'What neglected issues should US presidential candidates address more' meme

Ashok has started an interesting meme - what neglected issues should US presidential candidates address? The one I would go for is an area that affects most other policies - federalism.

I think that the US systems is based on the federal government not having many competencies. Whether this is right or wrong, it is how the system was originally designed and a lot of the constitutional infrastructure still supports that position. There is too much going on at the federal level. I believe it's damaging both the Democrats' chances and the US polity as a whole.

To start with, the polity as a whole. The excess power of the federal government and its invocation as a panacea has led to quite spectacular amounts of pork barrel spending. The amount involved and the damage it causes is detailed at the CAGW. I would note that it is unfortunate that it is mostly 'rightwingers' rather than 'leftwingers' who oppose pork, which is very unfortunate. Given that the Democrats generally want to spend more than the Republicans, they should be even more interested in making government spending both efficient and effective.

As an example of another effect it has in a particular policy area, I want to look at abortion. I think Roe v Wade should be overturned for three reasons. Firstly, judges should not make policy. A constitution, IMHO, should set the framework in which decisions are to be made or, if you like, the rules of the game, but not what decisions are made as it reduces the effectiveness of democracy and the likelihood of people engaging with democracy (and not just in the ballot box) I recognise that any rules will have an impact, but the manner and extent of judicial decisionmaking in the US is grossly excessive. Secondly, it reduces debate about the issue to legal niceties and not the substance of the issue; if the option is accepted of dodging the argument is allowed for this, it can spread to other areas. Thirdly, and here I'm being partisan, it would benefit the Democrats and have no effect on the availability of abortions. I am given to understand that, in many states, abortion is effectively unavailable because of cost, social pressure and distance. I contend that this is not the case in the states that would permit abortion. It would, as it is a dogwhistle issue, diminish the religious right's support for the GOP. It would have a similar, but less pronounced, effect on the Democrats. All the while, it would be possible to debate the issue rather than abstruse legal principles.

This principle runs across a whole range of areas; there is not going to be wholesale change of the US Constitution, but there is a real possibility of power being devolved downwards and dogwhistle issues being less shrill.

I'm tagging Ewan Watt, Matt Sinclair and Iain Dale.


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