"Perhaps the most famous metaphor defending the virtues of US federalism is that states can act as laboratories of democracy: that is, states can enact a range of policies, and can then learn from the experiences of other states. The phrase was coined by Justice Louis Brandeis in the 1932 Supreme Court case of...
U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis: "It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."
"Nick Gillespie (Reason.com) discusses federalism. Liberty Pen
I guess one of the advantages of living in a country of three-hundred and fifteen-million people that has fifty states, is that it gives you this great opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. And what works and where it works and what doesn’t and where it doesn’t work. That is the beauty of a Federal Republic.
We’re still one country as Progressives and Social Democrats like to say, which is true of course. But within that country you have all of these states, counties and cities, that are not just there, unlike let's says the United Kingdom, which has a unitarian national government, but they have real say over their own affairs within their own jurisdiction.
Federalism, doesn’t mean that states have all the power and that the Feds are just responsible for national security, foreign affairs, trade, and the currency. And it also doesn’t mean that the Feds have most if not all the power.
If we had one superstate with most of the power in the national government, we wouldn’t have a Federal system and wouldn’t be a Federal Republic. We would be a unitarian state and perhaps not even a republic.
Federalism, simply defines the roles of the Feds, states and localities in what each level of government is responsible for doing. The Feds, are primarily responsible for national security, foreign affairs, but are also responsible for homeland security, interstate crime, and commerce.
The states and localities, are primarily responsible for what happens in their own jurisdiction. Infrastructure, education, law enforcement, regulating and developing their economies, like encouraging investment prosecuting predatory behavior (To use as examples) But the Feds have a role here in how these issues relate to the country as well. Not to run them for the states and localities and take over them, but to offer input and resources. And regulate interstate commerce and trade and prosecute interstate crimes.
And under a federalist system like this, you get to see what works and what doesn’t and where. As it relates to education, social insurance for people in need, economic development, energy, criminal justice and a lot of other areas.
Federalism and the Federal Republic, is essentially locked in stone in America. I’ve argued in the past that what today’s so-called Progressives (Social Democrats, really) for them to accomplish what they want to do politically in America, they would need several constitutional amendments, if not rewrite it, or eliminate it. Because they would like to see a lot more power in America transferred from the private sector and states, to the Federal Government. As it relates to education, current social insurance programs and would like to create a superstate in America in the form of a welfare state that would be completely managed by Washington. But even people in their ranks like Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, aren’t looking to break up our federalist system.
Myself, I’m a Liberal Federalist, which means that I might not agree with everything that a state is doing, but as long as what they’re doing is within the U.S. Constitution, they are within their rights when it comes to their own laws and policies.
So for example, if Georgia wants private school vouchers and passes that law, I’m not a fan of private school vouchers, but they are within their rights to do that. But if they passed a law that says certain people can’t go to certain public schools, because of their race, ethnicity, or religion, they would obviously be violating the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and perhaps the Georgia State Constitution as well.
We have a U.S. Constitution, that is like the official rule book for American government at all levels. And as long as government is following the rules of the rulebook, they are within their rights. And if the people don’t like how their government is playing (so to speak) they can always fire them and replace them with people that they believe will represent them better. That is where liberal democracy comes into play in our Federal system. Which is why I call the United States a Constitutional Federal Republic in the form of a liberal democracy. We’re not really one, or the other, but a free society and state that operates under both systems into one bigger system.