American Federalism

Voting, Elections and US Federalism: The State Government Perspective

Voting, Elections and US Federalism: The State Government Perspective

Abstract

State governments in the U.S. exercise broad authority over elections and maintain a diverse set of rules regulating the process of registering to vote, casting ballots, and drawing congressional district lines, and even determining in some respects who is eligible to vote.  In this contribution, I highlight the significant discretion that states exercise in making election rules and the range of rules in effect in the 50 states.  I also take note of several ways that the scope of state authority is subject to modification by the Supreme Court and Congress, focusing on some recent and pending Supreme Court cases and congressional acts with the potential to broaden or constrain state authority.

 

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Posted by John Dinan in Case Studies, 0 comments
From Shades to Fragments: US Federal Democracy under the Trump Administration

From Shades to Fragments: US Federal Democracy under the Trump Administration

Abstract

The controversies linked to the current US president aside, the Trump administration has faced obstacles in implementing its political programmes. This is unsurprising as governing in the United States is, in general, quite difficult. Reasons for this stem from the separation of powers at national level, but also the complexity of US federalism. The manifold division of powers in federal and democratic government render the US by comparison a rather uncoupled federal democracy. Despite these constitutional default settings, the United States has witnessed many instances and phases of cross-branch and cross-level cooperation. However, in recent decades, both American federalism and democracy have become increasingly wrought with tensions, polarization and political conflicts. In this contribution, I aim to show that the overarching pattern of US federal democracy has developed into one of fragmentation. This pattern has surely been exacerbated under the Trump presidency, but it has long been in the making.

 

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Posted by Jared Sonnicksen in Case Studies, 0 comments