Thursday, July 13, 2017

WAYNE MADSEN: The Rapid Devolution of the United States

Under Donald Trump's strongman policies, the United States is experiencing the same rapid decentralization that has seen other federations split apart in rapid fashion. Granted, the United States does not have the same underlying causes of ethnicity, language, and religion that helped propel the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, but the unilateral actions of the federal government are resulting in a steady movement by the American states away from the center in Washington, DC. 

Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord resulted in the creation of the «United States Climate Alliance», a group of states that remain committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Accord, regardless of Washington's wishes. The first three states to declare independence from Trump and his Environmental Protection Agency's policies were California, Washington, and New York. Connecticut soon followed. The Republican governors of Massachusetts and Vermont also joined the alliance, putting an end to criticism that the U.S. Climate Alliance was a Democratic Party contrivance. These states were followed by Rhode Island, Oregon, Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota, and Delaware. Other states that remain committed to supporting the Paris Accord but have not formally joined the U.S. Climate Alliance are Colorado, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, and Maine. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which are not states, also adhered to the Paris Accord.

Another group of states have declared their support for continued Medicaid expansion benefits under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act (ACA) and have rejected the sweeping cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, and veteran's health benefits being made by congressional Republicans and members of the Trump administration. Again, among the states instituting expanded Medicaid to cover low-wage earners in their states are the three core anti-Trump Pacific states of California, Oregon, and Washington, joined by Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Other Medicaid expansion states are Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

The decentralization forces now at play in the United States, spurred by the troubling power-grabbing moves by the Trump administration, are noteworthy for being largely bipartisan, largely trans-continental - except for a few regressive southern states and a few states in the prairies and mountain west - and showing no signs of abatement. If this is the situation six months into the Trump administration, political scientists are wondering if there will even be a «United» States at the end of Trump's term in office, particularly if that comes in January 2025.

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