University of Washington Associate Professor of Political Science Jake M. Grumbach has published groundbreaking research showing that the state that Americans live in increasingly determines the tax regime, welfare state, and civil liberties they enjoy. New York Times columnist and podcast interviewer Ezra Klein hosted Grumbach on his podcast, "The Ezra Klein Show," in December 2022 to discuss Grumbach's book, Laboraties Against Democracy: How National Parties Transformed State Politics, and related trends in American politics. Grumbach is an expert on the political economy of state-level policymaking, the nationalization of political parties, democratic backsliding, the politics of racial and economic inequality, campaign finance, and more. He has led sessions at the American Political Economy Summer Academy.
In Laboratories Against Democracy, Grumbach argues that as gridlock in Congress has increased, national parties and interest groups have shifted their focus to the states, nationalizing state politics and turning state governments into the locus of U.S. policymaking. He shows how this has created a wider gulf in the nature of policies in Republican and Democratic states, as the parties implement increasingly unique policies in areas such as health care, climate change, and abortion. Interpreting new data on state policies, public preferences, campaign finance, and democratic performance, Grumbach shows how national groups have used state governmental powers to suppress voting laws, gerrymander electoral districts, and erode the bedrock of American democracy.