Before every election politicians of both parties can be heard proclaiming that “this will be the most important election of your lifetime.” This is rarely true although it’s always the most important of the politician’s lifetime whose future prospects turn on the outcome. This time, though, they may well be right.
The “progressives” who today dominate the Democratic Party find themselves unable to accept the results of elections that put people like Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump in the White House and have vowed that given the chance they will change the rules to prevent such unthinkable electoral results in the future.
Progressives have considered George W. Bush and Donald Trump illegitimate presidents who cheated by suppressing the minority vote and relying on an outdated and “undemocratic” Electoral College to thwart the popular will or, in Trump’s case, conspired with Moscow to fool a “deplorably” and racist electorate into voting for a man who shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the White House.
If the Democrats win the Presidency in November and gain control of the Senate at the same time, they are likely to act decisively on the vow to fundamentally change America. Democratic leaders have said that they will eliminate the Senate filibuster if Republicans try to use it to thwart their plans and to expand or “pack” the Supreme Court. Like President Franklin Roosevelt, they would pack the Court to eliminate judicial constitution-based objections to their programs. If voters give them the “unified” control of the government they seek, both of these goals will be within reach.
As a candidate, Joe Biden has held himself aloof from these plans, but refuses to disavow them. He has even claimed voters don’t “deserve” to know his position on court-packing and says he will withhold judgment on eliminating the filibuster until he sees if Senate Republicans are going to try to stand in the way of his agenda. The former Vice President may--as his managers maintain--be more a centrist at heart than those now in control of the Democratic Party, but he has always been a party man above all else. For decades he has adjusted his own views to conform with those of whichever faction dominates his party any given time and that isn’t likely to change if he makes it to the White House.
Much of the analysis of what might follow a Biden victory in November focuses on whether Biden will really reverse the Trump-era tax cuts, roll back the regulatory reforms that so many businesses welcomed, further restrict firearms ownership and possession, improve relations with China or rejoin the Paris Accords, and implement his version of the “Green New Deal.”
If Biden wins the Presidency and his party finds itself in control of the Senate, Democrats will certainly reverse many of the policies implemented by his predecessor, but the more important and far-reaching consequences of a Biden victory will be fundamental changes to the very structure of the republic. The Constitution’s protections for the pesky minority will disappear, along with the opportunity to regain power in elections once ballot harvesting is legalized nationally and the states are prevented by law from requiring any form of voter identification or cleaning up their voting rolls by to eliminate voters who have died, moved to another state or are for other reasons ineligible to vote in national and state elections.
An outline of the systemic restructuring Biden and the Democrats envision can be found in this year’s Democratic Party platform and in H.R. 1, the election “reform” legislation Democratic Congressional leaders made their first priority in the Congress just ending and which they promise to pass in the next after rebranding it as “civil rights” legislation. This legislation would strip states of their constitutionally mandated responsibility to administer and safeguard the integrity of our elections. It would prevent them from cleaning up voter rolls and take away the states’ role in Congressional and legislative redistricting and criminalize much campaign speech.
Much of what is included in this legislation is blatantly unconstitutional, but that can be solved by expanding the size of the Supreme Court so that whatever laws the new unified progressive government enacts will be found “constitutional” by a court subservient to the legislative and executive branches of that government.
Add to this the pledge to eliminate the Senate filibuster and grant statehood to Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia which, in political terms, amounts to “packing” the Senate so that Republicans will have little ability to influence the workings of that body or to harbor realistic hopes of retaking it in a future election. Taken together these proposals are little more than a formula for institutional reform that will disenfranchise those who disagree with the progressive vision of society and make it very difficult for dissenters to win future elections
The progressives who dominate former Vice President Biden’s party want more: restrictions on speech to silence those with whom they disagree and who they consider not just wrong, but evil along with the adoption of new laws that will make it difficult for opponents of their brave new world to organize and operate. They won’t get all they want in the short run, but if a Biden-Harris Administration can implement what most progressives see as the first steps in establishing them as a permanent electoral majority this year’s election will indeed prove to be the most important of our lifetimes.
David Keene was formerly the Opinion Editor of the Washington Times and is a member of the board of the Center for the National Interest.
Image: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gestures as he delivers remarks at a Voter Mobilization Event campaign stop at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner.