Democracy Works summer break 2019 continues with an episode from Politics and Polls, a podcast produced by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. The show’s hosts are Sam Wang and Julian Zelizer. If you enjoyed our conversation with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro about states suing the federal government, you’ll want to check out this episode that dives deeper into the concept of federalism.
In recent history, federalism has been favored by the Republican party, while Democrats have aimed to nationalize certain policies. But given Republicans’ current control of the federal government, progressive Democrats may need to aim to achieve their policy goals at the state level.
Daniel Hemel joins this episode to discuss what he calls “blue state federalism” and how states themselves can be “laboratories of democracy.” Hemel, a law scholar, explains how states can set precedents for the federal government with regard to social issues. For example, Massachusetts did this by legalizing gay marriage and through adopting Romney-care, a precedent to the Affordable Care Act.
Hemel is assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. His research focuses on taxation, nonprofit organizations, administrative law and federal courts.