Americans are now trained to see racism everywhere, even where it doesn't exist.
One high school in Oregon postponed a vote last week on whether to change its mascot from the Trojan to the Evergreens over concerns the imagery of lush timber was racist.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett High School, named after the prominent black activist and journalist who documented lynching in the post-Civil War era, was considering a mascot change to adopt a symbol more representative of its connection to the community. Board members complained, however, that evergreen trees would conjure up imagery invoking the brutal execution of African-Americans.
“I think everyone comes with blind spots and I think that might’ve been a really big blind spot,” said Director Michelle DePass at the school board meeting.
The episode is emblematic of how the country has come to see race, viewing minorities deemed oppressed by the woke left as fragile special-interest groups that Americans must hold a religious commitment to buttress in the moral righteousness of “antiracism.” Everywhere, Americans are explicitly reminded of the racial inequities among minority groups as evidence of their inherent racism and the nation’s irredeemably racist past — and present.
Starting at an early age, Americans are barraged with statistics and anecdotes, about everything from income to health status, that are always broken down by race to highlight disparities that victimize minorities and define their destiny as one determined by racist circumstance over personal responsibility. This ideology of abject victimhood taught in classrooms, newsrooms, and boardrooms after being bred for an entire generation on left-wing university campuses has now produced a nation dangerously constrained by a toxic obsession with race.
Under this doctrine, anything and everything must be vetted by 21st-century standards of cultural acceptance to root out the poisonous racism. This obsession, however, is the root of American demise. A nation primed to think only about race will only think about race.
Americans are now trained to see racism in everything, even where it doesn’t exist. Trees are racist. Hiking is racist. Your cereal box is racist. Your depictions of Santa Claus and Jesus are racist. Claiming otherwise to any of it is also racist.
Minorities are trained to see themselves as hopelessly oppressed and facing endless aggressions at every turn. Every slightest impolite infraction can earn the morally indignant condemnation as racist, wrecking the perpetrator as a villain responsible for deep personal trauma. The so-called trauma, however, is merely a preconception inculcated by years of woke indoctrination.
None of this is to say racism doesn’t exist. Americans can and should recognize there are racial tensions that need to be addressed. The radical obsession with defining every aspect of the modern culture through the exhaustive lens of “antiracism,” however, has only led tensions to new heights while deceiving millions of well-meaning Americans who are terrified of the racist label and roping them into the effort. And “antiracism,” weaponized by the political left to pursue political ends through intimidation of their opponents, has stifled debate, driven division, and merely created a different kind of racism.
The debate over voter ID requirements included in the recent Republican-passed Georgia voting bill provides a perfect illustration of today’s racism infecting woke corporatists and the Democratic Party, which claim — in the name of antiracism of course — that mandated identification requirements for ballot access are too difficult for minorities to comply with.
And then there’s affirmative action and the push for reparations, endorsed by the Democratic Party, which claims minorities aren’t capable of achieving of the American dream without white saviors and billions in special assistance.
Race relations under the mandated lens of antiracism aren’t getting any better. On that, nearly all Americans agree. According to Gallup, in 2008, the year Americans elected their first black president, 70 percent of white adults and 61 percent of black adults said race relations were either “very” or “somewhat good.” Only 46 percent of white adults and 36 percent of black adults said the same in 2020.
If last year’s radical acceleration of antiracism in the culture war has taught us nothing else, it’s that the colorblind approach was likely the right one. The opposite has shown to be an aggressive form of racism featuring the bigotry of low expectations cloaked in the moral righteousness of social justice.
A favorite Republican catchphrase deserves higher scrutiny
“We are now the party supported by most working-class voters,” congressman Jim Banks of Indiana wrote to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy in a six-page memo this week. Banks, head of the Republican Study Committee, said the lesson is clear: It’s time to act like a working-class party. “Our electoral success in the 2022 midterm election,” he concluded, “will be determined by our willingness to embrace our new coalition.”
The Banks memo, first reported by Axios, is part of a trend. Influential Republicans have embraced the notion that Donald Trump transformed the GOP into the vehicle of the proletariat. “We are a working-class party now,” Josh Hawley tweeted on election night. “The future of the party is based on a multiethnic, multiracial, working class coalition,” Marco Rubio said a week later. “The future of the Republican Party is as a party that defends the social, economic, and cultural interests and values of working American families of every race, color, and creed,” Trump toldCPAC in February. Last month, Rubio announced his support for Amazon employees in Alabama who want to form a union.
Banks doesn’t go that far. The word union appears nowhere in his memo. He mentions “labor” only once, in a derisive reference to a Democratic special interest group. The lacuna is a reminder: Despite the emerging consensus that the GOP is a working-class party, there is little agreement on what such a party should stand for. Industrial policy? Trust busting? Family subsidies and financial transaction taxes? Banks sidesteps these trendy measures on the intellectual right. He suggests instead that Republican candidates adopt Trump’s posture of opposition to illegal immigration, offshoring of manufacturing jobs, COVID-19 lockdowns, Big Tech censorship, and political correctness.
It might take a second—or longer—to see how the issues Banks highlights relate to the material interests of Republican voters. What they have in common is an adversarial attitude toward the votaries of managerial liberalism. Indeed, Banks’s dichotomy isn’t between working class and capital, but between populism and elitism. Republicans, Banks writes, must “highlight the cultural and economic elitism that animates the Democrat Party.” It’s “Democrat elitism” that has driven working-class voters to the GOP. And “nothing better encapsulates Democrats’ elitism and classism than their turn towards ‘wokeness.'” Taxes, spending, welfare, and entitlements do not come up.
For all of the “working class” rhetoric in conservative discourse, few Republican politicians have adopted the economic measures put forth by Oren Cass at American Compass, Samuel Hammond at the Niskanen Center, and Julius Krein at American Affairs. Rubio and Hawley are political entrepreneurs willing to push the boundary of conventional GOP policymaking. But they are outliers. A figure like Banks, who has to win reelection every two years, is more cautious. He perceives that Republican voters are more interested in aggressive prosecution of the culture war than in technocratic manipulation of the economy.
The “class war” mentioned so often in conservative discourse is in fact the continuation of the half-century-long war over which values and social roles should be authoritative in American culture. Imposing a class framework on this struggle leads to confusion. After all, according to the 2020 exit poll, President Biden won voters making less than $100,000, while then-president Trump won voters who earn more than $100,000 by 12 points. And Biden won union members by 16 points. The AP Votecast results were more closely divided, but just as muddled: Trump lost voters who earned less than $50,000, barely won voters who made $50,000-$99,999, and narrowly lost voters who earned more than $100,000.
If you read class through the lens of educational attainment, you see that the GOP leans ever more heavily on white voters without college degrees. But that trend long predates Trump. And the white voters without bachelor’s diplomas are a large and diverse group. They encompass a variety of ages, life experiences, occupations, and net worth. The successful contractor who attended college for a few years before starting his own business has a different set of economic concerns than the restaurant server or grocery store clerk. Does muscular labor define membership in the working class? Perhaps. But not every voter without a college degree works with his hands. And agriculture and industry constitute a narrow base for a political party in an economy where 79 percent of jobs are in the service sector. Conservatives like to position themselves as the representatives of the rural heartland against the cosmopolitan metropolis. True enough. But what about the majority of Americans that lives in the suburbs?
Ideology, partisan affiliation, and religiosity mark one’s place in the culture war far better than income or education. Liberals went for Biden 89-10 in the exit poll, and conservatives backed Trump 85-14. Both candidates won 95 percent of their respective parties. And the gaps between voters without a religious affiliation and all others, and between white evangelical voters and all others, were huge.
Ideology also explains the Republicans’ surprisingly good performance among minority voters. There’s evidence, for example, that black Protestants are moving toward the GOP. “What happened in 2020 is that nonwhite conservatives voted for Republicans at higher rates,” election analyst David Shor recently explained to New York magazine. “They started voting more like white conservatives.” Why? Revulsion at the far-left messaging of radical elites on immigration and policing.
When the pollsters at Echelon Insights asked Republicans what they want from a candidate, the answer was someone who would “fight” for the conservative cause, support the Trump agenda, and speak out against cancel culture. The most important issues for Republicans are illegal immigration, law and order, taxes, and liberal media bias. The Echelon data have been replicated elsewhere. My AEI colleague Ryan Streeter writes, “Large national surveys conducted by the American Enterprise Institute suggest Trump’s supporters are actually quite content with American economic life but highly reactive to elite dominance of American culture life.”
Calling Republicans “working-class” is a self-flattering way to put the party on the side of the “forgotten American.” But it risks reducing voters to factors of production. And it flirts with an economic program actual Republicans don’t seem to want. The new class consciousness is another example of the Europeanization of American politics: For decades, the two parties competed for the loyalties not of the working class but of the middle class, and public policy experts devoted themselves to improving the condition of the urban poor or “underclass.” Now, Republican communicators are beginning to sound like the leaders of European parties whose anti-bourgeois romanticism often manifests itself in ugly ways.
Maybe less has changed than people think. Remember that Barry Goldwater first identified himself with the “forgotten American” back in 1961. The GOP remains a populist conservative party whose voters are incensed at the values, directives, and rhetoric of the men and women who occupy the commanding heights of American culture. It’s the party of married parents, of the small business owner, of the journeyman who aspires for a better life for his family. It’s the party of peace through strength, low taxes, safe streets, legal immigration, national pride, and traditional pieties. And what it needs most in 2022 are strong candidates who inspire the grassroots without terrifying independents.
Biden should spend less time with historians and more with moderates
A liberal president enters the White House in a time of national crisis. He campaigned as a moderate but soon reveals his intent to govern from the left of the center-left. His bold agenda has plenty of fans among journalists and academics who celebrate the expansion of the welfare state. They write stories and deliver soundbites likening the new chief executive to FDR. The end of Reaganism, they say, is at hand.
I’m referring, of course, to President Barack Obama. Shortly after his election in 2008, Time magazine portrayed him as Dr. New Deal, complete with fedora and cigarette holder. “It would seem that Obama has been studying the 1932 Great Depression campaign of Franklin D. Roosevelt,” wrote E.J. Dionne in his syndicated column. “Conservatism is Dead,” announced the New Republic. “It has been that kind of presidency,” gushed Jon Meacham in 2009. “Barack Obama, moving as he wishes to move, and the world bending itself to him.”
Take a moment to recover from that last bit of purple prose. Then recall that two years after Obama’s victory, Republicans won the House. In 2014, Republicans kept the House and won the Senate. And two years after that, Republicans won complete control of the federal government. Conservatism didn’t die—the New Republic did. (It’s been reborn as a monthly.)
Now the same wonks and historians who compared Obama to the architect of managerial liberalism downplay his tenure in office as overly cautious, modest, and risk-averse. They’ve settled on a new, new FDR: Joe Biden. And Biden is ready to play the part. Even if it means risking Democratic control of Congress.
Biden met recently at the White House with a group of historians who, according to Axios, share his view that “It is time to go even bigger and faster than anyone expected. If that means chucking the filibuster and bipartisanship, so be it.” Biden’s “closest analogues,” Michael Beschloss told the news outlet, are FDR and LBJ. E.J. Dionne says Biden represents “a new disposition through which pragmatic forms of government activism add up to a quiet political revolution.” And Biden “loves the growing narrative that he’s bolder and bigger-thinking than President Obama,” writes Mike Allen. No doubt he does.
You would think that, in the midst of all the pandering and praise, the scholars who talked to Biden might have provided him some actual historical perspective. Every president Biden is said to recall, including Reagan, had to endure numerous setbacks, crises, unforced errors, and unanticipated consequences of their own policies. By 1938, the New Deal was exhausted, the economy hadn’t recovered from the Depression, and FDR won his final two terms largely on the basis of his international stature. LBJ’s landslide in 1964 was followed by a shellacking in 1966 and the collapse of the Democratic coalition in 1968. The GOP lost 26 seats in the House in 1982, forfeited control of the Senate in 1986, and when he left office Reagan handed his vice president a giant deficit, the Savings and Loan debacle, and a zealous special prosecutor.
The historians urging Biden to go big on policy aren’t analysts. They are partisan cheerleaders. If they stepped back, they would see that Biden is weaker than the presidents he admires and that vulnerable Democrats are warning the majority against overreach.
The Biden team gave Axios four reasons the president is ready to ditch the filibuster and push through a $3 trillion infrastructure and green energy bill, changes to election law in the “For the People Act,” and possibly an immigration amnesty. Biden has (1) “full party control of Congress, and a short window to go big,” (2) “party activists” are “egging him on,” (3) “he has strong gathering economic winds at his back,” and (4) “he’s popular in polls.”
But the same evidence could also be read as an argument for caution and restraint. Biden has less support in Congress than any of the presidents he emulates. (Reagan never controlled the House, but often had a majority of conservative Democrats plus Republicans.) At the moment, Biden’s party has 219 seats in the House and 50 in the Senate—meaning he can lose just two votes in the lower chamber and none in the upper one. It’s one thing to enact significant legislation on a partisan majority. It’s something else to enact such legislation on a partisan majority of one during a time when a positive COVID test upsets the whip count.
Nor is following “party activists” a certain route to political success. Economic winds change direction. And while Biden is popular, his disapproval rating in the January Gallup poll was second only to Donald Trump’s. Negative partisanship drives Biden to steamroll the Republicans. It also exposes him to political rebuke.
Some Democrats are beginning to express qualms with various aspects of Biden’s approach. Maine Democrat Jared Golden was the only member of his party to vote against Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Henry Cuellar of Texas was among the first congressmen to draw attention to the crisis on the southern border. Filemon Vela, also of Texas, announced his retirement the other day, a few months after his vote share dropped to 55 percent from 60 percent in 2018. Several House Democrats have said they disagree with Nancy Pelosi’s outrageous plot to expel Iowa Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks and replace her with Rita Hart, who lost by six votes last year. And West Virginia senator Joe Manchin has yet to cosponsor the election bill at the center of the Democrats’ campaign to end the filibuster.
In these early days, Biden’s presidency has been less a transformation than a continuation of the partisan stalemate that has existed since the end of the Cold War. Parties win elections, misread electoral victories as ideological endorsements, overreach, and pay for it at the polls. The Democrats for whom the bill will come due first are well aware of this dynamic. They may not be as good on television as Jon Meacham or Michael Beschloss, but they have plenty of insight into the aspirations and concerns of swing voters. Biden may want to have them over to the East Room. Before they are out of work.
Like the French royals of the late 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries, Joe Biden, former Senator, Vice President, and presently the President of the United States of America, seems to have learned nothing during his long, yet unremarkable political career. Seventy eight years young when he ascended the highest elected office of the country, Joe Biden has been all over the political landscape, always following the fashionable ideological winds of his party. Without a clear vision of his own, pathetic and narrow-minded Joe has always put his frequently changing faith in plagiarizing other people’s ideas and in his convoluted religious-moral convictions.
A slim as well as a well-dressed widower in his late 20s and being a great charmer, the freshly minted Senator from Delaware believed that his folksy demeanor could be an effective replacement for his intellectual poverty. In this manner, throughout his long political career, he has surrounded himself with a cotery of yes men, whose intellectual qualities have always remained below his own. Yet, for all his pretentiousness, Joe Biden has remained a weak character with an unremarkable intelligence.
Clearly, Joe Biden has never been a quintessential American. Throughout their history, the American people have been the people of great and novel ideas. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Reagan, the many Nobel Prize worthy inventions, are just some examples. However, with the election of Joe Biden America really underperformed itself.
Selected by former President Obama, a community organizer and a junior Senator from Illinois without any foreign policy experience, Joe Biden was hailed by the former as a highly valued expert in international relations. To add insult to injury, Joe Biden himself has pointed to his repeated chairmanships of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to prove his vast international credentials. Of course, a deeper analysis of his activities showed that his foreign policy decisions have unfailingly landed on the wrong side of history. As Vice President, Joe Biden was the prototype of a Don Quixote type fighter for narrow and greedy tactical ends. The wars he supported have not turned out as expected. The “reset” with Russia became the object of ridicule across the globe. Their “diplomacy first” commitment toward the Islamic Republic of Iran was an unmitigated disaster. Equally, their two states solution in the Middle East was a nonstarter. His and his former boss’s persistent refusal to face reality in Central and South America, Africa and Asia has brought American foreign policy to the brink of total irrelevance.
Domestically, the reign of reason was undone by the emerging Democrat campaign of ubiquitous charge of racism against their political opponents, the ruthless campaigning against the so-called enemies of minorities, the concomitant promotion of multiculturalism, the idiocy of open borders, enthusiastically headed by Barack and Michelle Obama and slavishly followed by the Bidens. No wonder that their administration did not pay any attention to the inherent conflicts rooted in the failed Democrat policies of the last seventy years. As a result, the Obama/Biden administration willfully and criminally failed to rally the nation around a vision which could have established a solid foundation for the United States of America to live up to the political principles of the Republic and to the moral imperatives of itself.
During the presidential campaign, his rhetoric was highly divisive, polarizing – and disgustingly stomach-churning. However, his garbage talk has not stopped. Calling the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, “soulless killer” and inventing a confidential conversation between him as Vice President and the latter as then Prime Minister, which is obviously the invention of his sick mind, are childish and idiotic. Domestically, blaming his predecessor for everything that went wrong between 2017 and 2021, while not addressing the relentless hate campaign laced with a constant flow of blatant misinformation and lies, are proof of the worst attributes politicians have to offer the citizens of the United Nations of America. Thus, while sanctimoniously preaching against divisions and calling for unity, Joe Biden accomplishes the exact opposite. He deepens the divisions in society. Yet, pathetic and narrow-minded Joe Biden thrives on division. He always did. It is what gave him and his party power. In this context, the word “politician” is becoming a curse rather than an honor. His and his family’s shadowy dealings across the globe have illustrated a complete lack of shame by him and the entire Democrat Party.
The elementary question at this point of inflection in American history is whether the two parties and the politicians on the federal and state levels are holding up their ends of a national consensus? Are they doing what they have promised? Are they working for the goals that they have espoused? Do they really care about their primary responsibilities of trying to at least mitigate the divisions in society? Are they striving to restore unity? These questions are still open to future developments. Yet, what pains most Americans is that presently the political discourse has nothing to do with ideas, vision, or policy. They are all about power and money. The American people will have another chance in 2022 to change the current misery of the country. By voting intelligently, they could decide the direction this exceptionally talented country can take in the future to come.
Geza Hofi, the brilliant late Hungarian comedian, in one of his politically charged monologues, delivered in the Madach Kamara Theater in Budapest, described post-Communist Hungary in the late 1990s thus: “The setting on this stage depicts a closed psychiatric ward in a hospital that specializes on mentally ill patients. I am a patient in this institution. I closed it from the inside in order to prevent all those idiots living outside from coming in.” His admonition to his countrymen was twofold. On the one hand, he wanted to call attention to the predictable vagaries of history, namely, to the disconcerting fact that history, if allowed, does tend to repeat itself, and normally not in a positive way. However, even more importantly, he undertook to issue a warning to humanity at large about the destructive behavior of the majority of ordinary citizens in a quasi or full democracy who can be fooled by ideologically demented public figures masquerading as sane and responsible politicians.
Presently, America is at war with itself. The nation is under siege by diverse mobs whose savage designs to replace reality with a regime of fallacious falsehoods threaten the very survival of the Republic. Their infinite and blind violence have already spiralled out of control in the Democrat Party controlled towns and metropolitan areas. In Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, New York City, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and in many other settlements the racially charged savagery of assorted minorities dated back to the hateful rhetoric of Democrat politicians as well as the subservient media have witnessed brigands murdering and pillaging at will. These unsavory groups have operated outside the constitutional framework of political actions with the declared goal of altering by force the very organization of society. This politically fueled artificial chaos coupled with the measures necessarily taken by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, have led to the most unusual national elections before, during and after November 3, 2020.
Whether there was a wholesale fraud perpetrated by the unholy alliance of the Biden campaign organization, Big Tech, the overwhelming majority of the media, politically motivated judges, and the federal as well as states’ bureaucracies is still open to many unanswered questions. Yet, when the air cleared a little, the Democrats succeeded to maintain a shrinking majority in the House of Representatives, to gain four seats in the Senate, and recapture the White House after four years of a turbulent hiatus.
Joe Biden was 78 years old when he ascended to the Presidency on January 20, 2021. The visibly unwell former Senator and Vice President was carefully shielded from the world throughout the campaign by his handlers as well as the Democrat Party’s praetorian guard. During the intervening period between November 3, 2020 and January 20, 2021, his handlers surrounded him with a coterie that harked back to the unsuccessful ancien regime of former President Barack H. Obama, and as such is characterized by its glaring lack of intellectual quality. Against all the laudatory nonsense by the hugely biased media, he has been, throughout his long political career, a weak character with a woefully empty mind, prone to frequent plagiarisms, without any original ideas or imagination, and the wherewithal to manage himself, let alone enforce his stolen ideas when the inevitable challenges and crises have hit him like a ton of brick. Indeed, animated with superficial emotions and with a below mediocre intelligence, bereft of ideas of his own, subject to the persuasion of the last person he has spoken to, he has been the saddest epitome of an utterly failed amateur in the highest echelons of American politics.
While President Biden now exists mostly in a cocoon of his own, his handlers attempt to be the quintessential hands-on politicians. These Obama-era veterans are navigating from professional incompetence to full-blown socialism, making sure to preserve their bureaucratic powers amidst the relentlessly aggressive attacks of the Democrat Party’s radical elements. Nothing good will come out of such a catastrophic situation. As long as in power, the Democrat establishment will stumble from one grave crisis to another until their self-erected house of cards will collapse into the abyss of their sophomoric illusions.
Clearly, the sinister shadows of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and the newest generation of so-called communist despots across the globe hover over President Biden, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer and their comrades’ self-created audacious political swamp. The American Republic is faltering. The past is annihilating the present and the future. The dead destroying the living. The bodies of the two seasoned criminals Michael Brown Jr. and George Floyd have had more political power since 2014 than the many great achievements of the Trump administration. To add insult to injury, President Biden in his inaugural address called for unity and to end the “uncivil war” thus: “A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer. A cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be more desperate or any more clear now. The rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, that we must confront and we will defeat. To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy – unity. Unity…My whole soul is in it today, on this January day. My whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foe we face – anger, resentment and hatred. Extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness, and hopelessness.”
Yet, the flurry of his executive orders, actions and memorandums, which were ready for his signature immediately, belied his high-flying rhetoric. Halting funding for the construction of the border wall, reversal of the travel ban from certain countries, and twenty two other executive actions directly eliminating “bad policies” of the Trump administration were justified by him thus: “And I want to make it clear – there is a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders that I have signed – I’m not making new law; I’m eliminating bad policy.” And then: “What I’m doing is taking on the issues that – 99% of them – that the president, the last president of the United States, issued executive orders I felt were very counterproductive to our security, counterproductive to who we are as a country, particularly in the area of immigration.” Again, the high-flying rhetoric of the Obama era without any truthful and rational explanations. Forty one executive actions to satisfy the most radical demands of the Democrat Party. This is not leadership. This is called the Stockholm Syndrome. Plainly, this is the behavior of a fake politician held hostage by his own party and his own monstrous bureaucracy.
President Biden’s divisiveness and immorality have been in full display in the $1.9 trillion COVID package and the H.R. 1 – For the People Act of 2021. Neither piece of legislation is about the relief they pretend to address. The former is a shameless bailout for the Democrat governed failed states of the west and the east coasts, coupled with outrages handouts to the most radical Democrat Party constituents. At the end, the massive coronavirus relief bill was passed by both the House of Representatives as well as the Senate without a single Republican vote. Speaking about the pandemic, President Biden said the following: “A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked. Denials for days, weeks, then months, that led to more deaths.”
Blatant lies and not a single word of truth. Already on January 6, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the leadership of then President Trump published a travel notice for Wuhan, China, due to the available information. On January 29, 2020, He formed a coronavirus task force at the White House and two days later declared a public health emergency, accompanied by a restriction on travel to and from China. Then President Trump did all these measures while Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Head of the World Health Organization, declared on January 14, 2020, that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” Even as late as January 20, 2020, ABC quoted him stating that there was “only limited human-to-human transmission.” For good measure, the Organization declared that “This (meaning the COVID-19) is in line with experience with other respiratory illnesses and in particular with other coronavirus outbreaks.” The World Health Organization finally declared the coronavirus a global emergency only on January 30, 2020. Busying themselves with impeaching the then President Trump, the Democrats ignored the pandemic until after the former’s acquittal. Most glaringly, the COVID package utilizes unemployment numbers instead of the previous population numbers in determining final state payouts, thus rewarding failing blue states with tax dollars of red states whose jobless claims have always been below the unemployment numbers of the Democrat governed states. Textbook retail politics that has nothing to do with President Biden’s high flying clarion calls for national unity.
In the same vein, HR1, fraudulently titled “For the People Act” passed the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote. Defined by every objective analyst as a law allowing wholesale fraud of all elections, HR1 would shift control of elections from cities, counties, states to the federal government in Washington, D.C. Moreover, HR1 would make voting by mail-in ballots permanent, prohibit voter ID, launch automatic voter registration, allow same-day registration and voting, enshrine in law ballot harvesting, and funnel all appeals into one court – the traditionally Democrat-controlled D.C. Circuit Court.
To up the ante, the New York Times published on March 11, 2021, an Opinion by its Editorial Board, titled “For Democracy to Stay, the Filibuster Must Go.” Pursuant to the Board’s opinion, “It is hard to imagine a more fitting job for Congress than for members to join together to pass a broadly popular law that makes democracy safer, stronger and more accessible to all American.” Please, notice the misleading language that has become the hallmark of the radical as well as extremist members of the Democrat establishment. HR1 would weaken democracy. It will open the floodgate for uncontrollable voting by limitless numbers of ineligible individuals. It would also erode democracy, because voting, according to HR1, would not reflect the will of the citizens of the United States of America. Moreover, HR1 is far from being “a broadly popular law.” Even the Opinion states that HR1 could only count on the votes of fifty Democrat Senators and the tie breaking vote of the Vice President. Of course, the solution is to abolish the filibuster, which is opposed by Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, both Democrats too. Some “broad popular” support!
Unquestionably, the fledgling Biden administration is infected with the virus of ideologically tainted incompetence and nascent immorality. Headed by a mentally confused President, supported by a woefully incompetent Vice-President, and surrounded by a coterie of ideologically blinded bureaucrats, collectively they preach the deceptive gospel of ubiquitous unity. In fact, however, the Biden administration is bringing about the greatest tragedy of American history by its ruthless attempt to enforce an utterly false unity, domestically as well as internationally. As Biden is prone to tell his fellow Americans and the rest of the world, his administration will be the torchbearer for the humanistic values of mankind across the globe. President Biden’s schizophrenic belief in the universal goodness of all Americans and the rest of the world, and his simultaneous railing against everybody who does not happen to share his and his fellow travellers’ cult-like enthusiasm for accommodating their political as well as antisocial psychopathic fictions, put all normal people in the Hillary Clinton’s basket of not just “deplorables”, but also into the cage of “enemies” or “domestic terrorists” of an absolutely fake Democrat Utopia.
In this context, it is worthwhile to take a short trip along the memory lane of the early 20th century Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks of Russia/Soviet Union decided in December 1923, to introduce the policy of revenge against their opponents. Having borrowed from the vocabulary of the French Revolution, they adopted the Jacobins favorite definition for their numerous opponents, “enemies of the people”, “enemies of the workers”, “enemies of the republic”, and “enemies of the glorious revolution.” Anyone found guilty by the Bolshevik regime’s kangaroo courts was sentenced to a minimum of ten years, mostly in the GULAG. The gruesome story of the retaliations in the Soviet Union can be found exhaustively in Agnes Gereben’s excellent book with the same title.
This collection of the Biden administration’s useless idiots lack both domestic and international strategies. Their only so-called policy is to wipe away everything that was accomplished between 2017 and January 2021, and beyond. By denouncing everybody who allegedly “oppose them everywhere”, their real aim is to permanently disrupt any emerging understanding among the starkly divided groups and organizations of American society. Opening the southern borders to indiscriminate illegal invasion of the United States of America and calling this humanism is lunacy, rejoining the Paris climate accord while lying about its real content, refinancing counterproductive United Nations’ organizations to deepen already existing divisions among nations as well as regions, embracing a dead Palestinian cause in contravention of the Abraham Accord as well as the newest positive developments in the greater Middle East, North Africa, and South-East Asia, trying to appease Iran repeatedly, and calling Black Lives Matter, Antifa, ACLU as well as other violent minority groups peaceful and beneficial for the perfection of American democracy, while denouncing in the strongest possible language those who oppose these lies, open the door to deception over reality, and immorality over decency.
Yet, the ultimate purpose of this charade of unbelievable manipulations is to prove that the Biden administration and the Democrat Party is a modern government unquestionably committed to transformative reforms on behalf of all Americans and the rest of the world. In other words, they are alone in touch with the people of all races. For this reason, anybody who opposes them is guilty of “systematic” and “institutionalized” racism. In this manner, mankind is inherently guilty of the moral crime of racism, and are burdened to prove their innocence. This Orwellian or Kafkaesque trap is injustice ab initio amounting to the grossest abuse of language, and ultimately to a shameless undemocratic perversion of power.
This pseudo-epistolemic misuse of language could win votes in the short run. However, it cannot win hearts and minds in the long run. Rigged elections give a sense of false security, yet deny understanding of the real reflection of political, economic, and social discontent in the country. Ideology-driven foreign policy will surely breed intense criticism as well. Calls for return to genuine normalcy and the restoration of necessary freedoms will quickly undermine Biden’s psychopathy and the Democrat Party’s attempt at totalitarianism in the United States of America. Invented history, such as “Project 1619” and the Obamas’ “you built this country” primitive exhortations, only contribute to the intellectual poverty as well as the contextual thinness of the Democrats’ utopian lunacy. Their collective resistance to acknowledge reality will surely end in catastrophic defeat and tremendous political, economic, social, and moral disarray. Therefore, the United States of America shall prepare itself to rally around a narrative which shall face reality and which shall enable the nation to live up to its views of its past, present, and future greatness.
In 2015 and 2016, then candidate Donald J. Trump campaigned under two simple slogans: “America First” and “Make America Great Again.” Collectively, these two rallying cries called for the rejection of the two endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the open borders policy of then President Barack Obama, the convoluted doctrine of multiculturalism, the identity politics heavily laced with an exaggerated sense of mostly nonexistent victimhood, and similarly unreal elitist idiocies coached in twisted linguistic phenomena reminiscent of the communist propaganda that emanated ceaselessly from the Soviet Union and its vassal quasi-states for over seventy years in the 20th century. When he announced his candidacy for president on June 16, 2015, Trump appeared to be a lonely voice in the political desert. His speech was highly unconventional, because of its provocative content. Basically, he faced the nation alone with the nonchalance of an ordinary citizen speaking his mind without any concerns for the political consequences. This personal campaign strategy gave him the presidency on January 20, 2017. His presidency proved that he was right. He revived the economy, which under the community organizer president’s eight years tanked, lowered unemployment for everybody, including African Americans, to 3.6%, reestablished the strength of the military, accomplished internationally the normalization of relations between Israel and most of its neighbors, and largely stemmed the criminal penetration of the central and south American gangs and cartels into the United States of America.
Then came the Chinese COVID-19 virus in January 2020. Among other shortcomings of the system, the pandemic brought forth the long-term problems of the federal administration that he attempted to change. Former President Trump has created a movement that is alive and well to the present day. Yet, politically he has remained a solitary figure, belonging to nobody and yet to every American. Thus symbolically, he has embodied in his person the past, the present, and the future of America. Clearly, for three years, he was one of the most successful presidents the United States of America have had in the almost two hundred fifty years of its history. This is not to say that those three very successful years were not turbulent. The “Resist” movement by the Democrats, the “Never Trump” Republicans, the Black Lives Matter radicals, the idiotic Antifa criminals, the irrationally biased media and Social Platforms, all allied themselves to thwart him at every step. His answer to this relentless opposition was twofold and fundamentally contradictory. On the one hand, he insisted that the rule of law shall be strictly obeyed and followed. On the other hand, however, he was ready to break the laws when he believed that his resistance would help America to be protected and to be stronger.
His achievements in America’s recovery following the post-Reagan era insignificant decades of the Clinton-Bush-Obama triumvirate, are as impressive as that of any great democratic leader of the 19th and 20th centuries. President Trump has always believed that loyalty to the constitution would strengthen the Republic and democracy. Commander, stage manager and star of his movement to make America great again, he bathed in the unconditional adoration of his followers. His defense of American interests was unfailing. As President he took literally the constitutional mandate that the head of the Executive Branch is the President. Therefore, the secretaries of his cabinet were there to execute his policies, which he set with minimal consultation. Those who stood up to him were mostly summarily dismissed. He also believed that America looked for strong leadership that he always strived to provide.
Although former President Trump was indeed a revolutionary chief executive in his own way, even he could not set a lasting mark for a nation so starkly divided between conservatives and those who adamantly refuse to integrate and assimilate into the constitutional order of the United States of America. His handling of the pandemic was in a way self-defeating. While the full nature of the new coronavirus was still unknown and the medical community was hopelessly divided over the measures that might mitigate or even stop the spread of the virus, former President Trump wanted to demonstrate strong leadership. However, the virus turned out to be more complex and, therefore, more unpredictable than the so-called experts predicted. Meanwhile, the economy began to weaken and unemployment rose. Coupled with the political unrest that engulfed the Democrat-led communities, America started to descend into chaos.
Since former President Trump assumed leadership from the get go, the blame largely fell on him. In the second half of 2020, the majority of Americans became prisoners of their visceral mistrust of the federal government. Although most Americans wanted to see their country as exceptional, bequeathed to them by the founding fathers and their successors, they developed their doubts about the existing state of affairs. Historically, if present realities contradicts the prevailing political vision, and the people’s faith in their president’s ability to handle the problems facing them weakens, these combined occurrences would leave them feeling uncertain about the future, opening them up to the siren voices of extremist illusions. In this mental condition, they start to long for unity instead of division, tranquility against political and social unrest. Yet, ironically, when such efforts fail, as they always do, compromise becomes suspect. The results are the reemergence of old divisions – multiplied by new once -, ethnic and religious factionalism, personal and ideological conflicts in the historic tradition of the nation. Quick and mindless recourse to mayhem and distraction then escalates to ubiquitous social chaos.
Once again, Washington, D.C. is out of step with the nation. The American national identity, which is firmly anchored in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, contain the principled ideas of the Republic. Yes, the history of this Republic has not been perfect. However, set against some flaws are the many achievements both domestically and internationally, which are more than sufficient reasons for justifiable national pride. Nor has the history of the last decade been all negative by any means. Those who love America can point to the country’s strength, to its inherent goodness, its morality, its guarantees of the rule of law, good healthcare, liveable pensions, long lives, and almost eight decades of peace. However, for fast every plus there has been a minus lately. Minority groups arrogantly as well as aggressively claim victimhood status and with it demand only rights without responsibilities. To wit, they demand impunity from punishment for criminal acts with the cynical explanation of fake discrimination and nonexistent racism. While doing nothing or little constructively, they call for ever more slices of the pie and oversized power for themselves to the detriment of the majority.
To top this insanity, teaching organizations resist reforms and hide behind the Democrat Party and its affiliated organizations. As a result, elementary education has tanked and so has the quality of secondary education. Vocational training has been deteriorating, especially in comparison to Europe and Asia. Logically, tensions between parents and teachers have risen, particularly since the pandemic. Enrolment in private and charter schools has risen steadily, accounting for almost 30% nationally. Colleges and graduate schools have turned increasingly into places of indoctrination instead of teaching. Indoctrination, in turn, has given rise to intolerance, censorship, intimidation, and outright authoritarianism in higher education.
There is a palpable and deepening disaffection among the younger generations. The majority of these people have the unsettling feeling that the United States of America is not living up to its ideals and its potentials. Thus, the spreading sense of victimhood. Demands for social justice, reparations, reexamination of the past, cancel culture, the growth of false identities and identity crises, are eroding the political, economic, social, and moral fabric of the country. Revolution is called for, while the nation remains mostly conservative in its mentality. For the majority, that fact that the United States of America is in a turmoil is reason for sadness that goes beyond the notion of manifest destiny. The turbulences of the last decade, especially the four years of the Trump presidency, affected all parts of the nation. Yet, the elections of 2020 were an evasion of reality. While the results might appear to be politically convenient, prolonging a clear decision could prove to be a disaster. Increasingly it appears that the fault lies with the American people. As President Reagan said: “Our whole system of government is based on “We the People,” but if we the people don’t pay attention to what’s going on, we have no right to bellyache or squawk when things go wrong.” Accordingly, the opposition to the present idiocy must find and work out a realistic alternative acceptable to the majority of the American people. For that to be accomplished, politicians ready and able to rally this majority behind a positive vision must be found and supported. The “We the People” cannot allow a rudderless administration to keep them hostage of a fraudulent history and its untrue narratives.
More than 30 Democrats serving in the United States have written President Joe Biden asking him to consider expanding the number of people involved in the decision to launch a nuclear strike, the New York Post reported Thursday.
“As president, two of your most critical and solemn duties are the security of the country and the safeguarding of its nuclear arsenal,” the letter reads, noting the president’s sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons assures keeping them under civilian control.”
The request was not because of concerns over Mr. Biden’s health, advanced age, or because some commentators have expressed doubts about his mental fitness. Instead, the letter said, the issue was being raised at this time because “Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons” – which a footnote explains is a reference to tweets posted by former President Donald J. Trump directed at North Korean President Kim Jong Un – and because they have “exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment.”
The latter point, another footnote indicates, is a reference to an attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to inject herself into the string of command over U.S. nuclear weapons after the November election by reaching out to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Several legal scholars have suggested that by doing so, Mrs. Pelosi vastly exceeded her authority under the U.S. Constitution and could, under different circumstances, have found herself under investigation for doing so.
The Democrats writing to Mr. Biden proposed a variety of alternatives to the current procedures should Mr. Biden agree to surrender the authority currently vested solely in the president to order the use of nuclear weapons. These include:
“We respectfully request that you. As president, review ways in which you can end the sole authority you have to launch a nuclear attack and to install additional checks and balances into the system,” the letter concludes.
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee slammed the effort, the Post reported. GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wy., Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Turner, R-Ohio, released a statement calling the idea “dangerous.”
“The President of the United States must have the exclusive ability to command and control our nuclear deterrent. Democrats’ dangerous efforts suggesting a restructuring of our nuclear command and control process will undermine American security, as well as the security of our allies,” the three said.
“These proposals, if enacted, would leave Americans vulnerable, destabilize the nuclear balance, and shake our allies’ confidence in the nuclear umbrella. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping would cheer if the United States adopted such a unilateral restriction,” Cheney, Rodgers, and Turner continued.
The suggestions offered by Panetta and Lieu in their letter would, if adopted, be the most far-reaching effort to reduce the president’s constitutional authority as commander-in-chief of any effort since the War Powers Act was adopted in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
The White House has not yet commented on the letter but that does not mean the proposal is by any means dead. In fact, say some Republicans, it sounds just like the kind of thing a President Joe Biden would love to take up, regardless of the way conceptually it could make the United States more vulnerable to an attack rather than make the world safer.
The man generally considered the most powerful and possibly the most corrupt politician in Illinois abruptly resigned his seat in the state legislature Thursday after being denied another term as Speaker of the State House of Representatives.
Michael (Mike) Madigan, who for years has ruled the Illinois Democratic Party and political machine with an iron hand said he would give up at the end of February the seat he’d held for half a century as concerns mounted over what the Chicago Tribune called “a sprawling federal corruption probe” into events in which it has been suggested Madigan may have been involved.
The scandal that eventually brought the powerful Democratic leader down erupted after federal prosecutors said leaders of Commonwealth Edison had bribed Madigan associates in exchange for help from his political organization passing legislation deemed favorable to its interests. One of those most closely involved in the scheme was former state representative and ComEd lobbyist Michael McCain, whom the Tribune described as being “One of Madigan’s closest confidants.”
Madigan has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the scheme. Nonetheless, it is the straw that broke the camel’s back of a career that saw him looming large over every aspect of Illinois politics. More than a handful of his Democratic colleagues cited the scandal as the reason they could not vote to give him another term as Speaker.
“It’s no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements lifting up the working people of Illinois,” Madigan said in a statement. “I have been resolute in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the interests of the people of Illinois.”
His speakership, which began in 1983, lasted nearly 40 years and is one of the longest on record anywhere in the United States. Before his colleagues declined to re-elect him, the closest he ever came to losing his grip on power came in 1994 when, as part of the Contract of America election the Republicans won control of the Illinois Legislature for a single term.
His replacement as Speaker, Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, is seen as a Madigan loyalist who, in a statement thanked him for his “sincere and meaningful contributions to our state.”
“Under him, we’ve had strong, sustained Democratic leadership in Springfield,” Welch said, referring to the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, and the abolition of the death penalty, which began in earnest under former GOP Gov. George Ryan.
“Now we must build on that with a new generation of leadership focused on racial and gender equity in all dimensions, improving government transparency, and leading with the kind of conviction, compassion, and cooperation expected by our constituents,” Welch continued.
Big labor leaders whose alliances with Madigan were the source of his power also complemented the outgoing Speaker. Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter called him a “steadfast, dedicated, and courageous champion of workers and their families in Illinois for a generation,” the Sun-Times reported.
Despite his resignation, Madigan remains a significant player in Illinois politics – at least for the time being. He spawned a political dynasty that includes his adopted daughter Lisa, the Illinois Attorney General from 2003 to 2019. He will remain chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and will continue to be the Democratic Committeeman for Chicago’s 13th Ward which, according to published reports, gives him an outsized role in picking his successor.
The federal probe into state corruption and any possible role Madigan may have played in it is expected to continue.
The resolution predicts the national debt will reach $41 trillion in 2030.
Congressional Democrats are currently using the budget reconciliation process to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and stimulus measure, the American Rescue Plan. The budget reconciliation process can be used to move federal spending, debt, and budget bills more quickly through the legislative process.
Friday, Senate Democrats used this process to approve a concurrent resolution that calls for a $3.8 trillion federal deficit this fiscal year followed by a $1.5 trillion deficit in 2022. Committees in the House and Senate still need to draft the actual coronavirus stimulus legislation but the resolution, which also includes 10 years of projected federal budget data, forecasts the national debt reaching a total of $41 trillion in the 2030 fiscal year. The national debt is currently over $27 trillion.
Because the national debt includes intragovernmental borrowing—money that the federal government owes to itself—it is a less useful measure of overall federal indebtedness than debt held by the public. Debt held by the public consists of all Treasury securities held by individuals and organizations that are not part of the federal government. Much of the debt held by the public has been purchased by the Federal Reserve, which is technically not part of the federal government. The budget anticipates this debt will rise to $36.5 trillion in 2030.
It is possible to compute projected debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratios by dividing the publicly held debt projections from the Senate resolution by the Congressional Budget Office’s new GDP forecasts, which were released on Feb. 1.
The results of such a comparison are worrying. As shown in Figure 1, by the end of the current fiscal year, publicly-held debt as a percentage of GDP is forecast to eclipse its previous peak of 106 percent reached just after World War II. The ratio continues to rise gradually through 2030 when it is expected to reach 115 percent.
Figure 1: Federal Debt Held by the Public As a Percent of GDP
As the chart shows, there was a large uptick in recent years, with President Donald Trump adding nearly $8 trillion to it during his four-year presidency. And these projections for future budgets through the 2030 fiscal year could be underestimating the debt, as the report assumes the federal government will make an unlikely return to budgets with sub-trillion-dollar deficits in 2024, 2026, and 2027.
The debt forecast also does not include the impact of potential new spending, like the infrastructure package President Biden has called for, which Congress may attempt to pass through a second budget reconciliation.
While debt-to-GDP ratios in excess of 100 percent may be manageable in an environment with low interest rates, if interest rates spike upward then debt service costs could quickly crowd out other federal spending and economic activity. In the most extreme cases, spiraling debt could eventually help cause a sovereign debt crisis like those seen in Argentina and Greece in recent years.
Polarization, or a tendency toward the extremes, is a matter of degrees and frequently vexes free and democratic government. The hyper-polarization that disfigures American politics today — the determination to view fellow citizens who vote differently as mortal enemies — subverts free and democratic government.
A healthy liberal democracy thrives on a diversity of opinions. Hashing matters out in public frequently gets messy and often makes a hash of matters. But the gains that come from putting competing opinions to the test of open discussion with fellow citizens representing a range of perspectives and parties offset the inconveniences and unlovely aspects of democratic give-and-take. Free-flowing debate exposes errors to the light of day, refines evidence and argument, and develops the habit of listening and considering before dismissing or embracing.
The hyper-polarization that plagues the United States stifles the conversation among citizens that is democracy’s lifeblood. To benefit from the public exchange of opinion — indeed, to sustain it – citizens must respect others and trust that their views will be heard fairly and responded to in civil fashion. That can’t happen when a significant segment of the right despises the left and believes they are enemies of the state and a significant segment of the left despises the right and believes they are enemies of the state.
Hyper-polarization differs from the endless disagreements about policy and the normal opportunism and hypocrisy that mark democratic debate. Between 2001 and 2016, for example, views on executive power tended to reflect preferences in the most recent presidential election. As polarization intensified, the opportunism and hypocrisy got harder to swallow, but the controversies followed a familiar pattern.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, Republicans argued for far-reaching presidential powers, encompassing the authority to employ highly coercive interrogation techniques against enemy combatants, to detain them indefinitely, and to intercept a wide range of foreign and domestic communications. Democrats accused Bush of shredding the Constitution.
Subsequently, Democrats defended President Barack Obama’s still more expansive interpretation of presidential power. It included sending Americans into battle in Libya without congressional authorization, making new law through executive fiat to grant approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants the eligibility for temporary legal status, and promulgating a “dear colleague letter” that sidestepped the legally prescribed regulatory process in order to compel colleges and universities to deny the accused in campus sexual-misconduct cases elementary due-process protections. Republicans were aghast not only at Obama’s substantive policies but at the latitudinous view of executive power that informed them.
Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 Republican primaries changed the terms of the debate. While frequently speaking in characteristically grandiose and sweeping terms of the extent of his power as president, President Trump did not surpass Bush or Obama in expanding executive power. Nevertheless, the self-proclaimed “resistance” to Trump’s presidency — launched before he entered the White House and set in motion publicly and behind the scenes before he won the election — indefatigably challenged his very exercise of executive power.
With Trump’s presidency, polarization in America turned into hyper-polarization. The anger and bitterness that had been increasingly rearing their ugly heads metastasized into fury and hate engulfing the body politic.
To slow down the spread of these destructive passions and lower the temperature of American politics, it will be necessary to exercise virtues of evenhandedness, toleration, and civility while embracing shared principles that can frame political controversies, bridge disagreements, and yield accommodations and compromises — sometimes favoring the right, sometimes favoring the left — with which both sides can live. In “The President Who Would Not Be King: Executive Power Under the Constitution,” Michael McConnell exhibits those virtues and shows that those principles can be discovered in the Constitution.
A Stanford Law School professor and my colleague at the Hoover Institution, McConnell did not in the first place undertake to counter hyper-polarization. The work of an eminent scholar of constitutional law, his book authoritatively reconstructs the original understanding of Article II — which lays out the scope and character of the president’s powers, eligibility for the office and the manner in which the president is chosen, presidential duties, and the actions for which the president may be removed from office — and related constitutional provisions in order to illuminate contemporary controversies over executive power.
At the same time, McConnell’s study of the Constitution’s original design and his treatment of executive power furnish a nonpartisan standpoint for organizing partisan political disputes of all shapes and sizes. In addition, his unfailing judiciousness in considering evidence, sorting through claims, and reasonably interpreting and impartially applying constitutional principles provides a model of virtues that undergird free and robust discussion.
Among the leading questions at the Philadelphia convention of 1787, according to McConnell, was how to “achieve the independence, vigor, secrecy, and dispatch necessary for an effective executive without rendering him an elected monarch?” Taking advantage of executive power — which, as the president’s constitutional responsibility as commander-in-chief demonstrates, extends well beyond implementing the law made by the legislative branch — without opening the door to illiberal and anti-democratic government remains the central question for constitutional government concerning presidential power.
To understand the delegates’ answer, McConnell argues, we must become students of history. Only by grasping how the Constitution’s clauses would have been understood by Americans at the time of the document’s drafting and ratification by the states can we appreciate the Constitution’s legal meaning. That in turn requires detailed examination of British political and legal history in which the drafters were steeped as well as of the writings of Locke and Montesquieu among other seminal thinkers who shaped the era’s leading ideas and major intellectual currents.
Some will disparage — or praise — such an approach as conservative. In fact, it lies at the very heart of the judicial enterprise. If federal judges confronting cases and controversies about the supreme law of the land are not construing the Constitution as understood by those who composed it and expressly consented to it — the authority of which is tacitly affirmed in every generation by those who live under it and enjoy the rights it secures and the prosperity it promotes — then they depart from the specific grant of power the Constitution assigns to the judicial branch.
Because language is malleable, judges will encounter — in even the most carefully crafted charters of government — play in the joints and face the responsibility of filling in gaps, overcoming ambiguities, and reconciling conflicts. Whether they discharge that responsibility in light, or in defiance, of the Constitution’s text, structure, and history makes all the difference.
“Constitutional text and original meaning are the only hope we have for finding principles that could constrain modern assertions of presidential prerogative,” writes McConnell. And the principles of free and democratic government embedded in the Constitution are the only hope we have for establishing a common ground on which to conduct constructive public discourse; refine opinions about law, policy, and politics; and advance the public interest.
McConnell places on a sounder footing the jurisprudence of the presidency and the separation of powers. Legal scholars and experts in political ideas and constitutional government will derive great benefit from his meticulous and trenchant account of the work of the Philadelphia convention; of the distribution between Congress and the presidency of what were considered “royal powers” in the British political tradition; of the internal logic of Article II; and, not least, of the application of constitutional text and original meaning to classic Supreme Court cases and contemporary controversies about executive power.
Amid the hyper-polarization racking the country, McConnell’s demonstration of the centrality and wisdom of the Constitution along with the spirit of his argument, at once rigorous and generous, also contribute to the still more urgent task of stabilizing liberal democracy in America.
In his inaugural address, President Joe Biden used the word “unity” 11 times to highlight his commitment to bringing the American people together. According to one new poll, it didn’t have much of an effect. His call for a new togetherness to fight what he called “common foes” including resentment, disease, hopelessness, anger, and lawlessness appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
Whatever Biden may have said, most voters, a Rasmussen Reports telephone and online survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters “think the country has become more divided since Election Day.”
According to the poll, fewer than 1 out of every 5 are “very confident” Mr. Biden will be able to bring Americans together. A majority of those answering the survey – 56 percent – said divisions have increased since the November 2020 election while just 16 percent said they thought the country was “more united.”
Personally, Mr. Biden is doing better than his calls for national healing. His job approval, based on the averaging of six different national polls, stood at 56 percent – not exactly at traditional “Honeymoon” levels but higher than his immediate predecessor was ever able to achieve.
One way in which Mr. Biden himself may have exacerbated existing divisions has been through his aggressive use of executive orders to repeal or make changes to policies enacted during the presidency of Donald J. Trump.
While most of his predecessors – Republicans and Democrats – used this power sparingly during their initial days in office, Mr. Biden has been on something of a tear, issuing nearly two score and counting in his first weeks on the job. One of them, which rescinds the permitting for the Keystone XL pipeline at an estimated cost of more than 10,000 union jobs, has further inflamed the blue vs. green split in the Democratic Party between industrial workers and environmental activists.
The data indicates Mr. Biden has a tough needle to thread moving forward. The coalition that elected him is held together by very thin wire despite his having won a record-shattering 80 million-plus votes in the last election. Without Mr. Trump to keep progressives and Democrats united against a common enemy, the new president’s need to satisfy the demands of the people who put him in office will repeatedly come into conflict over the remainder of his term.
The Rasmussen Reports survey was conducted after Biden’s inauguration on January 25-26, 2021. The data has a reported sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
About two years ago, one of my wife’s best friends began to turn down invitations to get together. Then, out of the blue, she unfriended my wife on Facebook.
That’s kind of a rude way to brush off someone, so my wife finally asked her: What gives? Have I offended you? Her terse text response was full of self-righteousness: “John (her husband) and I are so appalled by the things that Steve writes that we don’t want to associate with you anymore.”
I wasn’t offended that they disagree with my positions or even that they felt our political disagreements are so wide that we probably shouldn’t hang out together anymore. After all, we are two Americas today.
What stuck in my craw was the word “appalled.” It was her way of saying: “We are better people than you. We have higher standards.” “Appalled” is the outrage you feel when someone gets drunk and starts hitting on your wife.
I recite the incident because it is an example of how liberals have anointed themselves as not just intellectually but morally superior to those on the right. Welcome to the “religious left.”
A case in point: the Boston Globe recently printed a front-page opinion piece by the paper’s liberal columnist Yvonne Abraham, who denounced the idea of any “unity” agenda with Republicans or conservatives. “Here’s the thing about unity,” she snuffed. “To achieve it, you have to believe in a common good. And most members of this Republican Party have demonstrated over and over that they simply don’t.” You can’t find common ground with a movement “defined by lies.”
Of course, the irony here is that it is President Joe Biden, not Republicans, who is pledging an agenda to unify the country. But so far, the new administration’s position seems to be: Why bother to find common ground when you control all of the levers of governmental power and you can steamroll over them instead?
What is to be gained by uniting with people who are “white supremacists” or “insurrectionists”?
Most everyone I know on the right agrees that violence is rarely, if ever, an acceptable form of political protest.
Do liberals? The new vice president of the United States called the liberal mobs who ransacked cities this summer “social justice warriors.” Apparently, it is excusable to burn down a building or assault a police officer if you are protesting racial injustice, climate change, abortion rights or cuts in social programs.
The Trump Haters say that the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol are guilty of a treasonable offense. OK, but several years ago, when many thousands of “social justice warriors” (i.e., union thugs) stormed past the police and occupied the domed Capital building in Madison for days, the media celebrated.
Abraham is right about unity. America is now a country divided into Hatfields and McCoys. In just his first four days in office, it’s clear there isn’t going to be any unifying of the country under Biden. That was a hollow campaign slogan that has swirled down the drain as the White House issued executive orders, such as killing the Keystone XL pipeline, that have infuriated conservatives. The absurd House snap-impeachment of former President Donald Trump a few days before he was to leave office was absurd enough, but not nearly as divisive as the apparent Senate plans to go ahead with a trial.
Biden said he “doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States.” Really? Then why is one of his first proposals a blue-state bailout to the tune of $350 billion — to be paid by the Republicans in red states. That is a financial insurrection against the half of the states that are not run by Democrats.
The left doesn’t want unity with the right. It wants submission. They don’t think we live up to their standards of proper behavior and righteousness.
If these are the people that are collectively “unfriending” us on Facebook and in the grocery stores, that’s fine by us. Frankly, the feeling is mutual.
Let's be honest: The right is making a forced retreat. Here's how we can make it a strategic one that sets our ideas up for better success in the long run.
Joe Biden’s inauguration is a sad day for those of us on the right, and it’s not just because — either through actual votes or through deliberate election confusion — we lost the Senate and presidency. It’s because so many of us are deeply aware of what Democrat reign means.
It means the acceleration of mass murder and forcing taxpayers to pay for it. It means, as my boss Ben Domenech puts it, “nuns are back on the menu.” It means, as I’ve pointed out, the increase of public schools destroying children’s innocence and facilitating minors’ access to drugs that enable HIV-positive sex. It means an entrenchment of the institutional racism of critical race theory in every institution possible, also pushed by taxpayer funds.
It means Democrats rig more structures of American life against those who disagree with them, possibly preventing us from ever having a meaningful voice in our own governance again. It means the proliferation of government spending that accelerates our nation’s likelihood of devastating economic collapse. It means frighteningly labeling half the country “domestic terrorists,” a label that prepares for stripping more of our rights. All this, in turn, makes us increasingly vulnerable to foreign enemies, propagandists, and demagogues.
This is a weight that is difficult for the perceptive to bear. Those of us who deeply treasure what makes America itself are again staring into the abyss of the genuine possibility that what we love about our country may be truly lost forever, as not just lambasted authors of Flight 93 essays but also highly studied, more tonally measured observers such as Charles Murray think is quite clear from the data.
While these losses do mean the increase of genuine moral evils and therefore deserve to be mourned, all is not lost. Yes, we’re forced to retreat, but let it be a strategic, orderly, cunning retreat, not a chaotic retreat that breaks into a rout.
There are now numerous strategic advantages and strategies available to the people who love America, if we choose to employ and enlarge them. With them we may begin, if not to “save America,” at least to enlarge some space for living more closely to America’s founding principles than we inhabit now and to mitigate the evils that are to come.
Those of us who have been paying attention are now highly aware that corporate media and corporate tech are a bicephalic propaganda monster. We’ve learned through a 2020 of constant lies, information control, and gaslighting — from COVID to Hunter Biden — that the quickest way to guess the truth is, as in communist countries, to read what state media are saying and then assume the opposite.
While it’s frightful that corrupt, pedophile-enabling corporate media control our lives right down to the air we are allowed to breathe and whether we are allowed to honestly support our families, and that the majority of Americans either believe their outright lies or are heavily influenced by them, this knowledge is also highly useful. For it means that Americans are not necessarily supportive of socialism and baby murder and all the other things that Democrats do when in power. It means that our country still includes a lot of well-meaning people who love America but have been deeply deceived enough to turn it over to its worst enemies.
This means Democrats do not have, in any way, shape, or form, a mandate to perpetrate the policies upon which they are about to embark. Their empire is built on a throne of lies. And empires like that are weak and unstable, as Democrats’ fortification of the capitol and crazy accusations that U.S. soldiers who voted for Trump are traitors also projects.
This weakness means danger, but also opportunity. We must be ready to bind up the wounds and welcome to our ranks those the left’s culture war has devastated. We must do our utmost to dispel the lies that give the left power. Information warfare — in education and media contexts, primarily — should be a top priority.
Additionally, this means (metaphorical) war against corporate and tech media dominance is highly needed and will be effective. It has plenty of room and need for growth. It also means that citizens need to do more to combat media lies and provide the basic information Americans need and which big media takeovers have entirely hollowed out. Their lies need to not only be exposed, but replaced with truth.
I’d start with forming local blogs focused on local information-sharing about basic entities like the school board, city council, election laws and procedures, and district attorney. It’s not that hard to go to a meeting and write a 800-word summary of what happened. Get a dozen friends and divide up the job.
Ask DA and county sheriff’s candidates their positions on the crazy things Democrats are doing like springing rioters and enabling opioid spread, and publish what they do or don’t say. Stop railing on Facebook and start attending public meetings and writing about them on your own local group blog.
As a part of Democrats’ lack of awareness they lack a mandate other than “don’t be Trump,” they are going to overshoot, big time. They are going to enact many extremist ideas. Even the propaganda media won’t be able to entirely hide this from Americans. And there will be backlash.
This will heighten the contradictions between Democrat leadership and many current Democrat base voters who are staying with the party even though its priorities hurt them and the nation. The lack of Trump as an all-purpose leftist scapegoat will assist with this.
As has been widely noted, Trump was able to break through some of the racial stereotypes about what it means to be a Republican or Democrat and earn more nonwhite support. With him in retirement, those of us on the right have the opportunity to continue making his case without being saddled with his baggage.
This is a huge opportunity. Without Trump to use as an excuse for everything, Democrats are going to provide clarity to many more voters that they are actually the totalitarians they project onto the right. They are going to harass nuns, foster parents and agencies, Christian camps, and minorities who disagree with them. They are going to be more obviously the party of the rich and corrupt.
It’s a bad look. And it will turn voters away. Again, we need to be ready to welcome these voters even if they are not ideologically “pure.” I’d rather have a wasteful social welfare state that murders fewer babies, supports free speech, and doesn’t harass nuns than a corporate welfare state that harasses the poor and religious. If that is the tradeoff we get, I’ll take it.
In the wake of the capitol riots that weren’t perpetrated by Black Lives Matter, big corporations and chambers of commerce have pulled their high-dollar donations from many Republicans and Republican political funds. Good.
For years, elected Republicans offered lip service and placebos to their base voters and did what big corporate donors actually wanted, which hurt their voters and structurally undermined their long-term support, such as through mass illegal immigration. This has rightly fueled the public perception that Republicans care only about money and rich people, rather than an equal playing field for all and the common good. Now without those donations, they have no reason to offend and harm large numbers of voters to suck up to a small number of donors. This will make them more competitive and less corrupt.
Behavior like the below, for example, will erase the financial incentive for Republican officeholders to provide special breaks and bailouts for businesses that pay politicians big money to slant the legal playing field in their favor. Trump has made for a GOP that is far more competitive in the small-dollar online donor space. This will further help low-information voters see that Democrats are the party of the corrupt at the expense of the people, and make the GOP less so.
COVID shutdowns with no end in sight are a violation of our natural, constitutional, and human rights. However, as with a Biden administration coming to power, this evil also will cause damage to those who attempt to wield it against their enemies.
It will mean a quicker downfall of many corrupted institutions, from “churches” that don’t proclaim orthodox theology losing parishioners who will never come back from “virtual church” to the death of higher education institutions that have been colluding with corrupt politicians to scam gullible young people out of their futures.
Our country is populated by people who fail to the top. But the more of them there are, the more enemies they make and the weaker their rigged systems become. And the more aware their opponents and the people caught in the middle become of their decay.
This will mean more cultural, theological, and philosophical refugees. Ready the lifeboats for them now.
Let every locale where it is possible create the most secure voting systems in the world. Let every locale where it is possible elect and support sheriffs who will not allow a Biden administration to crush Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Let every Republican governor and member of Congress who has lost corporate support now make a ruthless plan to eliminate corporate favors from the entire legal code over which they have jurisdiction.
Let every single town board and town council put Comcast, Verizon, and all other ISPs and broadband providers on notice that if they do not adhere to First Amendment protections for all customers, these local governments will be finding another business to profit from the public infrastructure in their towns. Let every single legislature controlled by Republicans ban the institutional racism of critical race theory in every single public workplace in their state, including universities and public schools. If every elected Republican will not support this, they should be put on record explaining why not, by citizens and their local news blogs.
If the United States is to live under neo-feudalism, in which our rights are subject to the whim of whoever is in power and shift with every election instead of being protected forever equally for all under the Constitution, then let these neo-feudal lords begin to stake their territorial claims and protect their citizens as best they can, severing the levers the abusers of our rights deploy against us (such as federal funding).
Let sanctuary cities and states no longer be only for California. It will be a good thing for the federal government to have more difficulty forcing its schemes on states and local governments.
All this will only accelerate the migration from blue to red states that is already underway.
The sheer extent of the degradation of America’s founding principles and the citizenry who once had the character to live under them clarifies what is at stake. No longer can we pretend that identity group “antidiscrimination” rules are compatible with equal protection or the First Amendment. No longer can we pretend that a government that can dole out unfathomable amounts of money can do so without corrupting both those who give and those who receive this false charity.
We now live among the real-world results of implementing leftist ideology, and it’s not pretty. And no one can really deny it. This is why Democrats take refuge in the culture war, the cult at the core of their secular religion — they have nothing left to offer the masses but bread and circuses.
This is pushing people to make significant life changes towards a more meaningful and integrity-filled way of life, and to seek other people to join this journey. It is also pushing the truly awake people — and a few of our lawmakers — to reach down into the well of first principles to find water in a parched land. This well is an abundant source of life and renewal that many people would not seek if life stayed comfortable.
This is precisely the time for we anti-wokesters to coalesce around principles on which we can all agree. This may be our only hope of survival, in fact. As in the Cold War era, to defeat our common foe we need a broader coalition that is necessarily going to include a lot of people who disagree on a lot of particulars.
To work out our strategies and points of agreement to fight not against each other but against our common foe in the ideology of the totalitarian left, we need to encourage more speech, not less. We need to engage more points of view and be willing to let more people speak, not fewer. We need to not be primarily attacking and tone-policing people of good will who love our country, but primarily facing outward at the barbarians who control the gates and want to destroy our country.
This doesn’t mean there are no morals, that people should be relieved of the burden of proving their assertions, or that we should elevate the voices of people who believe things that have been soundly proven to be wrong (such as Holocaust deniers). It means, however, that instead of banning them from the Internet or refusing to allow them to air their ideas, we should listen with empathy and try to understand their points of view. Our primary orientation should be persuasion, conversion, discussion, and openness, not eradication.
Instead of shutting people up because we disagree with their conclusions, we should ask them to prove their assertions and explain what led them to their stances, as James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian recommend in their excellent book. If it works with Ku Klux Klan members and people in divorce counseling, it can help our country too.
As regarding the capitol rioters, the propaganda narrative depicts us and Trump making a cacophonous, beaten-puppy exit. But in fact, as this week’s impeachment vote and more prove, we are highly unified. The outliers are given outsized voices by corporate media to deceive and demoralize us.
We are not like these rioters in any way, including in making an ignominious exit. Yes, we’re headed for the wilderness circuit that befalls a party out of power, but the truth is, we’ve been out of power this whole time. Trump was undermined and lied to continuously by every branch of the government he was elected to command. The past four years have made this and many other truths much plainer to see. Seeing clearly makes it possible and necessary for us to act prudently.
Being in the wilderness also has its advantages. They include loyalty — not sycophancy, but loyalty of the kind that only arises amid brothers and sisters in arms under constant attack. It teaches us to sacrifice, to become tougher, leaner, smarter, more agile. These are all great assets that may or may not give us a political advantage here in this temporal life, but absolutely make us better fit for eternal life. And the left can never truly command people whose souls are free, no matter how strong they appear to be.
Last year, 621 people died of drug overdoses in San Francisco. To put this in perspective, 173 people died from COVID-19, which is identified as the primary public health crisis in the Bay Area.
For years, San Francisco has tacitly encouraged drug abuse with remarkably lenient policies, and those policies are now inadvertently killing hundreds of people annually. San Francisco uses a policy approach called “harm reduction,” which stresses “culturally competent, non-judgmental treatment that demonstrates respect and dignity for the individual.”
But this approach, as it is practiced within San Francisco, is inhumane and cruel. It is destroying the dignity of the lives that some could have with more sensible policies. In addition to overdose deaths skyrocketing, drug abuse has increased in San Francisco, and it is becoming more difficult for addicts to affect positive change.
If you spend much time in San Francisco, you know this, as several areas of the city have become de facto open-air drug bazaars, with drug abuse and drug sales taking place for all to see. Harm-reduction policies are expanding drug use among youths through the dispensation to homeless adolescents of “safe snorting kits” and “safe smoking kits” for crack use. As if any crack use could be considered “safe.”
There are an estimated 25,000 drug users in San Francisco, which if anything is too low of a count since that estimate is nearly two years old. This exceeds San Francisco’s high school population by more than 50 percent and works out to about 522 drug users per city block. Sadly, thousands of human tragedies unfold every day, eviscerating those who use drugs, and forever affecting the lives of those who see it daily, including many children.
Drug abuse is challenging to treat, but a recent handbook of best practices for substance abuse treatment by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that targeted treatment can be very effective, particularly when intervention occurs early.
But a drawback to San Francisco’s acceptance and facilitation of drug use is that it prevents early intervention. Unless San Francisco completely changes how it views drug abuse, these numbers will become even worse. The country’s most progressive city needs to understand that their policies are creating implicit death sentences for many who could be helped with a different policy approach.
Understanding this begins with the simple economics about drug use, which highlights why harm reduction has failed. On the demand side, drug users come to San Francisco from elsewhere because they know the city tolerates and facilitates drug use, which includes providing free hypodermic needles. While giving away nearly 5 million clean needles annually (which boils down to nearly 6 needles for every San Franciscan) admirably reduces communicable diseases, it has created a public health hazard, because about two million used needles are disposed of on city sidewalks. Over $30 million has been spent on dealing with drug abuse within the public transit system, but one could hardly tell this by viewing transit stations that anything has been done to deal with this issue.
On the supply side, selling drugs in San Francisco has become extremely profitable, given a demand side of 25,000 consumers and the city’s tolerant policies. In contrast to most other cities, the drug trade in San Francisco operates within what is almost a normal marketplace setting, where buyers and sellers can find each other easily, and with a relatively small chance of being arrested. Both of these factors promote relatively low prices, which stimulate demand, and high profits, which stimulate supply.
By normalizing drug abuse, San Francisco has created a perfect storm of a vibrant, well-functioning market of buyers and sellers who trade drugs much like a basket of fruit is traded at a farmer’s market. Unfortunately, the basket that is being traded in San Francisco’s drug bazaar is increasingly becoming the opioid Fentanyl, which can be 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Fentanyl is sufficiently strong that much less than one milligram is used as general anesthesia during major surgery. Just two milligrams—the equivalent of about 25 grains of sand—can be lethal. Emergency personnel responding to a Fentanyl overdose must take precautions so that they do not accidentally inhale Fentanyl. And yet Fentanyl is now being widely traded every day in San Francisco, driving up overdose deaths to about two daily.
What to do? Drug addiction can be treated medically and compassionately without viewing it as part of normal, everyday life, which is what is being practiced today in San Francisco. The city currently allocates over $5 billion to community health and human welfare.
Surely those budgets can be repurposed to treat drug abuse using best practices as outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with greater efforts to identify family members who can assist with treatment and support. At the same time, the city must reduce the amount of Fentanyl and other lethal drugs that are being sold routinely in open-air markets.
Many of San Francisco’s drug users have lost control over their lives. The last thing that drug addicts need is another drug pusher, but this is what San Francisco’s policies have created. Lives can be saved, but not unless policies are changed.
First Dem-controlled gov't in a decade means fights over filibuster, court packing, socialist agenda
Victory in Georgia has guaranteed Democratic control of the White House and Congress, giving President-elect Joe Biden expanded options but also denying him cover from the demands of his party’s radical left wing.
Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff’s surprise double triumph on Tuesday makes possible many of Biden’s more expansive legislative priorities, such as his promised revisions to Obamacare or his $2 trillion climate plan. But it also means that he has lost the convenient excuse of a Republican-controlled Senate, which would have allowed him to refuse the more revolutionary changes endorsed by members of his party.
Instead, progressive groups are already agitating for proposals such as ending the Senate’s filibuster. Eli Zupnick, spokesman for the left-leaning Fix Our Senate, responded to the news of Warnock and Ossoff’s victory with bluntness: “What does this election mean? The filibuster is dead.”
Similar calls will soon emerge from other corners, pushing for court packing, the addition of new states, radical appointees, and the agenda of the House’s socialist “squad” caucus. Paradoxically, Biden’s victory in the Senate may have set up an even greater battle: not against Republicans, but across the ever-growing fault lines which divide his party.
As much is particularly true due to the razor-thin margin by which Democrats control government. They will hold the Senate only through the grace of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, while Republicans chipped away at their already narrow control of the House in the November election.
That margin will come into play over a likely contentious debate over the filibuster. Democrats’ sub-60-vote position means that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) can still stall much of Biden’s agenda, as he did in the latter days of the Obama administration. Recognizing this, soon-to-be majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has repeatedly signaled an openness to ending the practice.
In this, Schumer has been joined by progressive members of his caucus such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), as well as former president Barack Obama. But blue dog senators have been hostile: Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), and Jon Tester (D., Mont.) are all opposed, while Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) has dodged the question. So too has Warnock, while Ossoff offered only a “maybe” when asked.
Abolishing the filibuster would be a prerequisite for another major change Schumer has been eyeing—granting statehood to the District of Columbia and possibly Puerto Rico, guaranteeing two to four more Democrats in the upper chamber. But it would not be necessary to add further justices to the Supreme Court, a move many Democrats agitated for in the wake of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment. Biden has remained conspicuously silent on the issue of court packing, which would require his involvement but would see the ostensible moderate yielding to progressives over the majority of Americans.
Such major changes are not the only place Democratic control could be a headache for Biden. McConnell’s control of the Senate was expected to moderate Biden’s selection for top posts, and the president-elect has leaned toward the center in many of his taps.
But a Democrat-controlled Senate will allow more controversial choices, like the inflammatory OMB pick Neera Tanden, a serious hearing Biden may not have expected. And it could give new life to appointment priorities from the left, like the list of 100 foreign policy progressives that until Tuesday appeared dead on arrival.
A similar headache may await House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), as a smaller caucus gives more power to the growing “squad” of Democratic socialists in her chamber. A cadre of online progressives spent the days leading up to the vote for speaker agitating for Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), and others to withhold their votes unless Pelosi agreed to allow a vote on Medicare for All. Ocasio-Cortez shot down the idea but acknowledged it—indicating future pressure efforts may be more fruitful.
Pelosi, in other words, could experience a redux of the standoffs that defined the relationship between former speaker John Boehner and the House Freedom Caucus, which ended with Boehner’s resignation. Biden, similarly, risks his agenda being hijacked—not by obstreperous Republicans, as expected, but by members of his own party eager to seize power.