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Conservative Innovators and Liberal Emulators

Conservative Innovators and Liberal Emulators

The Future of American Federalism in the Trump Administration and Beyond

(p.144) Chapter Six Conservative Innovators and Liberal Emulators
Conservative Innovators
Ben Merriman
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines patterns of policymaking and intergovernmental conflict during the first year of the Trump Administration. There is remarkable continuity with the activity discussed in the body of the book. As reflected in staffing decisions, ideas, and official activity, the Trump Administration’s domestic agenda clearly extends the basic commitments of the state conservatives discussed in this book. Partisan and intergovernmental disagreements likewise remain highly concentrated in the same areas of policy. In challenging the activity of the Trump Administration, liberal state officeholders have been quick to make use of much of the repertoire of administrative and legal behaviors developed by conservatives in recent years. The chapter therefore argues that the pattern of conservative state opposition to the Obama Administration was not an isolated episode, but an emerging norm in American politics and government: the United States is likely entering an era of more conflictual intergovernmental relations. Owing to the underlying administrative law doctrines, as well as the Trump Administration’s efforts to limit the scope of the administrative and welfare state, the likely result is a rearranged federalism in which state governments are more powerful and active than they have been for generations.

Keywords:   Trump administration, conservatism, liberalism, federalism, intergovernmental relations, attorneys general, immigration, voting rights, environmental protection

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