Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the Democratic caucus had agreed to add an additional $3.5 trillion package to the budget reconciliation bill that is expected to be soon debated in the Senate. This $3.5 trillion is in addition to the $1.2 trillion that is included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that is also in the final stages of negotiation. Senator Schumer crowed that this was “very close to what President Biden has asked us for” in his American Families Plan.
Forget about how Chuck plans to pay for all this largesse. He will tell you something about making billionaires and rich corporations pay for these new entitlements, but billionaires and rich corporations have many ways to pass those costs on to common folk so in the end either you or your children or grandchildren will end up paying for it.
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. The Biden Administration and the Democrats in Congress intend to use a razor thin majority in the House of Representatives, a tie-breaker vote in the Senate, and a 51.3 % presidential victory as an overwhelming mandate to radically transform America. This transformation goes far beyond the massive spending proposed by the Biden Administration. It includes H.R. 1, the For the People Act, that is intended to give the federal government unconstitutional control of elections that the proponents hope will assure Democratic control of the country for the foreseeable future. It also includes a bevy of executive orders to implement a wide array of progressive policies that have little chance of getting through Congress; including diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training and transgender rights for biological males to compete as females.
And the progressive tide extends far beyond government. College campuses have been hopelessly far-left for years, but now Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project are being pushed into local high schools and even elementary schools. Activists are now pushing “equitable math” instead of just plain old math (and I thought new math was a problem). Colleges are scrapping the SAT and ACT exams because they create disparate outcomes even though these tests have proven over and over again that they are highly predictive of academic success. New York City and Fairfax Country school districts are getting rid of specialized high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science in NYC and Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (ranked number one in the country by thebestschools.org) because their student bodies are disproportionate to the US population.
Corporations are getting “woke” or, at least, pretending to be woke. Many are expanding DEI training (or as some say diversity inclusion and equity (DIE) training) for their employees and making white employees proclaim their fragility in these sessions. Major League Baseball moves the All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver because of supposedly voter suppression laws in Georgia. And the latest darlings on Wall Street are ESG funds where the funds invest in companies based on their environmental, social and governance policies and actions. Add in Black Lives Matter, the Squad, Bernie Bros and Hollywood award shows, and it would seem that America has turned its back on its founding principles and is moving inexorably to far-left socialism.
But why now, when the mandate in Washington is so narrow? Why the push in Congress and the White House? Why the antifa protests in the streets? Why did the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association resolve to support anti-racism and Critical Race Theory? I have my own theory about that, and it may surprise you. I think its desperation. Flood tides are followed by ebb tides and the flood tide of progressivism may soon be receding leaving only spindrift as the residue.
Maybe I am being wildly optimistic, but I think that the progressives have played their hand too soon. Backlash to their nonsense has been mounting. A recent Monmouth poll found that 80% of respondents favor voter ID laws. Parents in Fairfax County are speaking out in townhall meetings to save their schools. Parents in Southlake, Texas voted against their woke school board with opposition to Critical Race Theory winning with 70% of the vote. Biden’s statement that the Georgia voting law (the one that so disturbed Major League Baseball) is Jim Crow 2.0 was outed as a ludicrous hyperbole and given four Pinnochios by the Washington Post (of all places) as the All-Star Game continued its viewership slide. Texas Democrats fleeing the state (with copious amounts of adult beverages) to deny a quorum for a vote on a Texas voting law is obviously political pandering in that the proposed law is more liberal than the voting law in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.
The tide is beginning to turn. Progressives see their window of opportunity beginning to close. They are desperate to put these radical changes into effect while they still can.
The tide might be about ready to change, but don’t rely on it changing without some effort. Once laws are passed and bureaucracies created to administrate those laws, they are very difficult to get rid of. The Rural Electrification Act of 1936 formalized the Rural Electrification Administration that had created by executive order in 1935 by FDR. The Rural Electrification Administration’s name may have changed (it was reorganized as the Rural Utilities Service in 1994), and its mandate may have changed as well, but the bureaucracy is still around after almost ninety years and long after the rural areas of the United States were electrified.
This is the rationale behind the left’s push to pass laws by even the thinnest of majorities, and to create bureaucracies by executive order. Once established bureaucrats will fight tenaciously (backed by their public employees’ union) to maintain programs (and well-paying government jobs).
Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was created by an executive order of President Obama in 2012. DACA is, of course, an usurpation of the powers of Congress but Congress has done nothing to resolve the issue. President Trump tried to get rid of DACA, but several district courts have refused to allow such actions, so the people covered by DACA are allowed to stay in the US and obtain work permits. You may support DACA, or you may not. The point is DACA was created by executive order and has proven very difficult to get rid of. That is why President Biden issued 60 executive orders in his first one hundred days in office.
And I don’t get much comfort from the fact that these hard-core progressive activists are relatively few in number and that they are making independents and even many Democrats nervous with their far-left agenda. Keep in mind that at the time of the overthrow of the Romanov Dynasty in Russia the Bolsheviks were a minority party with only about 24,000 members and they only got 23% of the votes for the Russian Constituent Assembly election. But under Lenin’s fanatical leadership they went on to defeat their rivals and create the Soviet Union. America’s left progressives believe that they are the vanguard of a similar revolution. The Wall Street Journal recently noted that although Joe Biden campaigned as a centrist, many of his key appointments are far-left disciples of Elizabeth Warren.
Progressives view the US Constitution as an impediment to the implementation of their agenda. Many of their stratagems to entrench their policies deep into the fabric of America are vulnerable to attack on legal grounds. Recently, a federal district judge invalidated DACA saying, “As popular as this program might be, the proper origination point for the DACA program was, and is, Congress.” And a Teacher in Evanston, Illinois is suing her school district saying that the mandatory CRT training violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The For the People Act, if it is ever passed into law, will certainly be contested all the way to the Supreme Court.
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is getting desperate. Their charge to transform America has fomented a backlash of resistance from teachers, parents and ordinary people fed up with being called fragile racists when the evidence of decreasing racism is all around them. The flood of immigrants welcomed by the Biden Administration (because even poor immigrants from Central America know that actions speak louder than words) has people thinking that maybe Trump’s wall wasn’t so bad. And rising grocery bills as inflation erupts from incessant fiscal and monetary stimulus are rightly perceived as a tax hike on the poor. The next election is only 15 months away. No wonder progressive Democrats are getting desperate. Their only hope to save their precious far-left agenda is, just as it was in 2020, Donald Trump.