Federalism and the Battle for Partisan Power

We think we know how federalism works. Republicans believe in states’ rights, and Democrats want a strong federal government, right? Not so fast. New research reveals a whole different tug of war playing out on Capitol Hill. Our legislators don’t always do what they say, but they do have a strategy to design and implement our laws. It turns out that federalism is ground zero in their battle for partisan power—and now we finally know how the game is being played.

In this episode, we go behind-the-scenes with the researcher who uncovered these terms of engagement, Pamela Clouser McCann.

Prof. McCann is an assistant professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Her new book, The Federal Design Dilemma: Congress and Intergovernmental Delegation, was published by Cambridge University Press in September.

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Related Reading

“Intergovernmental Policy Diffusion: National Influence on State Policy Adoptions” by Pamela Clouser McCann, Charles R. Shipan, & Craig Volden
“Top-Down Federalism: State Policy Responses to National Government Discussions” by Pamela Clouser McCann, Charles R. Shipan, & Craig Volden
“Congress and Judicial Review of Agency Actions” by Pamela Clouser McCann, Charles R. Shipan, & Yuhua Wang
“Innovation Choices and Diffusion Patterns” by Pamela Clouser McCann