"Breaking up is hard to do"
Since 1789, the United States of America has been governed by the principles of federalism: a constitutional structure that establishes the sharing of powers between the national and state governments. Federalism was especially evident in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic under the Trump administration, when the president took a backseat and governors stepped to the forefront. Scholars and journalists stress that partisanship was instrumental in dictating how governors responded to the coronavirus in their states, but there are other factors to consider. I analyze the rhetoric and pandemic mitigation efforts of all fifty state governors, all five territory governors, and the mayor of DC - a methodology which no other scholar has yet employed - to paint a vivid picture of American federalism in action and contribute to a broader conversation on the future of federalism. I find that, as a result of "corona federalism," the United States will be cemented as a country in which state sovereignty prevails, national public health policies and political institutions are diluted, and state borders dictate quality of life.