Bill Maher is right about at least one thing that people on the Right including Conservatives, but people who are much further right than that and people who I call Neo-Confederates who believe that the wrong side won the American Civil War, who are Southern Nationalists, back in the day argued for what they call states rights. Which essentially means that the Southeast or Bible Belt knows what’s best for them and dem damn Yankees in Washington need to but the hell out and mind their own damn business.
Back in the day the Democratic Party controlled most of the power in the country. The thing was those the Democratic Party wasn’t really a progressive or conservative party.
They had a Far-Left people who would be called Socialists today the Henry Wallace wing of the party.
They had a progressive Center-Left with that Robert Kennedy represented.
They had a Center-Right that people like Lloyd Bentsen represented, who served in the Congress for a long time and was Mike Dukakis’s vice presidential nominee in 1988.
But the Democratic Party also had a Far-Right. Neo-Confederarate Southern Nationalists, who again believe the wrong side won the American Civil War and that if European-Americans especially Anglo-Protestants can’t treat African-Americans like slaves, they should at least be able to treat them like second-class citizens under law and not have to give them full-citizenship. Which is why we had a civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.
I’m a what I at least call a liberal-federalist and as a true Liberal I’m not comfortable with large centralized authorities and establishments. One of the basic liberal values is decentralization of authority and spreading the power out and not comfortable with top-down management styles including from government. And that the basic role of the Federal Government is to protect the country from foreign invaders, as well as terrorists and criminals who operate in multiple states. As well as enforcing the U.S. Constitution.
That the states should be able to manage their own affairs as long as they are within the Constitution. Which means not having different laws, access and justice for different Americans. Which is why we have Federal civil rights laws. And most importantly that the power be with the people themselves so they can manage their own affairs as long as they aren’t hurting innocent people.
So if California wants strict environmental laws even if those laws give them high energy prices, those laws are their business. If Texas wants private school choice and use taxpayer dollars to subsidize secular private schools, thats their business. Just as long as California, Texas, and every other state in the union are within the Constitution. That they don’t pass laws that benefit one race, ethnicity, gender, or religion, over another. Or try to create their own military, currency, foreign policy, etc, anything else that would succeed their authority that should be handled by the Federal Government.
What Bill Maher was getting at with his impression of a Dixiecrat from back in the day, (Dixiecrat-right wing Southern Democrat) was sort of what I was talking about earlier that the Federal Government dem damn Yankees (as right wing Southerners would call people up North) should stay the hell out of the business of the Bible Belt states and let those states run their own affairs as they see fit. Even if that means having separate and unequal laws and access for European and African-Americans.
Now go up fifty years with the Republican Party which is now has a large faction for former Dixiecrats now Dixie Republicans and now has most of the governmental power in the country with the White House, complete control of Congress, 34 governorships and as solid majority of state legislatures. The Tea Party Nationalist wing of the Republican Party is no longer talking so much about federalism and states rights.
The Far-Right of the Republican Party with all of this power with controlling both the House, Senate, Justice Department, Supreme Court, now believe they can force every state and locality in the nation to govern like them. And force their political and cultural values on the rest of the country. States rights and federalism now to the Dixie wing of the Republican Party, means you can govern yourselves anyway you want, just as long as they approve of what you’re doing.
If California wants strict environmental laws, the Trump Administration will challenge those laws in court and saying California doesn’t have the authority to do this and environmental laws are for the Federal Government to decide. If Colorado wants legalize marijuana which they passed a few years ago, the Trump Administration will challenge that law in court and argue that marijuana is a Federal issue and not for the states to decide.
Sort of like someone arguing on the Right who is a Religious-Conservtaive who says they believe in individual freedom. But what they really believe in is that people should have the freedom to live the way that Religious Conservatives approve of. But not necessarily have the freedom to make their own decisions. Or someone on the Far-Left who claims to be Pro-Choice. But what they really believe in is that people should have the right to make choices that the Far-Left approves of.
Federalism or states rights, is exactly that. What good is freedom if you can’t make your own decisions? Just because the Federal Government doesn’t believe in environmental laws, private school choice, marijuana legalization, and I could go down the line and if I didn’t have a life maybe I would, but you get the idea, but just because the Feds might not believe in these things why should they be able to force their values on every other state in the nation.
The whole point of a Federal Republic is that when you have large diverse country which is what America certainly is what might work in one part of the country, might not be approved of or work in another part of the country. Which is why you have a Federal Government there to handle the national issues and leave the states and localities to deal with their state and local issues. Again, as long as all three levels of government are within their authority under the U.S. Constitution. Instead of Big Uncle Sammy getting to decide what everyone should think, how everyone should live, how everyone should govern, as if they’re some big over-paternalistic Communist or something.