Federalism in Relation to Covid-19 Relief Efforts. The American Government Essay Example



The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world and has succeeded in exposing some glaring flaws in many governmental systems’ infrastructure. One of the most obvious culprits of such exposure is the principle upon which our nation is operated under, federalism. Federalism manifests itself in the United States government in allowing different levels of government to participate in law-making, both collaboratively, on the federal level, and individually, on state and municipal laws. While federalism as a system excels at allowing vastly different people spread across large regions of land to be governed in the manner that best suits their own beliefs, it can create problems in terms of uniting these powers unilaterally.

In the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, this shows in the different ways states and the federal government have handled lawmaking and guidelines about issues relating to the pandemic. At one point or another, every single state in the union has issued guidelines, proposed bills, or announced best practices for limiting the spread of the virus. Amongst these, there are wild differences in the things that different states and the federal government have said are the best option, which can cause mass confusion. In fact, there are also discrepancies in what individuals representing the same states have said, which also holds true on the federal level. Without some form of standard in regulations, there will continue to be a number of difficulties that arise from having different regulations and advice from a number of different sources.

Furthermore, this year being an election year even further complicates things. As the Democratic nominee Joe Biden and the current president and Republican nominee Donald Trump continue to trade blows at each other, the relief efforts for Covid have become an unforeseen, or intentional, victim. In an effort to lower the public opinion of the democratic party as a whole and try and shift voters towards the right, President Trump has attacked extensively democratic leadership and their responses to the pandemic.

Whether or not this has drummed up support for him or not has yet to be seen, but one thing that it has done is instilled distrust in some about their state government’s response. But, can you blame them? For generations, the office of the president has been the most sought after and respected position in the world. If the person who holds this office exclaims that certain regulations are not in your best interest, it is understandable that there will be people that believe that message, regardless of its validity. It is unfortunate that the consequences of such an action are hundreds of thousands of American lives. 

In terms of the benefits that federalism offers for the Covid-19 relief efforts, there are 2. The first of which is the benefit of trial and error. In allowing every state to make their own regulations and guidelines for the pandemic, it affords researchers the ability to look at the results of different procedures followed in different states, to determine what regulations help, and what regulations may be extraneous or detrimental. “Better” in this situation takes an interesting meaning. There are tens of thousands of Americans losing their lives as a result of having improper regulations or procedures in their state, which is, of course, an immeasurable loss.

However, it allows us to learn from these mistakes in mistreatment to better our treatment and preventative measures as a whole, which will hopefully save more lives in the end. Another way that federalism benefits relief efforts are in allowing states to enforce additional guidelines if they do not think that the federal ones are comprehensive enough. For example, if the federal government does not enforce a mask mandate, but the leadership of a specific state realizes how beneficial it could be, they may then implement it themselves. What “better” means in this sense is that while this creates an increased confusion, as it increases the difference between how different officials have governed the pandemic, it can help save more lives in that state by reducing transmission. In conclusion, while federalism has historically been a fantastic system for letting people be governed more closely to their ideals, the Covid-19 pandemic has shined a light on some of the drawbacks that this system presents.