State-Federal Relations: Dueling Policies

The 2008 elections will not alter the coercive course of American federalism. Given that little will be accomplished in Washington, D.C., before 2009, the new president and new congressional majority will likely address such long-simmering issues as education, entitlements, health insurance, immigration and infrastructure. However, centralizing trends—such as conditions of aid, mandates and preemptions—will endure because they have enjoyed bipartisan support since the late 1960s. Intergovernmental administrative relations will be mostly cooperative, and state policy activism will remain vigorous, but the Supreme Court will not resuscitate federalism.

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About the Author
John Kincaid is the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service and Director of the Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government, Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. He is former editor of Publius: The Journal of Federalism; former executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations; and co-editor of Constitutional Origins, Structure, and Change in Federal Countries (2005).

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