We’re living in interesting times to say the least. As the 2020 election nears, people on both sides seem to be getting more and more antsy. Will Trump pull off the upset and surprise everyone again or will Biden steal the win? (Opinion side note here. I honestly can’t believe that Biden is such a popular candidate given his age, length in office and mental capacity. I fully expected him to be the underdog going into this election year).
One week, a news “bombshell” comes out smearing one candidate and the next week another news “bombshell” comes out smearing the other candidate. TV ads litter the commercial breaks between shows and sports, while political signs line the roads. To say that politics is something that can be shrugged aside as “just politics” is naive. At least, at this moment, politics seems to be on everyone’s mind…even if just a little bit.
I’ve been thinking about the 2020 election and consequences of the election should Trump win or should Biden win. There will many consequences from a Trump win and many from a Biden win. But I’ve begun to realize that the impact of those consequences is really going to fall squarely on the shoulders of the states and their governments.
Let me explain.
Let’s say Biden wins. He gets in office and starts to mandate nationally what has already been mandated at the state level. In other words, federally mandated masks, business closures and the like.
Further, if Congress turns blue, we’re likely to see bills mandating new climate control laws, gun laws, higher taxes on the wealthy, perhaps a “living wage” payout from government, laws limiting hate speech, changes in foreign policy—especially in relation to Israel, laws that diminish or eliminate fracking, laws counter-acting stringent state abortion laws, an immensely increased welfare state, and the list could go on and on.
For each of the laws, Congress and the executive must rely heavily on state implementation. So, for instance: if Biden uses an executive order to try and force everyone in the nation to wear a mask, he would have to rely on the states and their governments to enforce that mandate because he can’t realistically put the sword behind his mandate across the whole U.S.
Do we really expect states like South Dakota, Florida, Georgia and the like, to comply?
In fact, I fully expect, should Biden win and start mandating new coronavirus lock-downs along with new Congressional laws, to see many of the red states either refusing to comply or even going as far as to challenge the legality and Constitutionality of such actions. States aren’t just going to roll over and play the game.
That’s the unique beauty of the American federalist system. The federal government is NOT the only government. I foresee a lot of interesting state versus federal government headbutting should Biden win.
And I’d predict the same for Trump. If Trump wins, he may not do as much federal mandating, and in doing so, he defers to the state governments to run things the way they see fit. Many of the blue states do NOT appreciate him or any policy he pushes, so I fully expect to see the blue states mandating and pushing for the new policies that Biden (should he be in office as president) would push for at a federal level.
Blue states will push back against Trump, refusing to implement laws passed under his administration and passing laws or mandates that go against his recommendations.
Consider my state, North Carolina, for example. Should Biden win the presidency but Dan Forest win the governor’s seat and Republicans maintain the legislature, I don’t expect the N.C. government to go along with Biden’s federal mandates. In other words, while the nation may be shutting down again, tightening gun regulation etc, my state won’t likely be doing these things.
Let’s say the reverse happens. Trump wins the presidency but Roy Cooper keeps his position as governor and Democrats take the legislature. Well, I won’t experience much of a change. My state will likely stay shut down, gun regulations increase and the like, regardless of the fact that Trump is president.
Do you see just how critical, just how important, states and their governments really are?
No matter how this election turns out federally, we’re going to see some major state v. federal government face-offs in the near future. And we SHOULD. This is what the founders wanted to happen. The states and federal government are supposed to check each other’s power.
I don’t think Americans ever really consider just how dis-unified the power in the U.S. really is. Americans may be demanding for government to do something, fix something, pass some law, solve some crisis, etc but it’s never that simple. Even if the federal government does pass a law, there’s no guarantee that law is going to be enforced by the states. And even if states enforce the law, there’s no guarantee the local and city governments are going to comply. On top of which, it took a lot just to make it through the federal government to begin with.
Perhaps the greatest threat to federalism and this unique relationship and friction between the various levels of government is money. See, the federal government can attempt to strong arm states by threatening to withhold funding if they don’t comply and the same goes for local and city governments in relation to their superior state governments.
Wouldn’t it be great if states were far less dependent on federal money than they are now? Federal money enslaves.
Well, any government money enslaves. It causes the recipient to feel obligated to acquiesce with the giver’s demands, even if the recipient is worse for it.
These are just some of my thoughts about this upcoming 2020 election and the fallout. No matter what happens, the new federal government, whatever its partisan makeup, is going to have to contend with states and local governments.
So, take solace in this little reality. No matter the outcome, nothing is going to come easy for the federal government. Be thankful for your country’s founders. Tyranny has to fight hard and against innumerable foes to find a home here.
I think we can all agree, whatever the outcome, we’re in for a ride.
The Liberty Belle