Combative Federalism:  Why Are So Many States Suing Trump?
Articles,  Blog

Combative Federalism: Why Are So Many States Suing Trump?

(bubbly music) – So it’s a real pleasure
to be welcoming you to our second State of
Democracy Lecture for the year. I’m Grant Reeher, Director of the Campbell
Public Affairs Institute, the institute which coordinates
this lecture series. And on behalf of Syracuse University, I would like to acknowledge with respect the Onondaga Nation, the
indigenous people on whose ancestral lands we now sit. Today, I think we can think of this as an intellectual tailgating party. (audience chuckling) And we talked about getting
a kettle barbecue out in the foyer, but the
fire marshal didn’t really like that idea very
much, but we are having a reception after the talk. And if you’re over 21, there
will be beer and wine there so it’s not bad, it’s coming pretty close. As I said at our first lecture, in this series we strive
with some of our lectures to engage perennial topics; and then with other lectures, to engage pressing current issues. And I think as we did
on our first lecture, with this lecture by Alan Greenblatt on the relations between the
federal and state government and with our current president, we’ve been able to do both at
the same time with his talk. And before I say more about
Alan and our format for today, let me just issue a few heartfelt thanks. First, I wanna thank the Dean’s Office for supporting the series. We’re always very pleased
to have that support. For technical support, the Information and
Computing Technology Group, and in particular, Tom Fazzio. I wanna thank as well Kelley
Coleman and Sunju Raybeck who work in the Campbell Institute and help put together these events. And I also want to give special thanks to the wonderful graduate and PA students and undergraduate students that we have helping us with this event today. For our format, we’ll hear from Alan and he’ll talk for 50 minutes or so, and then we’ll move directly
to questions and comments. And one of the reasons for that, rather than to have a
faculty respondent or two, is that I think there’s
gonna be a lot of questions about the midterm elections, and Alan has a lot to say about that. We’ve had a fascinating
series of conversations just this afternoon, both
he and I individually and then with small groups of students, about some of the different patterns at the state and local level
that are just not getting the same level of attention that the congressional elections did, but they’re really fascinating
and really important. So let me make a few reminders here first before I say more about
Alan and the topic. First, please silence your smartphones if you haven’t done that already. Second, when we get to
the audience Q&A portion, please wait for the microphone
to be passed to you. I will call on, I think
I’ll try to call on two folks at a time but
wait for the microphone to be passed to you before you speak and that’s so that everybody can hear you, but also so that you’re part
of our archive of the event and the live stream. And then as I said
before, following the talk we’ll have a reception out in the foyer where there will be
refreshments and we can continue the conversation that we begin here. So let me just end with a few words about Alan and his topic. Struggles between the state
and the federal government, occasioned by actions taken by
presidential administrations are certainly not new to the
American political landscape. Indeed I think they’re
woven into the very fabric of our politics from the very outset. But in the course of
these ongoing struggles we also hit moments of
particular historical importance, and we may be in the
midst of one of them now. We just had our midterms,
and again I was talking to Alan about these. I can never remember in my
lifetime a set of state elections that were so occupied with national issues and so occupied with the president. So I’m very curious to hear what Alan, a longtime student and
observer of state politics and policy, is making of this moment. And I’m also very glad and delighted that he is simply here. He has had a torturous journey
to get here from St. Louis involving two days and lost luggage, which is why he is dressed more informally than our State of Democracy
speakers normally are. That was not his intention, but we’re just glad that he’s here. But let me say a little
bit about his background before I turn the floor over to him. He’s especially well
situated and qualified to reflect on these issues
of federal state relations and on state politics more generally, particularly again after the midterms. For over two decades,
Alan has been covering politics and government. He’s currently a staff writer
for Governing Magazine, the leading publication on
state politics and policy. He has a wide beat for the magazine, including writing The Observer column, which opens the magazine every month. He’s also done longer
form pieces for outlets such as Congressional
Quarterly Researcher. Alan’s past posts include NPR
and Congressional Quarterly, where he won a National Press Club award for political journalism. He’s also written for newspapers such as the New York Times, The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. So again, we’re very glad to have him here to talk about these important topics. And Alan, welcome to the Maxwell school, and the floor is yours.
(applause) – This is the first time
I’ve given a subtitled talk, so it should be easier to follow. And, yeah it did take me
about 20 hours to get here. My luggage is still trying, so I apologize for the casual Friday look. So I’m really impressed by how many people came out to hear a talk about federalism on a Friday afternoon when it’s snowing and there’s a football
game, so I appreciate that. And I’m trying to remember
all my best federalism jokes but anyway, I’m gonna talk
about a lot of things. It is an interesting moment in federalism. I’ll talk a little bit
about what federalism is, why it’s become so contentious of late, and I will talk some about the elections and some of the divisions
and patterns we see that feed both into the political results and the tensions and federalism. Anybody know which state capitol this is? Quick quiz, they all look the same so it’s a trick question. That’s Wisconsin. So it’s especially a pleasure to be here at Syracuse and at Maxwell. At Governing, we saw a project called the government performed
project or grading the States, and Maxwell did the
heavy-hitting data crunching, deep in-depth stuff. It was a look at how
each state did in terms of nuts and bolts of
management and finance of that kind of thing, and
we ran that in the magazine. And so our magazine really is kind of a product of federalism. It started its first issue in 1987. Ronald Reagan was president,
and he talked about the new federalism which
was gonna be a transfer of power to the states. And (mumbles) little remember, I was just thinking about this actually, Reagan proposed that
the federal government take over the whole of
the bill for Medicaid, which is roughly split
with the federal government paying about 57% on average of the cost and the states doing the other 43%. And in exchange, he wanted
the states to take over welfare and food stamps
and some other programs. And the governor actually objected to this much to the regret of their successors because the growth of Medicaid spending has been exponential ever since. So anyway, our founding
publisher and editor, Peter Harkness, was an editor at CQ and he was hearing all this rhetoric about how power was
gonna shift to the states and he said, maybe we
should cover the states. And the original name of the
magazine was gonna be 50, which would not have
lasted as long, I’m sure. Anyway, in the very first cover is Fend-for-Yourself Federalism,
which is a made-up term. But the idea was Reagan was cutting some of the direct aid
to cities and states and so they were gonna
have to fend for yourself. And federalism is always a term, it’s kind of almost a meaningless term, it’s always defined with an adjective. Layer cakes and marble
cakes is a classic one. So the layer cake idea is
that each layer of government is separate with distinct
roles, federal, state and local. Marble cake is probably more accurate, that they’re all mixed up that funding for education and
transportation and health, money goes up and down the ladder, there are mandates from
the federal government and money coming in from
states and so on and so forth. But there are all kinds of terms. I made this purposely
sort of an ugly slide because it’s kind of ugly idea that with dual federalism,
cooperative federalism, all these different ideas,
it basically talks about how transient the ideas,
the relationship between Washington and the states,
in the states and the cities, which I’ll talk about a
little bit, is always in flux. Sometimes it’s more
hostile with more mandates from Washington, sometimes
it’s more cooperative. So here’s my mandatory
founding father slide. And we kind of forget, if you remember your American history, the
colonies were pretty separate and we had the Articles of Confederation. We didn’t really have
a central government. We had a congress but no presidency. That didn’t work out too well. But that generation, this thought of, when we’re in school we’re talking about separation of powers,
it’s always the executive, the legislative and the judicial. But they sort of thought of states as another kind of branch of government that would be a check on the others. And so they passed the 10th amendment, which reserves power to the states that are not expressly enumerated for the federal government
in the constitution, and they also, in those times
when they set up the senate, state legislatures picked the senators. It was only about a hundred years ago that we had direct election of senators. So that was gonna be the states having a direct voice in Washington. So here’s an ugly slide. Anyway, I just wanna make the point, a lot of what I’m gonna talk
about has to do with money. This is a chart showing
who pays what share of Medicaid costs. As I said, it’s kind of split between the feds and the states. New York I think is the only state where the local governments
have to chip in directly. So it’s grown over time. The Affordable Care Act had
the expansion of Medicaid where the federal government
for the first three years was gonna pay a hundred
percent of the cost, was gonna change the eligibility levels, there was never a standard measure for how poor you had to be,
each state set it differently for pregnant women or women with two kids, those done state-by-state. And the part of the Affordable Care Act was gonna have Medicaid have
a uniform baseline for that, and the feds we’re gonna pay
a hundred percent of the costs for the new enrollees, and
then 90% from here on out. Anyway, I’ll talk about
that a little more. So this slide is just a very, another ugly slide just to
show, it’s very confusing how money flows in our
transportation system. Money just goes up and down. You pay your gas tax at the
pump, the city collects it, it sends it to the state,
the state sends some back in a formula to the local government and sends most of it, sends the
federal tax up to Washington and Washington sends
money back to the states for the interstates, and
that’s kind of a simple example of how crazy it is. Here’s how money flows
from the federal government to the states for transportation. You obviously can’t read that,
but there are many stages, it’s all more complicated
than we think about. So is federalism an important
topic in Washington? Well, this is a quote I’m gonna put up from a congressman from
Utah who’s now head of the speaker’s task force
on intergovernmental affairs. This is the idea of federalism. If a state wants to be stupid, why should the federal
government tell them otherwise? In practice, nobody in
Washington cares about federalism as an end in itself. I mean, there’s some that pay lip service, there are a lot of former
governors and state senators and whatnot who are in
Washington and they say it’s important that the states not be told what to do by Washington. But in practice, they’d
rather tell them what to do because we have to have a national policy on immigration or on gun
control or on gun rights or whatever it might be. So the people in power in Washington always oppose states’ rights. Doing so preserves their own. So states’ rights became this term, not exactly a synonym for federalism but it became somewhat
synonymous with federalism. It was part of the lost
cause mythology in the south. The south did not fight
to preserve slavery, it fought for states’
rights to have the option to preserve slavery. This was part of the excuse
making after the fact. And so states’ rights became
almost kind of an ugly term because it became very
associated with race. And again, in the civil
rights era, the same thing. Are you for states’ rights? So this is George Wallace
standing in the schoolhouse doors, was always described. He was the Governor of Alabama there. He’s trying to block two black students from entering the university. And the fellow sort of hunched over is Nicholas Katzenbach who was a Justice Department official. He became Attorney General
under Lyndon Johnson. This is 1963. Of course the south was insisting that it didn’t have to… It should be able to set
its own racial terms. So that kind of discredited
the idea of federalism. We became associated
with that very heavily. So we’ll move right ahead
to when Obama was president. Here he’s shaking hands with Bill Peduto, who’s the mayor of Pittsburgh. You’ve seen him in the
news in the past week or so after the shooting in the synagogue. He’s got a kind of
Santa Claus beard there. We were talking about
this a little bit earlier. What’s unusual about Obama with federalism is that he turn directly to the states. Typically there are these layers. Washington tells the states what’s to do, states tell cities and
counties what to do, cities and counties say why
can’t I tell anyone what to do? But Obama decided bypass
states on a lot of issues and work directly with mayors because once Republicans
took control of the house and then the Senate, he
couldn’t get anything he wanted. So he worked with mayors like
Peduto, Marty Walsh in Boston, Michael Coleman in Columbus,
a lot of them on programs that he wanted minimum wage increases, early childhood education, paid sick leave and all that kind of thing. In the meantime, we were
having opposition to Obama from Republican states. So this is Greg Abbott who
just won re-election this week as governor of Texas. Before he was governor, he was the Attorney General of Texas. And when he ran for governor,
the first time he sued Obama or the administration
about three dozen times often about environmental regulations, but also about the Affordable Care Act and many other things. And his campaign slogan practically, he would continually
say in every appearance when he ran for governor the first time, my job is I go to the office, I sue the federal
government and I go home. That’s how he saw his role. And this is an older picture. Attorney General was kind
of a do-nothing job almost for a good while. But 20 years ago, they
started to feel their power. So this is a group of attorneys general who were the lead actors in a case against the tobacco industry. And so the guy in front
is named Mike Moore, not the documentary maker obviously. Does anybody recognize Richard
Blumenthal on the left there? And in the shadows, you really
can’t make out Dennis Vacco, who was your Attorney General back then. Anyway, Mike Moore was the
Attorney General of Mississippi, and his brother-in-law had the idea of suing the tobacco industry. And the theory was
states pay a good amount of money for health care through Medicaid, and because people’s health was
ruined by cigarette smoking, they could sue the tobacco
industry for damages. And so they started
winning some settlements. And then they kicked it up to congress to pass a law that would
create financial penalties and also changed some of the regulations on advertising and the
warning labels and so forth. And that bill died in Congress. And the Attorney General said, okay, well we’ll do it ourselves. And they did a global settlement, four states had already
done separate settlements, but then this group, 46
states joined together and they did this huge
settlement on the tobacco, with the tobacco industry. 246 billion over 25 years
and a lot of regulations. And the attorneys general
realized they could themselves become national regulators. So they took on banks, and Eliot Spitzer became famous for this but it happened all over. So here’s my key slide I guess. So this will show you multi-state lawsuits against the federal government over time. So these first few years I’m showing you are the Clinton years. Yeah, Clinton years. So when we say multi-state lawsuits, it doesn’t mean every state. What typically happens is some states, especially with these big consumer cases, some states would sue a big industry, they’d get a big settlement. Every other attorney general would say I’ll take some of that too, thank you. Anyway, these lawsuits
against the United States, it’s not every state. This is two or more states. And if you went back in
time to Reagan or earlier, this was typical. One or two times a year,
sometimes five, sometimes six, but usually not that many. And then under Bush, a few more. So Bush, this is the George W. Bush, he had what we would call a
kind of coercive federalism where he wanted the states
to do what he wanted. He’d been the governor of Texas and he had a lot of
governors in his cabinet. But nonetheless, he had his policies and he wanted states to tact them out. Most famously, the No
Child Left Behind law, which mandated standardized tests on reading, math and so forth every year, grades three through eight. Anyway, so there was some
pushback as reflected there. And then under Obama, it
climbs up considerably. And this, Greg Abbott was famous for this. Scott Pruitt was the
Attorney General of Oklahoma before he became the head of EPA and before he became
as the ex-head of EPA. Anyway, they sued Obama all the time. They had the case against
the Affordable Care Act, which was about Medicaid funding. The law said you had to agree to these new baseline eligibility requirements
I was describing earlier or lose your traditional Medicaid funding. And they said that was coercive, and the Supreme Court
agreed, which is why we still have states that have not
adopted the Medicaid expansion. So this was an all-time
record the last two years, the Obama presidency, 13 per year. So then Trump became
president and it’s exploded. So 37 last year, 24 so far this year. The number’s only down this year because so many of the
cases from last year are still going on. And this doesn’t reflect
individual attorneys general who sue like crazy. The guy in California, Xavier Becerra; in Massachusetts, Maura Healey;
Bob Ferguson in Washington and when Eric Schneiderman,
before he became your ex attorney general. They’ve all sued like 40 times apiece, sue the federal government. So I have a quote I wrote down
from Schneiderman last year. The state sued to block the ban on Muslims or ban on people from certain
Muslim majority countries. We just started talking to
each other Friday afternoon. By Sunday, we had 17 states signed on to say this is unconstitutional. So they’ve created these
collaborative networks like, let’s go, let’s sue this guy
and we’ll all go in together. And of course under Obama was the Republican attorneys general suing a Democratic president. Now the opposite. And so we have all these
multi-state lawsuits. And for the attorney
general rights this year, this became a frame. I will do the most to oppose Trump. I will lead the resistance. So they were playing this role, like they were suing him over over DACA, over environmental rules,
over all kinds of stuff. So even in pop culture,
the lead subhead there by Aretha eyes, Can California Stop Trump? This is now the phrase, like
we have the idea of states being agents of resistance. And your new attorney general, this is how the New York
Times announced her victory, promises to take on Trump. Like this is central
to the job description. Democrats by the way picked up four AG, I hate the plural, attorneys general. Anyway, Colorado Michigan,
Nevada and Wisconsin. So it went from 27-23 Republican to 27-23 Democratic, exact flip. And in olden times, it was always a predominantly Democratic job. They were the only ones interested in it. And it was when the attorneys
general started suing all these corporations
that the corporations said we better get some guys
in there to block this. So anyway, of course with this election, it was not just AGs saying
they would stand up to Trump. This is the democrat in New Hampshire who lost the governor’s race. We need a governor
who’ll stand up to Trump. Gavin Newsom, who won out
in California, a democrat, said, the election will anoint the next head of the resistance. I mean, he was very
much seeing that frame. So of course this is primarily
again Democratic governors, but here’s Larry Hogan on the left, the governor of Maryland; and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts. They’re both Republicans, both moderate to liberal Republicans. They both won. And this was kind of a funny moment. This is kind of the theater
of federalism almost. I don’t mean to make
fun of a serious issue, but when the kids in
cages was the top story, some of the states,
Maryland and Massachusetts with Republican governors
with Democratic governors like Oregon and so forth,
said they were not gonna send their National Guard troops to the border. The National Guard is sort of
a funny federalism entity too where it can be federalized,
but the governor is the commander in chief. But it takes a war or
disaster or emergency for the federal government to take over. Of course I should have a slide of Eisenhower nationalizing
the National Guard in Little Rock in 1957, another
famous integration moment. Anyway, a lot of these
were purely symbolic. I can’t remember exactly
but Baker and Hogan, their states both had like one helicopter in five troops at the border. The governor of Colorado John
Hickenlooper, he’s a Democrat, he had a press conference saying, he’s putting out an executive order saying we ban the use of any state
funds for this action. And the reporter said, are any state funds being used for this action? No, not that we know of. But you can, this is an NPR page but you could get in the national news because you’re opposing Trump. So to jump back in time just for a minute, just for context, I
wanna say it’s not new. I mean, it’s very heated at the moment but it’s not a brand new thing. So this was a headline
from the 2009 stimulus. So those of you who remember, Obama came in, we were in deep recession and the Democrats, with a
little bit of Republican support at the time, passed
this 800 billion dollar stimulus package, much of which
flowed through the states. So again, the money is
always very complicated. Like highway funding, the
interstates are federal highways but they’re actually built
and maintained by states. So the states put in a request for money to the federal government. They say we have this project
that we think will be good, it’ll get easier access
to the airport, whatever. The federal government
approves it, let’s say, and then they send a check
back for 90% of the cost. So anyway, the money is
always flowing up and down, and 2/3 of the money in the
non-defense discretionary budget in the federal budget goes through states. So that means not entitlements,
not Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and
not defense obviously, but everything else. Education, environment, everything else basically goes to the states. The federal government writes checks and states then write checks
to the local governments or nonprofits or whatever. So it’s all very convoluted,
but you’ve got to follow the money, as the cliche says. So here I’ll tell this famous joke. This guy is coming in
from the national airport into Washington DC and he
drives up Independence Avenue and he sees the Forest Service and the Agriculture Department and the Energy Department and
Transportation Department. He says to the cab driver, how many people work
in all these buildings? The guy says, about half. So that’s the joke. So the federal government
does a lot of things, but mainly it writes checks to states. And the stimulus in particular, it’s one of the best-kept
secrets of the Obama era that a third of the money was tax cuts. For some reason, he never played that up. But a lot of the money was, the cliche at the time
was shovel-ready projects. So infrastructure. There was also money for unemployment, which is another program
with a lot of connections between the federal
government and the states in terms of who pays the bills. Anyway, so a lot of Republican
governors at the time said we don’t want the money. They didn’t want the
high speed rail money, they didn’t want the unemployment money, and it was the same logic that later came with the Medicaid money. Even though the feds are
giving us money and saying they’ll give us more, we
know they may not give us as much as they promised. And anyway, we don’t
even wanna pay the 10% because our budgets are
already out of balance. So Mark Sanford then was the
governor of South Carolina before he became the ex
governor of South Carolina, before he became congressman, he’s now an ex congressman. Anyway, Sarah Palin was
big on this so forth. A lot of them said, we’re not gonna take your stinking money. So anyway, and as I suggested earlier, there was a lot of legal
action against Obama. So one party is in power
and the party that controls at least some of the
states takes on the party in power in Washington. So here I get into the
political moment of the talk. So this is the Trump map. So it’s an amazing accomplishment
as he always reminds us. So anyway, so we’ve had this
concept of red and blue states going back since the 2000 election. And states since then have
been pretty much locked in. They’re either red or blue. And it wasn’t as true at the state level. There were more red states
electing democratic governors and vice-versa, but
it’s become pretty true. And for a long time I didn’t accept it because the state level
was not as polarized as in the presidential voting. But does anybody know
the book, The Big Sort? Anybody happen to hear that, any students? So this book came out like 10 years ago, and the idea was people
were sorting themselves, moving into like-minded communities that shared their values. So sort of the cliche would be the Prius, Whole Food, Starbucks people versus the cracker barrel
shotgun in the back of the pickup truck people. And when he wrote the book,
he said it’s not that people look at precinct-level voter data but somehow through these cultural cues they find their own people, and then the political
voting tends to be similar more and more by demographic
type of all sorts. So anyway, at the time he made this point about landslide counties
which were counties that voted with a 20%
percent or greater margin in the presidential race. So 1976, the Ford Carter
race was very close, almost tied nationally. 25% of the country lived in
so-called landslide counties. And then for Trump, it’s
now 60% of the country lives in landslide counties, mostly red, and then some blue. So we’re living in separate worlds. And the key thing about
this last Tuesday’s election was that the rich suburbs,
the affluent educated suburbs went for Democrats. That’s where they made
their gains of the house and also at the state level. It’s not a great chart, but
at the top line you can see in 2010 when Republicans took the house, they picked up a bunch of seats
in these educated suburbs, and as the Wall Street Journal however they decided to define it. Anyway they lost almost
30 seats there last time. Or another way to put it,
Democrats are winning seats with Whole Foods, and
Republicans are not holding the seats with Whole Foods. So getting further into our in-depth study of Whole Foods counties,
this chart shows you the difference over time. So back in 1992, the Clinton election, there was only about a 20% gap. Republicans always do better than the cracker-barrel counties but it was only about a 22% gap. Under Trump, it was a 55% gap. He won about 70% of the vote
in the cracker-barrel counties and lost badly with the
organic produce folks. And we see the split now
everywhere within states. So here’s your state. I cut off the top half. I promise it’s all red from up there. State senate results,
here’s a little zooming in. You could see the upstate
mostly, mostly red. They’ve got a nice little pull out there on the right on the top of Syracuse. But then almost all the
seats are in the city, and then they did better than
expected in the Hudson Valley and made inroads into Long
Island, they being the Democrats. And this is the case all over. I’m gonna show you some other maps from around the country from Tuesday. So this is Minnesota, and it’s
pulled out the Twin Cities. This is the governor’s race. No, this is the house race,
the state house races. So the right-hand corner
that’s sticking out there, that’s like Duluth, the Iron Range. That’s historically Democratic. It was mining, it was union. I guess those legislative
districts are still voting Democratic, but that’s
actually one of, I think, two seats the Republicans
won for the state house. And then of course the
Democrats dominating in the Twin Cities area that’s pulled out. This is the governor’s map for Iowa. It was a close race. So Iowa always interests me
because I don’t know why. Anyway, you can see these
two in Mills, Des Moines. It’s obviously the biggest city. And then Ames, which is Iowa State. It’s the big cities and the college towns that are voting Democratic. So like 10 years ago,
everything west of there, about half the Democrats
in the state senate came from west there. Now there isn’t a single Democrat left. All the vote is on this corridor here, Iowa City where the University of Iowa is. Here’s a little factoid I was
really interested in, in 2016. So the eastern edge is defined
by the Mississippi River. Obama won every one of
those counties in 2012, and then Trump won every one
of those counties in 2016 except the one where Davenport is, which he lost by about a thousand votes. So we’re seeing this all over the country. So I live in Missouri. This is the senate map. So you can see blue, of course, Democrat. Claire McCaskill, the
incumbent, she won St. Louis. Columbia, where the
University of Missouri is, and Kansas City and one of
the Kansas City suburbs. And then the other 115 counties went for Josh Hawley, the
Republican, our new senator. McCaskill actually, she
sort of sent a template when she first ran 12
years ago, I guess it was. She realized most of the Democratic vote was in the two big cities, but
if she could cut the margins in like St. Charles County,
which is a suburb of St. Louis and keep it close, she could win. So she actually came out 12
years ago and announced victory. She was running against
her Republican incumbent. She announced victory
even though she was behind in the polls because she knew there were, most of these states
don’t have many people. She knew he’d run out of
state to get the vote. This time she did the reverse strategy. She’d counted on the St.
Louis and Kansas City vote and went all over the
state to all these counties that had given Hillary
Clinton like 20% of the vote thinking maybe she could
get it to 25 or 30. So she failed. And this happened for Democrats all over. It’s really the story of the Georgia race. Atlanta of course and the Atlanta suburbs went for Stacey Abrams. But Brian Kemp, the Republican,
went into the similar, very red, rural counties and
he actually beat Trump’s margin in a lot of those places. So places that voted 90% for
Trump voted like 92% for him. Then here’s another visualization I guess. This is the Virginia
senate race not as a map, but you can see the size
of the county in the vote. So the bigger counties went Democratic, the smaller counties went Republican. And that’s true all over. And Wisconsin is a great example. I show you the Wisconsin capital, so here’s my obligatory
New Yorker cartoon. I don’t know how many of you read Russian. So this is from 2016 and it’s translated, it all comes down to Waukesha County. So Waukesha is one of
the Milwaukee suburbs. It’s very Republican. And if you’re a Russian,
that’s where you would invest your dollars. And it worked, right? I mean, Trump carried Wisconsin. So anyway… So Scott Walker, the Republican
governor of Wisconsin, was up this time. He lost. And the vote in Wisconsin
is Madison and Milwaukee versus everybody else. Again, the big city and the college town against the rest of the state. And that pretty much held this time. But Walker needed a big vote in Waukesha and the other Milwaukee suburban counties because the other counties
don’t have a lot of people. So there’s this amazing quote today from the Republican speaker, the state assembly there, who… So the Democrats won four out of the five statewide races barely,
but they didn’t gain a single seat in the legislature. And the Republicans in fact gained a seat in the state senate and they have a very strong gerrymander there. Plus they have the Democrats conveniently all living in just two places. So the Democrats of course are complaining we should have won but it’s
a terrible gerrymandered map. It’s unfair. So the Republican Assembly
Speaker was quoted in the Milwaukee paper today. He said, if you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula we would have had a clear majority. We would have had all five
constitutional officers, and we would have probably
had many more seats in the legislature. Sure, if a half million
people didn’t vote, we would have won. But this is kind of the attitude. They don’t count. The people in the
cities, they don’t count, they don’t vote for us. So this map is one that… Which is this map? I should have done my homework better. Anyway, this map is actually one showing the house race, the
popular vote for the house within each state. So the reason it’s interesting, Democrats carry the vote
in all these states. So this is actually the 2012 map. So this is the exact same
map, Democrats did well where Obama did well, including places that had switched from Obama to Trump. So the vote on Tuesday showed, like say we’re going in
two different directions, the red area is going very red, the blue area is going very blue, Democrats are making inroads into suburbs and some places reverting to
a pre-Trump voting pattern. And I wanted to talk a little bit more about the urban rural split and I’m gonna get back to federalism. I know everyone’s dying for that. So half of the country
lives in 143 counties, and there are about 3,100 counties. So there are 3,000 counties
with not that many people. And you could sort of
see, it’s the same places. Another way putting it, LA County alone has more population than 43 states. Not total, but it’s bigger
than 43 other states. Harris County, which is Houston, is more populous than 25 other states. Democrats are in these tiny, tiny spots. This is just a list of
the 25 largest cities. You can see in red only
four have Republican mayors. Democrats have really come
to dominate the big cities. But here’s the legislative
map after Tuesday. We have one split state, Minnesota. The Democrats took the house,
but the Senate was not up. So it stayed Republican. So this is the first time since 1914 that we have only one divided
legislature in the country. Even when I started, states were very competitive internally. Now they are red or blue. The Republicans have
every state legislature, or they control legislature
in every state that Trump won. And Democrats, as you could see, are pretty much in the Obama states. If they’re lucky at the legislative level, they don’t even have all those. They have every, every legislature. They say that Trump won in
every one in the Midwest except for Illinois now,
the Minnesota house. So you take this
combination of blue cities and red states and you get preemption, which is another aspect of federalism where the states tell cities
what they can and can’t do. So this is again not a new thing. This was from American
Political Science Review study five years ago looking at
relative clout of rural and urban areas going
back more than a century, and they found rural,
smaller population to bigger, the smaller population places
got bills that they wanted which were money for a park or whatever specific to their area. The bigger cities got less. So there’s always been
this out state resentment of the big city. People in the rest of
Missouri hate St. Louis. People in the rest of
Indiana hate Indianapolis. People in Kentucky hate
Louisville, et cetera, et cetera. And they’re usually not
willing to give them much. They always feel like they get everything, why should they get anything more? What has happened now is
like say with the big sort, the rural areas have become
completely Republican, the metro areas have become
overwhelmingly Democratic and so there’s even less… The partisan separation, the geographic separation are overlapping. So this just shows the number of states with different preemption
laws blocking cities from passing their own minimum wage laws. We had that where I lived. St. Louis passed a $10 minimum wage and the state said no you can’t do that, so people got what is
the reverse of a raise? A cut to 7.70. Paid sick leave, Uber, Airbnb, et cetera, it’s become very, very common. And this is probably the most famous, this was a couple years
ago, North Carolina when Charlotte passed an
anti-discrimination ordinance to protect LGBT people and the state legislature
said, no you can’t do that, cities cannot pass
their own discrimination or anti-discrimination ordinances. This fellow I was talking to, he’s a state senator in Arizona, they passed a law a
couple years ago that said if a city has a policy that,
legislator can challenge it. And I asked the attorney general, is this in accordance with state law? And if the attorney general says no, the city loses all its
funding from the state. And he said we were, they
passed like these bans on gun control and what
not, and he felt like the cities were not
cooperating so he decided to hit them in their pockets. So there’s obvious hypocrisy. Somebody like Greg Abbott
who we met a while ago, who was always suing Obama, since becoming governor,
where’s my friend from Austin, he keeps saying we can’t
have these Californication, I think he calls it, of
our, they blocked the cities with new fracking bans and et cetera, all these kind of policies. And it’s not always these partisan issues. I mean, states really, it varies by state how much power and authority a city has. In some states, cities have more autonomy. But in general, the states have no, there’s no question the
states can preempt cities. That’s within their legal rights. But it’s everything. It’s not just these say
minimum wage and gun control, these more partisan issues. It’s like, fire sprinkler
regulation, size of parking signs. The states are unapologetic
about doing that. And it’s usually it is partisan, but your state is famous for
the Cuomo de Blasio feud. De Blasio wants congestion pricing or to tax the rich for pre-K
and Cuomo says, no way, Jose. And now we have, this
is the mayor of Oakland. So earlier this year,
the federal government depends on sheriffs or police to carry out a lot of the raids, the ICE raids. They don’t have enough
marshals and whatnot to do all these raids, and
certainly not to arrest people for other crimes. And so she tipped off some
of the undocumented folks in her town, and then Trump asked Sessions to prosecutor her. So again, getting back to our mismatch of the urban density of vote. So Oakland has I think 450,000 people. Clinton won Oakland by a 140,000 votes, which is double the
difference of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania combined. So I’m sorry I’m throwing
so much information at you. Do you want to pause for
any questions right away? All right, well, think of some. So in addition to the political splits, we also have this economic split. So this chart just shows job creation in the different quintiles
of wealthy to poor zip codes. And you can see the wealthiest zip codes are getting all the jobs. The poor zip codes are
actually below where they were. And same idea, this is the number of businesses created since then. This is between 2012 to 2016,
so coming out of recession. All of the businesses and
jobs were being created in the major metro areas. So a lot of that is just
Austin, Boston, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco,
New York, Washington and then, to a lesser
extent, smaller cities like St. Louis have not
tremendous economic growth but certainly more than
the rural areas around it. In the last two years, there
have been something like 52,000 businesses created nationwide. So all of that growth and more is actually just in four places. LA, Brooklyn, Queens and Miami. They together have 56,000 new businesses. So the rich get Amazon
and the rest get nothing. Anyway, so this is just a picture
I took in Midtown Atlanta. This is an area now called Tech Square. It was, 10 years ago, a
totally derelict area. It’s across a highway from Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech put a building on that side and one thing led to
another and now they Google has a presence there, et cetera. They have all this building going on. That green building is the
new headquarters for NCR, which is sort of a classic case of what is happening with
where the jobs are going. NCR was in Dayton, Ohio and then it moved to Gwinnett County, which is suburban Atlanta
about 10 years ago, and now it’s moved right into downtown. And so many of the big
corporations have moved back to downtown. It’s not just for Millennials
and empty nesters, McDonald’s, Motorola, you could go on with a whole long list of corporations just in the past couple
of years that have moved into the big cities, again
having that accumulation of wealth and jobs in just a few places. This is a visual representation
again of the businesses. You can see most of the
country is actually losing, whereas just a few places are gaining. And so what happens is this. So I think it’s a real
problem for our country that we have this concentration
of economic wealth in just a few places. People are not where the jobs are, and they can’t move there
because they can’t afford to. So I don’t wanna downplay
race in our politics and racial attitudes. This was a guy at a rally
last Saturday that I met, but there are other factors. This guy, as you can see, he lives in a trailer park in Oregon. The timber mills, there’s
only one timber mill left in the Oregon coast. Almost all the timbering is done. So half of the jobs now are in, or job growth is in Portland and the three county area around Portland. The rest of the state, it’s all gone. And you see this story all
over the country where, oh, here’s my Oregon map where this was the vote for governor. The Democratic governor
won but with less than 50% because the rest of state has turned red like the rest of rural America. The cities are becoming richer,
more diverse, more liberal, and the rest of the places are voting against the cities basically. And race is an issue, but there is this economic
context for it as well. So this is the famous study
from a couple years ago from Princeton showing that white deaths were going up due to mainly opioids. Deaths of despair I think they called it. Opioids, alcohol abuse, suicide. It’s the first time where white deaths among whites were going up. But like I say, there is this sort of politics of resentment. Trump’s core supporters tend
to regard economic policy as a zero-sum game. Many believe that others
must lose for them to win. So obviously this was a
big part of Trump’s appeal. I will bring back the coal jobs, I will bring back the steel jobs. There’s so many places
where people still talk, when I graduated from high school, I graduated on Friday. And on Monday, I went to work at the mill and made more than my teachers. And that doesn’t happen now. So you have all these
disparities in education and job opportunity and so on and so forth that’s part of what’s
driving our politics. And certainly, Trump is tapping into that. And he spoke to that
and that was, I think, a huge part of why he won. The places that flipped
were mainly in the Midwest. Obviously Michigan and
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but even counties. So I mentioned the Iowa counties
on the Mississippi River. Iowa had the most counties that flipped. It was like 31, there
were like 206 counties that voted for Obama,
and then Trump was like that made no sense to me. How can you vote for Obama and then Trump? Total opposites in so many ways. And it occurred to me
that these were people kind of the loser, to use
his term, Trump’s term, loser parts of the country. Do you remember him saying
I love the poorly educated? I don’t mean to be derogatory. But anyway, with Obama, they
voted for hope and change. You remember that slogan of course. And then with Trump, they
voted for fear and change. There’s a book, since we’re
at a public policy school we might as well talk about this, was a good book, came out in 2016 kind of anticipated what
happened with all this, called The Politics of Resentment. It was a book about Wisconsin. I mentioned earlier Madison,
Milwaukee versus the rest. She just went to coffee
shops and gas stations and talked to people who
all felt that Milwaukee not only didn’t share their values but drained all the
resources of the state. Of course the opposite is
true in terms of dollars. LA, like I said, there are
all these different programs where cities and states
send money to Washington and the money comes back but
doesn’t come back evenly. I mean, what would be the point, right? I mean, just skim a little
off the top but otherwise, what’d be the point? So LA, for every dollar
it sends to Washington, gets $0.71 back. And if you look, it’s always
the poor, rural red areas that get more money from Washington but feel that the big
cities get all the breaks because, like I say, they
have all the economic perks. It’s hard to argue. So I don’t know if you’ve all seen, there’s been all this
polling from QN Gallup just in the last two years. Suddenly there’s this
partisan split over higher ed, which was a total motherhood
and apple pie issue. Everyone’s for it, everybody
knew it was the ticket to middle class and it
helped the local economy, et cetera, et cetera, but suddenly there’s this partisan split. So of course when they ask these questions do you approve of higher ed
or do you think higher ed is a force for good in
the country, whatever, there are Democrats who say no. But usually it’s because
tuition is too high, it costs too much, et cetera. Loans are out of whack, whatever. But Republicans now
increasingly say it’s a… They’re just training radical liberals for the future, because
that’s all you hear on conservative media about higher ed, is all of these shouting down of Milo and Charles Murray and Ann Coulter, and higher ed is against these people. But of course there’s also,
you remember my slides about the voting differences
and the economic differences. There’s this resentment. So Trump’s tax cut bill, the
version that passed the house would have been really bad for higher ed because it was gonna
not only tax endowments but it was gonna tax graduate
student tuition waivers and the like as income. So they managed to get, the bill that passed was
not as hard for higher ed but it did tax the
endowments of the bigger, the Yale’s and the Harvard’s, the blue state liberal incubator schools. And he’s doing this in other ways. Most famously you see state
and local tax deduction, which of course
disproportionately hurts people in the high tax, high
cost states, California and New York, New Jersey, et cetera. This is a list of the 23 Republicans in districts who voted for
Clinton, house Republicans. So the numbers are still
coming in, in California in particular, but one or two one, including your own Mr. Catco, right? But all the rest lost,
or the people succeeding who ran in their place
after they retired lost. And in New Jersey, it went from six six in the house delegation to 11 one. So that was a payback for that. And of course here, just a disparity of the higher (mumbles) the education level has
become a key predictor of how people are voting. It’s not such a big disparity, but it used to be more
favorable to Republicans, becoming more favorable to Democrats. You could see the more education you get, the more you’re likely to vote Democratic. People with advanced degrees,
65% Democratic on Tuesday per the exit polls. So states, they represent their people. And here’s where we get
our multi-state lawsuits. It’s unfair to our states
for you to tell us, determine our tax policy
or the practical effects of our tax policies. People can’t deduct it. But this is law school,
of course we get into the whole enumerated powers
and non-commandeering doctrine. We’ll skip all that. So there’s just this flurry of lawsuits on different questions, citizenship. This is this emoluments case. There’s an emoluments
clause of Constitution. As president, you’re not
supposed take any foreign gifts and Trump owns the International
Hotel in Washington and all the foreign embassies are having their parties there. So the lawsuit’s actually
brought by DC and Maryland. This is from last week,
it’s still moving forward. They keep trying to stop it. It’s never been tried,
we’ve never had a president with this, his business is still running in quite the same way. The International Hotel in Washington was the old post office building and he got contracted and renovated it. I don’t know if you remember, that was actually where he
had his press conference where he announced that
Obama was actually a citizen. He had it there, but he did first an hour extolling his own hotel. Anyway, DC and Maryland are
saying that their hotels are suffering as a result
because foreign corporations and governments are purposely
going to the Trump hotel to curry favor, and it’s
hurting the business of the locally owned hotels. So put up the same meaningless chart about how money flows
down just as a reminder. This is kind of what’s at stake. This is what a lot of
the battles are about. I mean, to some extent
states can do what they want. They have more autonomy
from the federal government than cities do within states,
but the federal government sends a lot of money to states. So this is what the war,
a lot of the war is about. So like on immigration, of
course the battle is about war. But it’s about that issue, but it’s also about money. So basically, it’s always
carrots and sticks. Like I said, if you don’t
take the Medicaid expansion, you don’t get the Medicaid money. Now Trump is saying if you don’t cooperate with our immigration policies, we’re gonna take away federal funding. So there does seem to
be some room for them to take away money from
law enforcement grants, but they’re trying to do wider penalties. And of course, the
administration is suing back. It’s not just states suing
the federal government, it’s the federal government suing them. Jeff Sessions before he became
the ex attorney general. On his way out, I don’t know
you if saw on the news today, he signed a new policy making it harder for the federal government
to do consent decrees to get local police and sheriffs to change their policies. I had a professor in college once who, he talked about the Volvo syndrome. He said he had little kids, he wanted to save a car,
he’s gonna buy a Volvo. And he said I never saw a Volvo. And then I was shopping for a Volvo and I saw them everywhere. It’s the Volvo syndrome. So I’m trying to give you the
federalism syndrome, I guess. So federalism is still, in
some place, in some ways, working the way we think of. There’s the famous quote
from Louis Brandeis, the Supreme Court Justice
in the New Deal era who talked about states as
laboratories of democracy as one of the great cliches in our field. One state tries a law or
policy, it works well. Other states try it. If it goes well, it keeps spreading. And eventually, Washington
does a federal version. And this was right to try,
which is the idea that terminally ill patients
should be able to try drugs that haven’t been approved by the FDA because why not take the chance? Maybe it could help. So 41 states passed it, and then in May, there was a federal law. That’s kind of the traditional
way we think of it, that actions percolate up from
states to the federal level. Then there’s sort of this other aspect where this happens both
in states and in congress, where cities start doing policies and a company says we can’t
have a ban on plastic bags because that’ll be too
complicated if we have to do it in one city and not another. So they do a
lowest-common-denominator bill. And that happens at the
federal level as well. States don’t like what, or
sorry, companies don’t like what states are doing. They ask congress to come
in and intrude and say, we’ll agree to some
regulation but let’s have something more reasonable. So this map is the
trifectas, which is the term for the states that are run both by, where the governor and
the legislature are held by the same same party. So the point of this map
is just we still have many red states, we have
a few more blue states, and they’re gonna be doing their separate. There’s not gonna be
any action in congress except investigations and subpoenas. There’s not gonna be much policy, but conservatives will look to red states to try their ideas, and Democrats or
progressives the other way. So skip, skip, skip. So this is a picture of Manhattan, and then this is a picture
of Affton, Missouri. I don’t know whether I’d
rather go to the meat shoot or the mouse races. This is another book
I was gonna recommend, Uncivil Agreements,
Lilliana Mason at Maryland, who talks about politics
has become our identity because it weaves in so many other things. We’re split by race,
we’re split by gender, we’re split by education,
we’re split by geography and we’re split by religious attendance, and all these things combine
and that’s why our politics are so tribal now because
we find the other side such a terrible threat. So all these things, like I say, I tried to say in the beginning, I’ve thrown a lot at you I know but they’re kind of converging,
that there’s this distrust, there’s polarization, policy, people trying to pursue
policies are trying them in different venues, they’re fighting the other levels of government. We have all this hostility. And just to leave you an uplifting quote, this was last night. Who would have thought they’d flood Times Square protesting the
firing of Jeff Sessions? (audience laughing) Anyway, in the Chris lawsuits. The other side cannot be trusted. Politics does not stop
on election day now. And so you see these magazine pieces, are we headed for another civil war? I don’t think so. But I think this was
an interesting thought. We are at a moment, it’s very sectarian, we have different policies
in different parts of the country that are
totally unacceptable to the other parts. It’s not slavery now, it’s
a different mix of issues. But we’re having this cold
war between the states. What comes next? How does this all end? Does it get better, does
it keep getting worse? So on the down note, why don’t
I stop there for questions? – Thank you very much.
(applause) Okay, never knew there
was a phone there now. Questions, raise your
hand, we’ll call on folks two at a time, we’ll
bring microphones to you. – Thank you for not being shy.
– There’s one here. Who else wants to get
the second microphone? There we go, that gentleman in the back. All right, we’ll bring a
microphone to the two of you. You go ahead, sir. – [Man] Hi, that was
kind of a fire hose of– – It was, I’m sorry, I apologize. (distant indistinct muttering)
(indistinct chattering) – He turned it on. I think he turned it on. Yeah, go ahead, go ahead, Nathan and we’ll just, nope, yeah. (overlapping dialogue) We got you now? There we go, okay, go ahead. – Okay, my question is on the state level, which is there are things like I think corporations are defined
on the state level, the regulations that
determine what corporations can and can’t do. And is that an aspect that can be, is that something that
can be used by the state to have an impact on
national, on economic policy and other things that
states are the arbiters of that they create the laws that govern this particular aspect,
like perhaps insurance where they are able to use
those as tools of federalism for states’ power versus
we always are thinking, I mean, we’re always thinking
the federal government is the one who determines these. What are the things that the states have sort of the levers of power on? – So a lot of corporations are regulated at the federal level actually. You mentioned insurance, that’s one of the few that are pretty much wholly regulated at the state level for whatever historical
reasons, I’m not an expert. But states are always
trying to do things to, like I said, the attorneys
general were suing to try to, what they wanted was not just money but they wanted different industries to agree to drop certain practices. And you see things like
California a month or two ago passed a law with a quota
for the number of women who have to sit on corporate boards. So if you’re a state
as large as California, the idea is you demonstrate
that that ends up being a positive. Obviously that’s their intention, who knows what will happen? And like I said, often an idea like that will spread from state to state. Now typically, ideas spread
blue state to blue state to blue state, or red state
to red state to red state. And then at some point,
maybe the federal government comes in and passes a
uniform law that applies evenly across the country. But states, yes, states are
always trying to find ways. Obviously, Democrats tend
to favor more regulation and it’s been a big push
among Republican governors in recent years
particularly to deregulate. Charlie Baker, I showed his picture. Chris Sununu, who won in New Hampshire, these have been big initiatives. Part of the idea of federalism
is so that we could have different models and
see what works better. So if a state cuts regulation
and business improves, then other states are
gonna compete, right? And in Kansas, they had a
big tax cut four years ago or five years ago, and the
governor, Sam Brownback consciously called it an experiment. They were gonna cut tax dramatically. It turns out at state level,
you can only cut taxes so much because you have to
pay for schools and so forth. So there’s more of a limit. They can’t print money, they
can’t run deficits, et cetera. But anyway, that was the idea and it had some traction. Governors in Oklahoma and Louisiana started looking at maybe we should abolish the state income tax. And there’s this constant
debate between red and blue states about what works better. Texas is always saying we
have the big job growth because we have low
taxes and low regulation. California says hey we’ve
got the fifth biggest economy in the world, and it’s because
we invest in our roads, we invest in our people, we invest in our schools and so forth. So we do have these competing models. But yes, states are always
looking for policy ideas that then get imitated by other states and either squelched or modified
by the federal government. – I know a lot of what you’ve done is just kind of report the data, but in your opinion is
what we’re divided on economic in nature? Or is it really social, cultural or kind of a propagandized
view of economic issues? And I asked this because I
saw that when I last looked in the midterms, we all
celebrated how many people got out to vote. It was only 49% of the population. So I’m torn whether civic engagement, if we had a higher voting
level, would improve things, or it’s really discourse
between each other to learn what we’re concerned. – So a couple of questions there really. So the midterm, of
course it was not as much as a presidential year was in some place, but traditionally midterms are much lower than the presidential year. Four years ago, the turnout was the lowest it had been since World War II. So this year, we saw much more engagement and it was from both sides. Democrats were energized
to vote against Trump and the party that he belongs to, but Republicans came out in support. And Democrats made gains,
but not huge gains. They obviously took the
house, but they didn’t take the Senate. In my world, Democrats
won seven governorships, but mainly those that
have been Obama states. At the legislative level, Democrats, when there were 6,600 seats up for grabs in legislatures, and Democrats
made a net gain of 350, which is not huge, the average
for the president’s party to lose is 425. So they were below the average. Not only not a blue wave
but it’s below the average. And most of the Chamber’s, they
took more kind of shortcuts like New York Senate, where
they only do one seat. They got more than that. Colorado senate, Maine’s senate, these are all ones. Connecticut senate, they only
need one seat to win majority so that’s where they won. So pretty much the red got
redder the, blue got bluer, and some suburbs switched
allegiance from Republicans to, and especially highly
educated women in the suburbs, switched from Republicans and Democrats, but for your question, I mean it’s not an either/or question. Like I said with that
book, how politics became our identity, it’s all
these things combined. Race, gender, education,
religion, et cetera. And it’s overlapped with
the economic disparities because the red areas are not
doing as well economically, and the blue areas are doing great. The blue areas, Denver,
San Francisco, Washington, et cetera, they are tied
to the global economy, they’re growing, they’re doing well. The red areas have been left behind. And so you have this
mentality, like I said, when you could graduate from high school and work at the plant, work on a farm, work at the mill, that’s
pretty much all gone. So you feel not only have
your own choices been lowered, but your whole way of life is at stake. And that’s somewhat legitimate. But it’s always human
nature to blame others. The cities are taking
all of our tax money, the immigrants are taking our
jobs, et cetera, et cetera. So there’s a ripe environment for racial or even racist appeals. So it’s not an either/or in my mind. I think it’s a complicated situation. But anyway, it’s all of the above. (indistinct chattering) – [Grant] Jeff, Jeff? Go ahead. – I’m wondering if you
could talk about the use of ballot measures over time. I’m just thinking about Medicaid expansion and how we’ve seen some instances of state legislatures pushing back or governors rejecting Medicaid expansion despite the public actually wanting it and having to resort to
the public referenda. And I’m just wondering how
that’s changed over time. – Well, nothing made
Obamacare more popular than the effort to repeal it. The polls always showed more
people disapproved of it than approved of it until last year when Republicans in congress tried to, they called it a repeal but it
was gonna repeal parts of it and it was more repeal Medicaid. But anyway, let’s not get too complicated. And of course that failed, and that was one of the big
votes that cost Republicans. And it was interesting, I showed Josh Hawley
won in the senate race where I live in Missouri, he’s
the state attorney general and he was part of a
lawsuit to try to kill the Affordable Care Act,
which is going on now. And on the campaign, he said I will preserve pre-existing conditions. And the same in Wisconsin,
Scott Walker never allowed Medicaid expansion there. He said I will preserve
pre-existing conditions. They saw that this was a popular issue, even though they had opposed
the practical implication of the policy that was on the table. So every state is gonna
take the Medicaid money. Economically, it didn’t make sense not to. You could see where there
was a policy disagreement about the individual mandate, but really the federal government
is sending so much money. A lot of red states have
slowly, slowly adopted it. And then we had this week
Idaho and Utah and Nebraska, all red states voting
for Medicaid expansion. Last year, voters in Maine
voted for Medicaid expansion. The Republican governor blocked it. It’s never taken effect. He was finally ordered by
court to apply for approval, and he wrote a letter saying, please don’t approve our application. So anyway he was term limited out and there’s now a Democratic
governor, Janet Mills, who is obviously gonna push this through. And for your larger question, ballot measures used to be, there are a lot of
conservative ballot measures and there still are
some, but Proposition 13, which is now 40 years old,
was a tax limitation measure in California, cut
property taxes quite a bit. That spread all over, not all over but in many states, that idea. But it’s become a tool of progressives because they’re shut out of states. So they cannot get their
initiatives through. So the legislature refuses
to raise the minimum wage. You put on the ballot, it passes. And voting itself has become
such a partisan issue. Democrats are all for
expansive voting rights. The Amendment 4 in Florida
restoring voting rights for former felons just passed this week. Other states did automatic
voter registration, same-day registration,
et cetera, et cetera. Those were all things they couldn’t get through the state legislature. So this is part of the federal system, is that there’s some venue you can try. You get shut out at congressional level, you try the states. You get shut out of states, you could try the ballot measure. So it is a tool for progressives, and conservatives know it and they have, in the last couple of cycles, put more money up against those. – My question’s actually about the state attorneys general. You sort of made this distinction between the red or rural counties
and the bluer cities. I’m wondering how many of the Republican state attorneys general are
actually from bluer cities, and if there are any of
these democratic state attorneys general who are
from these rural areas. – Yeah, I can’t answer that question. I’m sure there’s some both ways. I mean, Josh Hawley, he
became attorney general in Missouri two years ago,
and he turned right around and ran for senate,
which it’s his (mumbles). But anyway, he’s a guy
who, he went to Stanford, he went to Yale Law School
and he positioned himself as I’m just a truck driving man and all that kind of stuff. If you’re not really from the log cabin, you say you’re from the log cabin, right? But that’s an interesting
question, maybe I’ll look into it. But one of the problems Democrats
have in statewide offices is their legislators and
mayors are all from cities. And so they’re very
typically very liberal. And then that doesn’t play well statewide. And there aren’t so
many members of congress who are more moderate who
can then run statewide. And this is part of the preemption. When they say you can’t do minimum wage or paid sick leave, it’s
partly to kill the policy but partly also to deny
mayors of policy achievements that may help them politically. – Before we get to more questions, Alan, I wanna throw one in, which
is about what happened at the state and local
level with female candidates for office and the proportion of female representation in
the state legislatures. Because a lot has been made
of that in this election cycle at the national level, at
the congressional level. What was going on there? – Yeah, I wish I knew the number now. Going into the election, in congress, I know you asked about states, the Republicans in congress in the house are something like 84% white males, and that proportion is gonna go up. And Democrats are about 45% white males, and that proportion is gonna go down. So again, we have all these differences, race, gender, blah, blah, blah. And so at the state level,
as we saw with record numbers of women running for congress, we all saw record numbers women running for governor and legislature,
so there were 16 women who won major party
nominations for governor, which was by far the record. The previous record was 10, and the first black woman
ever nominated, Stacey Abrams. The first transgender woman,
first Native American woman. Michelle Lujan Grisham who
won, a democrat in New Mexico, she’s the first democratic
governor who’s a woman of color. New Mexico, by having a democratic woman succeed a republican woman governor, it’s the first state ever
to have a woman governor elected to succeed a woman governor. Kind of amazing. And at the legislative
level, tremendous growth. So women, it used to be very few women served in state legislatures back in the Betty
Friedan days or whatever. So in like 1970, it was
about 7% of the legislators in the country were women. And then over time, with the year of the women-type increase, women run for office in the early ’90s, about 20 years ago, they got to about 24% or 21, 22, 24%, and it stayed there ever since, totally flat,
just under a quarter. And then there was a
huge influx this week. So it’s now like 37% of
state legislators are women. And almost all that growth
is on the Democratic side. And of course there are other firsts for different minority groups as well. – [Grant] So maybe take
two last questions. This woman has her hand up right away. Yes?
(overlapping dialogue) Right here at the bottom. – Just finish that while
she’s given the mic. I forgot, for women in total for governor, we had nine, just a second
miss, if you don’t mind. – I know that liberals–
– Okay, nevermind, go ahead. – I know that liberals
tend to be more interested in environmental things. But with all the problems we’ve had with the wildfires and flooding, is it possible to discern whether these environmental effects, a lot of them caused by climate change, has
had effects on the voting? – Well, it’s in the mix, right? I mean, climate is the
biggest issue we face, right? And yet it never is a
major campaign issue. And you rarely hear anyone talking about climate as an issue. They’re talking about
schools, talk about taxes, things like that. And there’s no sense that voters are gonna adamantly only support
climate because basically, the parties are so split on it. If you believe climate is a threat that we’ve to do something about, you’re gonna vote Democratic. And if you say well,
climate change is happening but the climate is always changing, you’re gonna vote Republican. And Al Gore of course ended
up winning Nobel Prize for advocacy on climate change and he never talked about it really when he ran for president
all these years ago now. And there was one journalist
who asked his consultants, why didn’t you ever talk about it? And he said, well,
nobody cares about that. It doesn’t pull and it doesn’t matter. And they said, yeah, but he could speak about it with passion. That might show he’s
interested in something. And they said, oh that
never occurred to us. (audience laughing) But yeah, climate is
still not a voting issue, and people’s memories are short. I did a story last year
about Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is an oil town. Some oil companies are
headquartered there. And they take climate really seriously in terms of its effects. You never would hear the word climate. You hear extreme weather because
they get tornadoes through. But Tulsa like 30 years goes
was the most flooded city in the country, and there’s one natural disaster after another. And then finally there was one,
oh, and this is interesting. So people were complaining, they called it the great
drainage wars there locally and they wanted something done about it. But the builders didn’t. It would cost some money
to do things to adapt. So they put in money behind
a candidate named Jim Inhofe who became mayor and then later became the most famous climate
denier in the Senate. So after he left, it was
19 days after he left, they had the worst storm they’d ever had with like 14 people killed
and 7,000 homes destroyed. And the new mayor was a
weatherman, a TV weatherman, and he took it seriously. And he got all these people agitating, he got them to come up with a plan. And so the city has
paid to move people out, buy them new homes. A thousand homes have been moved, they no longer allow
building on the flood plains. If you go to Tulsa, there are all these what look like sunken tennis courts, but they’re really drainage ponds so the water has somewhere to go. And since then, they
haven’t had any problems. And because now, that’s 30
years ago, people forget. And so they’re saying, we
have this nice river front. Why don’t we build on it?
(audience laughing) And in Houston, the city council
is already giving waivers for building in low-lying areas so soon after Hurricane Harvey. They’re like yeah, go ahead and build. There’s money in it. – [Grant] The last
question here, go ahead. – So I’m just kind of generally wondering about like the nature of
state, like attorneys general suing the federal government. How is that possible, I suppose? And what sort of court
does that go before? – Well, I think it goes
to a federal court. – Well, I mean sure, but is it like… I’m just sort of confused
as to how this is happening. Is it that the federal government has violated some sort of… – I mean, it depends on the issue, right? But with the Muslim ban,
the states basically argue that’s patently unconstitutional, violation of church and
state, et cetera, et cetera. So what happens is, again
I said if you want policy, you go where you think
you can get an effect, whether its ballot
measures, state government, federal government, local government. The attorneys general do the same thing. They’ll file suits in
four different courts where they think it’s a
favorable circuit or whatever. And they go shopping for a judge and then Trump complains,
one judge shouldn’t be able to overturn it. And that’s the way your system works. But they consciously are
looking for favorable judges. And like I said, it depends on the issue. Does it violate the US Constitution? So the Constitution says
there are enumerated powers and unenumerated powers. So enumerated powers
means the Constitution says congress can do X, Y or Z. Well, the Constitution didn’t
say you could do T, U or V. So for a long time, the supreme court blocked congress from doing things, saying you don’t have
the authority to do it. And through much of the 20th century, it became almost reverse
where the supreme courts basically kept finding
that if the Constitution doesn’t say you can’t
do it, then it’s okay. So like with the Affordable
Care Act lawsuit, the one a few years ago,
they were saying that the federal government violated that, it was coercive to say we’re
taking this money away from you unless you do this. And the supreme court agreed. And then for the broader
question about whether the whole law was unconstitutional, what Roberts came up with
was the individual mandate was okay because it was a tax. They didn’t call it tax
but was in fact tax. And clearly, congress has
the authority to levy taxes. So like I say, it depends on the issue. But state attorneys
general look for some way to find that it violates them. So you have states now
suing over climate change because they say federal climate policies are hurting them because
their sea level rising, their coasts are gonna be damaged, their water fronts, et cetera. So they find some avenue
where they’ve been harmed or there’s some constitutional principle that’s been violated. – [Grant] So, Alan, I
just wanna thank you again for giving us a lot to think about, and I wanna invite everybody to come to the reception outside
where we can continue talking about these issues. (applause)
So thank you.

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