DeSantis Points the Way to a New Federalism

March 30, 2021 Updated: March 31, 2021


I was going to write of the need for something I call a “New Federalism,” but Ron DeSantis beat me to it by actually demonstrating it by acting.

On March 29, the Florida governor announced he would take emergency executive action against vaccine passports, explaining it this way:

“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”

DeSantis has actually been leading the way against such passports for some time.

Meanwhile New York and the federal government are going in the opposite direction, working to roll out the passports. New York is already experimenting with an Excelsior Pass for cellphones, while the Biden administration is apparently cooperating with private industry in devising and actualizing their manufacture or similar for the entire country.

There’s something eerily similar in this to the Soviet internal passport, although it’s yet more ominous because it would be connected to the internet. It may only take a flick of the algorithm to add all sorts of restrictions or morph the passport into, almost inevitably over time, an American version of the “social credit” system already in use by the Chinese Communist Party.

(Sneaking off to Cancun without the second vaccine—four demerits. Disobeying the latest edict from Dr. Fauci—nine demerits. Driving a non-electric Harley—14 demerits. Attending an unlicensed school—60 demerits. Reading books banned by Amazon—mortgage application denied.)

But this is only one of many escalating reasons for this New Federalism.

On multiple levels, from election integrity to education to infrastructure, the current federal administration is working in diametric opposition to the wishes of the citizens of a majority of the states.

This is ultimately an untenable situation for a democratic republic if it wishes to survive or, as Benjamin Franklin famously said upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, “A republic, if you can keep it.” (Yes, I know the quote may be apocryphal, but like many such statements, there’s a reason it lives on.)

What we need now is a renewed republic: a renewed and stronger federalism.

That’s why I call it a New Federalism, not out of a Madison Avenue branding instinct, but as a reminder to us all that if we don’t do it, if we don’t reaffirm and strengthen this classic direction, Franklin’s warning will undoubtedly come true.

The result will be something worse than even a man of his genius could have then conceived. (See the social credit scores above.)

The states, notably red states, must take maximum power. If this isn’t done by their governors and legislatures, it’s up to the people to make sure that it is.

Many a red state has a gaping split between its officials and the citizens who elected them. A fair number of these officials behave like indentured patrons of their financial backers, if not bureaucratic entities addicted to the status quo.

Under the New Federalism, either these officials shape up (not easy) or are replaced by the people who elected them. This requires a truly informed local electorate and an honest local media (also not easy).

At the time of the Constitutional Convention, the population of the 13 states was in the area of 3 million. The population of the 50 states is now about 330 million.

That such enormous growth means the United States has become cumbersome is an understatement. A population that huge over such a landmass, reaching from Key West to Utqiagvik, Alaska, is too big to be governed effectively and fairly by a central government, particularly one hungry for power.

We are also in a situation where the red and blue states are as far apart as any time since the Civil War.

In order to avoid the secession that many, including me, talk of, this New Federalism is the best, possibly the only, answer at this point. Secession isn’t only highly complicated politically, the necessity of countering the Chinese and the Russians makes it beyond dangerous militarily.

This means a respect for states’ rights that we haven’t had in some time. For every state. If the citizens of New York and California wish to have these passports and all they imply, they should be able to do it, as long as they leave the rest of us alone.

Obviously, working out the terms of a New Federalism will be as difficult as solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. But we have to start, even if the other side doesn’t want to play—and almost certainly it doesn’t.

There’s a lot we can do on our own.

DeSantis has already taken some good steps, as have some other governors and legislatures (I am thinking of the new election law enacted by the Georgia legislature that moved in the right direction, if not completely.)

Let’s get started.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Roger L. Simon
Roger L. Simon
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on GETTR and Parler @rogerlsimon.