Furthermore, the entire concept of states’ rights is an outdated concept, pushed forward by rural leaders, who, again, at the time of the country’s founding, based their entire economy on slaves. Since then, it has been used time and time again to discount the cities. After this election, people put forward maps showing the United States and where 50 percent of the population resides — in a few relatively small dots — to show the importance of the electoral college, saying that without it, people in those few dots would decide what is right for the entire country. But why should 51 percent of the population NOT decide, regardless of where they live? States’ and rural areas’ rights are so baked into our legislative system, with senators representing states and congressmen with their districts, so why should the presidency not just belong to the people? Rural white people back in the 1700s saw the potential danger of cities and put in place measures to fend off their power. Now that the US is more and more urbanized, these policies are coming back to bite a majority of the people.
Of course, the hope for the Trump era is that states and cities can stand up to him and use that power to stave off some of the worst effects. I’m not sure if states have ever really come down on behalf of liberals before. I’d be interested to learn more about that. Cities themselves do have some measure of power. A few months ago, I read an article that talked about the potential power of federalism in the Trump era and beyond and called for cities and municipalities to take back power and govern the best way for their own people. Of course racism could be an even greater problem in that case, but the federal government’s role, post Trump, could be to monitor and police and ensure fairness in policies while allowing smaller local governments to create programs that work best for their own regions. This is an intriguing concept to me but would obviously require the federal government to itself be more impartial. In a dream world, maybe the best course forward is to rewrite the Constitution to actually ensure equality for every single person—regardless of who they are—and to enforce that. Obviously that’s impossible, given the current climate, but maybe something to think about as a goal for the future.
— Sam Nurick