Within 48 hours of my last post on the phasing out of pandemic relief programs, the Supreme Court issued a 6–3 ruling striking down the CDC’s eviction moratorium. As millions of Americans faced renewed risks from eviction, the story was easily buried on the back pages of major newspapers.



A welfare state has to be built on something sturdier than pandemic time

Office of the Eviction Defense Project, Milwaukee; Credit: Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

As the Delta variant surges throughout the United States, more than 3.5 million people living in this country face the prospect of eviction. And with last week’s shadow-docket action by the Supreme Court, the CDC’s eviction moratorium is no longer in force. …

[Note to the reader: this post is appearing after a few months ‘hiatus’, by which I mean following and writing about the politics of American federalism. …

Note: I’m writing again after a few months of research on the politics of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. Such work is an enterprise which, given the pace of events and the rate of change, has a dangerously short shelf-life and is necessarily preliminary. …

How to make state politics invisible

Wisconsin State Blue Book, 1967

Where political conflict is obscure, crises make celebrities. And in the American states — where politics is invariably (and tragically) obscure — crises make governors (in)famous. But for the Little Rock Nine, who would still recall the name of Orval Faubus? Without Katrina, the name of Kathleen Blanco might well…

Source: WhiteHouse.Gov

The document was eighteen pages long, bearing all of the hallmarks of management consultancy: clean sans-serif fonts, wide margins, and above all, an irreducible vagueness. In it, the White House suggested that states should proceed to re-open their economies after meeting a series of “gating criteria.” A “downward trajectory of…

American Federalism and the Politics of Democratic Subversion

— Based on a paper given at a conference on Democratic Resilience, Cornell University, Nov. 2019

People lined up to vote outside Riverside High School in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Credit: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, via Reuters

From time to time public attention is focused on scandalous situations in state government…These moments pass; state affairs recover their wonted obscurity and it is assumed that the wrongdoers have been exposed and punished.

Fiscal plague,
information dust,
piled over everyone,
everyone of us.

Stephen Malkmus, “Solid Silk”

I’m writing this after a walk along the Milwaukee River in dying pink sunlight. An election will be held on Tuesday in which thousands of people in this city will be crammed into only five polling…

The melancholy of having to count souls
Where they grow fewer and fewer every year
Is extreme where they shrink to none at all.
It must be I want life to go on living.

Robert Frost, “The Census-Taker” (1923)

It was built as a quartermaster depot during the Civil War…

“Now we in West Virginia want to embrace all and have people come from all walks of life when this is over — but right now, we don’t want you to come. And we want you to hear us: We don’t want you to come across our borders.”

Those were…

Philip Rocco

Associate Professor of Political Science // Marquette University // Coauthor, Obamacare Wars (2016) // Coeditor, APD and the Trump Presidency (2020)

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