civic culture? Please join the Manhattan Institute for a virtual discussion of these questions, featuring Manhattan Institute senior fellow Brian Riedl and The Dispatch senior editor David French. The conversation will be moderated by Manhattan Institute director of State and Local Policy, Michael Hendrix.