EP 594 State Politics Take Center Stage in America

James Madison conceived of the states in our federalist system as being laboratories for democracy where policy innovations can take place. In an era when Congress has become more gridlocked and the parties more rigid ideologically, national partisan and activist groups, often one issue constituencies, have trained their sights on state legislatures, nationalizing state politics in the process and making the state legislatures hotbeds of red and blue disputes, including abortion, guns, health care, climate change and election administration. In his new book, “Laboratories Against Democracy”, Jacob Grumbach traces how national groups are using state governmental authority to suppress the vote, gerrymander districts, and erode the very foundations of democracy itself.