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CAS PO 141 (17)

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Boston University
Political Science
CAS PO 141
Graham Wilson

September 12, 2013 The Constitution and Elections • could have popular vote but lose the election due to electoral college • 2 senators to a state o need 60 votes to move legislation forward What is Federalism? • form of government in which two or more states constitute a political unity while remaining more or less independent with regard to their internal affairs. o dictionary definition  have national government but states remain independent regarding internal affairs • why federalism o historically unified government impossible as states had prior existence  states were there first o part of the system of checks and balances  when first wrote constitution didn’t put in bill of rights because they were so key in this idea  ambition against ambition  two levels of government where state and national would check each other o “closer to the people” in a varied country  not being governed by far off people in Washington that don’t understand what it is like being in that exact place  states are close to people is overdone because we don’t know much about state government • not a lot of coverage in the media • states can still be more adaptive to local circumstances  more corruption at state level rather than federal level • federalism is politically contested doctrine o the use of “states’rights” to resist anti-lynching laws, civil rights etc. Liberals oppose and argue for national (federal power) o but under bush administration liberals passionately defended right of California to set higher than federal standards on automobile emissions while business argued for federal control of this policy area • federalism in practice o no neat separation between local and national; think of No Child Left Behind dealing with what was once a state or even local concern o many federal agencies have a very local impact (FEMA)  people look to federal government in times of disaster to come in and help in the aftermath 1 September 12, 2013 o very often states act with federal mandate and (somewhat less often) federal
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