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Winter 2005

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Federalism as a political issue was conspicuously absent from the 2004 presidential contest. Unlike many previous campaigns, neither party’s candidate made much mention of problems besetting states and localities. The war against global terrorism and the changing situation in Iraq shaped the election. Progress was made on homeland security, but intergovernmental wrangling over federal grants continued unabated. Federal-state feuds were common in several policy areas, including education, environmental protection, and health care. State finances received a revenue boost as economic growth picked up, but rising costs for Medicaid, education, employee pensions, and prisons clouded states’ financial forecasts. The U.S. Supreme Court decided several cases with a federalism dimension, and these decisions plus those of the past several years suggest the Court has moved not so much to grant more power to the states but to prune back the power of Congress. Much of what has happened during the first Bush administration must be seen against the larger background of changes in the American political party system. Changes in party organization and policy control, especially during the first Bush administration, reaffirm David Walker’s assessment that over the past quarter century American federalism has become more nationalized.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Publius: The Journal of Federalism following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Krane, D., & Koenig, H. (2005). The State of American Federalism, 2004: Is Federalism Still a Core Value?. Publius: the Journal of Federalism, 35, 1, 1-40. is available online at:

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