Sunshine and Wolverine
On January 19, two news articles appeared simultaneously. They showed that Florida is making progress right and Michigan is slowing down. The divergence in two large states is made more intriguing by the fact that both Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida and Gretchen Whitmer the Democratic governor, of Michigan are rising stars in their respective parties. So it’s possible that they will both one day be on a national presidential ticket—perhaps even running against each other.
Yet whatever happens to DeSantis and Whitmer, the issues being raised in their states—one solidly red, the other less solidly blue—tell us much about where the nation is headed. And where’s that? Revert to a earlier, more accurate vision of America as a nation made up of many states that are respectful of one another, and also respect for their differences.
We should recall that state sovereignty—the right of a state to decide for itself, even if it’s a bad decision—is at the heart of our Constitution. This sacred document was ratified by the state in 1788. It is also known as states’ rights. It is true that the notion of state sovereignty has been in decline since the Federal Government sought to micromanage and even dictate local decisions. But now, states’ rights are back.
The news item about Florida concerned the rejection the College Board’s proposed advanced placement high school course on African American studies, which Sunshine State authorities, having examinedDeclared to be its CRT-laden and woke parts. “inexplicably contrary to Florida law, adding that it “significantly lacks educational value.” DeSantis says Florida, as he likes it to be called. “where woke goes to die.” That’s Florida for you, and if the federal government doesn’t like it, too bad (which is not to say that there couldn’t be lawsuit). And if, say, Californians don’t like it, they can stay in California and be as woke as they wish—including moving forward on slavery reparations.
Florida was once seen as a swing state, and yet now, thanks in no small part to DeSantis, it’s strongly Republican. Florida voted for Donald Trump, 2020. In 2022, DeSantis won a staggering 19 points. No Democrats hold statewide offices, and the U.S. House delegation is controlled by Republicans, 20 to 8. The GOP also boasts supermajorities within both chambers the state legislature.
Michigan’s news story was published as a Washington Post story that heaped praise on Whitmer, who in 2022 was also re-elected in a landslide—albeit by a narrower margin than DeSantis, 10 points. According to the PostWhitmer is now in her second term. “a barrage of culturally liberal legislation, including new LGBTQ protections.”Whitmer also wants to push a bill that guarantees abortion, which Republicans previously opposed. It is safe to say that both wokeness as well as CRT have been thriving in the majority of Michigan schools.
It Post story also highlighted Michigan State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a telegenic 36-year-old who is being built up by the Main Stream Media as a champion of progressivism—and hoped-for Democratic victories. “I hope that we do become the model,”McMorrow said that McMorrow was the Post About her state, You can also add Democrats Everyone should stand united behind the principle “everybody is welcome”Translated as: Sanctuary cities and open borders. More drag queen stories hours. “we talk about our past in honest terms”Translation: Lots of 1619 Project-type history rewriting.
Michigan’s Democratic base is somewhat less than Florida’s. Wolverine State supported Joe Biden in 2020. Whitmer was also re-elected in 2022. In this election, Democrats won sweeping state offices and the legislative. The Democrats have a small control over the U.S. House delegation, only seven to six. Yet, no Republican has ever won a U.S. Senate position there since 1994.
So yes, the two states have very different histories—and, most likely, different destinies. For instance, in 1960, Michigan’s population entitled it to 18 Members of the House of Representatives. Despite decades of decline, now the state is just 13. In comparison, in 1960, Florida had eight Representatives. It currently has 28.
These different histories are why the leaders of each state seem to have different perspectives. Whitmer stated this in her second inaugural speech on January 1. “Let’s tackle climate change head-on.” That’s probably not the best plan for the beleaguered U.S. auto industry, but as we know, Democrats have mostly written off the working class, seeing their future with the poor and the affluent.
By contrast, in His second inaugural address on January 3, DeSantis didn’t mention “climate change”He did not use it, however. “free,”Or “freedom,” 14 times. Whitmer for her part used “freedom”Mostly to invoke the liberal position regarding abortion and gay marital. DeSantis stressed that Florida was the fastest growing state in Tallahassee. “number one in new business formations.” In Lansing, Whitmer barely mentioned growth and didn’t use the word “business” once.
However, they remain different and both DeSantis as well Whitmer control their respective states for the following four years. Indeed, both can expect to have a voice in national debates—and maybe more than that.
The founders understood that each state would be unique. This was their opinion, as central authority is not to be trusted. Therefore, power must be dispersed. As Patrick Henry declared, “Shew me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty.” That is, wise patriots shouldn’t put trust in the goodness of any government, especially a national government. They should instead rely on Oneself to safeguard their liberties, creating legal checks and balances against the risk of tyranny—with one kind of check being the states.
Henry opposed the Constitution’s ratification in Philadelphia after its creation at that convention in 1787, precisely due to his fear of central power. The Constitution’s proponents were aware of this opposition and tried to assure that it would not place too much power in distant national governments. James Madison in 1788 wrote, “The States will retain, under the proposed Constitution, a very extensive portion of active sovereignty.” Alexander Hamilton, a Canadian citizen, argued the same thing in that year. “has only general powers, and the civil and domestic concerns of the people are regulated by the laws of the several states.” It’s there! states’ rights.
The Americans added to their Constitution the Ninth Amendment. This amendment, in its entirety reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Also, freedom is the default mode. The Tenth Amendment was also included. It entirety: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Again, freedom is the default mode, but with the additional proviso of the states being an important legal barrier against national usurpation.
However, the Founders were still preoccupied by the question of limiting federal power. As steeped as they were into history, they realized that concentration was always an obstacle to freedom. Thomas Jefferson sent Charles Hammond a letter in 1821 declaring centralized power. “I am opposed.” Jefferson also added “whenever all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” This means that the federal government might become just as evil as the British government against which Jefferson, and other patriots, rebelled.
In American history, many other prominent figures have defended a strong state role. Salmon P. Chase, Supreme Court Chief Justice, wrote in 1869 a majority opinion. “The Constitution in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible states.” Louis Brandeis (a Justice of the Supreme Court) praised the state in 1932. “laboratories of democracy.”
Happily, the Constitution, including its federalist, states’ rights component, has been “loose-jointed”sufficient to enable the state to meet new challenges individually or collectively. It is this flexibility that has allowed the country to prosper over these past 233 year.
The Constitution, however, has not changed. “stiffer” in recent decades, as the federal bureaucracy and judiciary has fulfilled Jefferson’s nightmare, expressed in that 1821 letter: “Washington as the center of all power,”Being “venal and oppressive.” So that’s why we should study our own history: so we can be reminded that the Founders would be horrified at the creep of centralization we’ve seen in recent decades. Intellectual antidote for big-government cheerleading is careful study of the original intent.
Laboratories of Diversity
Diversity is much more than skin color. We aren’t just ethnically and culturally diverse, we are also IdeologicallyAnd Political diverse. In fact, our society is so varied that federal government can no longer function the way it has over the last century. Another way to put it: One size fits all It is notFits all. It’s not for everyone 335 millions of us scattered over 50 states.
Oregon might be a good example of how diverse our country is in every sense of the word. Measure 110 decriminalized small amounts hard drugs and was adopted by Beaver State voters in 2020. heroin. It seems radical but 58 per cent of Oregonians supported the measure. And if easing up heroin—and meth, cocaine, etc.—still doesn’t seem like such a good idea to you, thank the Constitution, because the law only applies to Oregon. You see, federalism and states’ right allow for compartmentalization, so a bad outcome in one state doesn’t have to spill over to another state. Of course, the people of Oregon don’t seem to think they made a mistake passing their drug bill: progressive Democrats are still in charge there. In 2022—drugs, crime, and Antifa notwithstanding—they retained the governorship, as well as all the other major state offices. Oregon now serves as one of 50 laboratory for heroin. chemistry. Oops, I mean diversity, or democracy.
This diversification can be seen on many other subjects. For instance, the Associated Press reports that since the Supreme Court’s Dobbsdecision to overturn the infamy Roe v. WadeThe states are now legal “patchwork”:
Near-total abortion bans have been in place since June in Alabama, Arkansas and Idaho as well as Kentucky, Louisiana. Mississippi. Missouri. Oklahoma. South Dakota. Tennessee. Texas.
Meanwhile, however, many other countries have resolutely supported the initiative. Legalization abortion—including, quite possibly this year, Michigan.
There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear: But it’s clear enough. It is absurd to think that one authority could set national standards. This was the error made by the Supreme Court in 1973. Roe; The unelected majority wanted to unilaterally LegislateInstead of following its own policy on abortion, it is not doing what it ought to have done. ArbitrateThe 50-member elected legislatures have made laws. Now we all know the 50 states will not agree to abortion. The federal government is expected to play a minor role but not a major one.
The Duality of Diversity
So the states may be different. Every state is empowered by the Constitution to chart their own course. As red gets redder, blue gets bluer, charters are becoming more assertive.
Yet there’s an additional dynamic to consider: For all the diversity of the 50 states, there are still only two parties. For good or ill, the first-past–the-post electoral process helps to cement the two-party duopoly. Also, our diverse opinions are being channeled to the two-party political system. It is a rule of thumb that if you are going to win in politics you must either be a Republican (or a Democrat). (The Two “independents”Angus King (Senator of the United States) and Bernie Sanders (Senator of the United States) are both Dems.
It may seem ironic that the 50 states’ diversity funnels into this duality. However, we can clearly see that both the Constitution and the two-party systems have survived. loose-jointedness. This means that the parties are not identical. DeSantis and Phil Scott are two examples of Republican governors. Scott was also reelected as the chief executive officer of Vermont. DeSantis is included in a party, but Scott does not have to be present. If the Republican Party were to impose litmus tests on its members, they would likely shrink.
However, Scott does not see himself as the future leader of our nation. Contrastingly, DeSantIs already isWhitmer, a national leader of the GOP, is Whitmer’s national leader for Democrats. What will be the next step? Do they have the nerve to confront one another? Keep checking back.
Yet beyond whatever happens to those two governors, theRe’s the larger trend: The United States is still united, and yet it’s reuniting around a looser vision of state power, much closer to the Founders’ original intent on states’ rights. That’s a vision that allows more room for the states, and their people, to enjoy their own rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Or in Oregon’s unique case, the pursuit for a fix.
The full article is available here here