BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Many observers would argue that American democracy today is not working as the founding fathers intended. Elected officials at the federal, state and even local government level are often trapped in partisan gridlock, with elected leaders often seen to be more attentive to partisan positions and special interests than to regular voters. The dysfunction has led to historically low levels of public satisfaction, trust in public institutions and voter turnout.

Federalism and intergovernmental relations are important ingredients in achieving an inclusive and responsive multi-level public sector that ensures that all Americans are heard and represented in collective decision-making at all government levels.