Perspectives From Both Sides on Biden’s First 100 Days in Office
Biden’s Political Overreach will Cost Democrats Dearly
By Robert Wilkes – Senior Correspondent, Divided We Fall
In President Joe Biden’s First 100 Days, we are witnessing the most egregious Democratic political overreach since FDR enacted the unconstitutional National Recovery Act (“New Deal”) during the Great Depression. Rather than quibble about the details, my thesis is best seen from a higher altitude.
For example, we could chew on the question of whether a new voting law is intended to prevent voter fraud or to abet voter suppression. After my experience in many such debates, I know that all the sources in the world won’t answer the question to the satisfaction of either the debaters or the readers. But a contextual framework that appeals to common sense just might work. Rather than thrashing in the weeds of partisan politics, let’s answer the big questions and keep the horizon in view.
Democrats were shocked and angry (to say the least) by the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Even before Biden’s inauguration, they began working with media allies and strategizing steps to prevent a future election to slip through their fingers. The goal of the Democratic National Convention is to never, ever, give up power again. Follow my steps. I’ll prove my case.
Step 1: Weaken the voting laws. Some enhanced access to voting by mail was probably judicious in 2020 because of COVID-19. However the changes went far beyond what was called for by the health emergency. A number of courts and legislatures (in decisions many consider constitutionally dubious) acquiesced or eagerly supported rules that were so lax that 65% of Republicans do not believe Biden’s election was legitimate. Feeling the wind at their backs, Democrats are attempting to make the changes more sweeping and permanent. House Bill 1 (HR1), the “For the People Act,” will shred to tatters the safeguards against fraud and give control of elections—constitutionally the prerogative of the states—to the Federal government. Keep in mind that in the post-HR1 world, the Federal government and the Democratic Party are the same thing.
Step 2: Control the media and the national news narrative. Suppress countervailing news and opinion and discredit disagreeing voices. Convince the public there is a “truth” and anything not their truth is false and seditious. Count on the reliable multibillionaire titans of social media to assist in this effort. Return their loyalty with favorable treatment by regulators.
Step 3: Weaken the traditional and uniquely American reverence for the sovereignty of the individual. Instead, create in-favor and out-of-favor group identities based on ethnicity, citizenship status and sexual orientation. Create systems in which favored groups receive special treatment, have access to power, and are protected by their “champions,” the Democrats. Out-of-favor groups will be cancelled, marginalized, and despised. Build momentum for reparations.
Step 4: Heighten already elevated levels of fear. This is easy in a nation recovering from a pandemic and in lockdown for more than a year. Just have CNN cover almost nothing but COVID for a year with a ticking counter of COVID deaths on the right-hand side of the screen while squeezing every drop of bad news out of the story. Play up the chaos of the government’s response (to a new virus that no one truly understood) even as Operation Warp Speed, a modern-day Manhattan Project, was performing medical miracles. Fear and anxiety benefit the party of collective government as fearful people “need” the government to solve their problems and alleviate their fears. Fear ensures voters stay in the tent in future elections. When COVID is resolved, there will be new reasons to fear.
Step 5: Allow rioting and crime to spiral out of control in the name of “social justice.” Defund and strip away the law enforcement power of the police. Do not arrest, hold, or try anyone unless there is a dead body. Do not patrol in dangerous neighborhoods. Play on white guilt by “righting” the wrongs of the past through lax law enforcement.
Step 6: Rule by executive and administrative fiat. Where the legislative process is required, ignore the opposition and take the bills directly to a floor vote without debate, precluding even the most cursory examination by the public of what the bills include. Use euphemistic names (they’re actually Orwellian, but that term is so overused), such as “For the People Act” and the “American Jobs Plan” to disguise your Trojan horses. The larger the bill, the more social engineering can be larded into the legislation with no examination of the social and economic consequences. As Republicans have pointed out, under 6 percent of the $2 trillion infrastructure bill will go to roads and bridges. It will probably be less than that considering the outlandish permitting and regulatory obstacles to fixing anything within decades of the bill’s passage.
Step 7: Make America permanently a one-party nation controlled by the Democratic Party. Here’s how:
- As in Communist China, good jobs, career advancement and privilege go to those with fealty to the party. Use social media to monitor and “out” troublemakers and unbelievers and “cancel” them. Monitor anything anyone says or has ever said.
- Flood the country with illegal immigrants and redistribute them to red states to turn them blue. The Biden administration’s anemic response to the crisis at the border is evidence that the flood of illegal aliens is an intentional political strategy. The efficacy of this tactic was proven conclusively in California. It works. The California state senate has been controlled by one party, the Democrats, since 1970. Out of 60 senators there are a mere 9 Republicans. The party picks the candidates, and the Democrat virtually always wins. As in China, the Party is the power, not the people.
- Make Washington DC a state. As the home of career federal bureaucrats, DC will never be controlled by Republicans…ever. Trump won 5 percent of the vote in DC in 2020. Every election, the Democrats will start +2 for control of the Senate.
- Gain complete control over the nation’s education system. Make social justice theory and politics (e.g., Democratic Party politics) the primary educational goal of the schools. Do not hire conservative teachers and professors. Control education from kindergarten to PhD.
Just as Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama found out in their mid-term elections, left-wing overreach has a cost. I think the price to Joe Biden for all this will be stunning in 2022. Stand by for a major change in the levers of power.
In Response: One Hundred Days of Restoration and Rebuilding
By Joe Schuman – Editor-in-Chief, Divided We Fall
Thank you for your opener. Naturally, I couldn’t disagree more. To start, the most notable aspect of President Biden’s first 100 days in Office has almost nothing to do with him and everything to do with the absence of his predecessor. Silenced and shamed out of office, Donald Trump, the worst President in U.S. history—the only President to lose the popular vote twice; to be impeached twice along with his multiple, ongoing criminal investigations; and to openly attempt to overthrow the government of the United States of America—is finally gone.
As the insurrection attempt on January 6th unequivocally proved, Donald Trump’s unquenchable egotism almost destroyed our country and trashed our Constitution. Joe Biden’s hallow task, now, is to restore and rebuild. And he is taking the right steps to do just that.
The month that Joe Biden took office, our nation witnessed the greatest domestic threat to the Union since the Civil War. Aided and abetted by President Trump’s “big lie” that the election was rigged, a vigilante crowd of domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol and attempted to overthrow the results of a free and fair democratic election. While the FBI has indicted 400 people to date, the legal system can only begin to restore the rule of law in this country. The damage goes much deeper than crime and punishment. Trump attempted to destroy the constitutional norms that truly make America great including:
- Rule of Law: the idea that the law applies equally and that no one is above the law (including the President);
- Separation of Powers: the idea that checks and balances between independent arms of government produces the best policy, as opposed to, say, intimidating and embarrassing lawfully appointed Judges questioning their heritage and loyalties or pressuring election officials in an attempt to falsely claim victory to an election;
- Respect for our Institutions: the idea that institutions and norms are just as important as laws and elections in upholding the American democratic ideal, in contrast to attacking a free press that holds the elected accountable and a military who serve a cause greater than themselves, who are not losers and suckers.
Joe Biden’s job now is to reverse these dangerous trends and put us back on a course within America’s historical guardrails. It won’t be easy. But here is how he is already starting to do so:
Under President Trump, 400,000 Americans died from COVID-19, about the same number of military deaths in the U.S. as during World War II. On the day Joe Biden assumed office, 187,000 Americans tested positive for COVID, which was down from as high as 300,000 per day earlier than month. As of this writing, the COVID case count has declined to approx. 60,000 cases per day along with 43% of the population having received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine with 3 million more being vaccinated per day. The pandemic is far from over, but Joe Biden indisputably wrestled it under control.
As any fair-minded observer must note, the Trump Administration and Operation Warp Speed, powered by the juggernaut research and development community in the United States, developed a life-saving vaccine in record time. If only Donald Trump took the rest of the pandemic as seriously! Joe Biden certainly does. In addition to reigning in the raging pandemic, Biden worked with Congress, including meeting with Republican Senators to pass the American Rescue Plan, which provides direct financial relief to working class Americans and small businesses. While the plan is far from perfect—hastily passed and bloated with many non-critical expenditures, not to mention the crippling levels of debt it inflicts—it is undeniably popular, with 65-75 percent of Americans supporting it, including 30-40 percent of Republicans. It should be no surprise, then, that Biden’s approval rating is 54 percent, including 50-60 percent of Independents.
You criticize the “For the People Act” (HR 1) as an “unconstitutional grab for permanent power” and an effort that “alters election laws to favor Democrats”. We can debate the merits of specific provisions. For example, I am willing to concede that we should not reduce voter identification restrictions, be it in the form of removing voter ID or signature requirements. But there is a bigger issue at stake here. One party, the Republican Party, wants to make it harder for Americans to vote. Which other provisions of HR 1 do you oppose? Early and absentee voting? Automatic and same day registration? Should we not be making it easier for people to vote (legally and with proper verification, of course)? Instead, Republicans have proposed voting restrictions in 43 states including passing a law in Georgia which prevents food and water distribution to voters waiting in line. Thank goodness those representatives are focusing on the problems that matter… never mind the fact that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. And just because 65 percent of Republicans believe Donald Trump’s “big lie” about the election being rigged does not make it true. This fact is more a sad reflection of our body politic and our elected leaders that have lied to them. Let’s focus on election problems that matter instead: expanding voting access, eliminating gerrymandering, and removing corporate money out of politics.
You critique Biden’s executive orders and say he is ruling by “administrative fiat”. This is nothing new. Joe Biden has issued 40 executive orders to date. But Donald Trump and George W. Bush issued 55 in their first year. Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama issued 250-300 executive across two years whereas Donald Trump issued 220 in only four years! So, this is as much a Republican problem as it is a Democratic problem. Nonetheless, I sympathize with your sentiment as Executive power continues to expand due to the dereliction of duty by the Legislative Branch. Let’s work together to fix hyperpolarization and gridlock in Congress so that we can pass common sense legislation that is approved by a vast majority of Americans on immigration, the environment, infrastructure, and more.
I will concede that immigration has been a real issue Biden’s First 100 Days. There is a crisis on the Southern Border. And even if the Biden administration won’t say it, the deployment of the Federal Emergency Management Agency seems evidence enough. While Trump’s immigration hawkishness went too far, Biden must not undervalue the effects of deterrence. The U.S. simply cannot handle nor accept the surge of illegal immigrants arriving at our doorstep, particularly amidst a global pandemic. For the safety and security of our own country as well as that of the immigrants trying to enter, the message must be made loud and clear: The border is closed.
Overall, Joe Biden has accomplished a lot during his first 100 days. We are building back better when it comes to the pandemic, the economy, as well as our institutions and constitutional guardrails. Biden is not perfect, but, as he frequently says: “Don’t compare him to the Almighty. Compare him to the alternative.” I suspect voters will remember that at the ballot box in 2022.
Rebuttal: All Trees, no Forest
By Robert Wilkes – Senior Correspondent, Divided We Fall
Thanks for the effort you put into your reply. Strong work. We are both passionate guardians of the American experiment—even if we are quite opposite politically.
But I am troubled. The tone of your response, in particular your attacks on the previous administration (which consumed a third or more of your reply) was off topic and corrosive. I prefer to raise the discussion to a higher level and let in some light for our readers. I will stay out of partisan rabbit holes and keep this brief.
In the first 100 days of the Biden administration, we have seen a flurry of initiatives; a scattergun of seemingly unrelated changes to how we govern, how we create (or destroy) a good economy and a slew of mad-hatter money-printing for pet projects that benefit interest groups on the Left. Taken together and held up to examination, these are not unrelated. There is a pattern.
You are right in saying that both political parties, when in power, take steps to shore up their prospects in future political contests. Gerrymandering of Congressional districts is a good example and is used by both parties. However, there is something quite different happening now, and the direction is clear and foreboding.
Why HR1? Why open borders spilling hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country? Why DC statehood? Why pack the Supreme Court? Why media control and censorship of news? Why cancel culture to silence conservatives? Why the left-wing dominance of our education system? Why rule by executive fiat when your party controls both houses of congress? Why?
Do you NOT see a pattern here? These actions radically change political rules, violate the founders’ design for our republic and reshape the electoral landscape of our nation with the intention of permanently investing the Democratic party as the majority party. Democrats did it in California. Now they want to do it everywhere.
I’m only one citizen, but I will rage against this brass-knuckle political overreach and I will not give up. Our republic needs us. It needs a lively and viable opposition. Let’s protect it while we are still the best hope on earth.
Let’s Work Together
By Joe Schuman – Editor-in-Chief, Divided We Fall
Robert: Thank you, as always, for your thought-provoking analysis. As Voltaire said, I disapprove of what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it.
You list a number of perceived offenses and transgressions by the Biden Administration. I would note, however, that most are theoretical, not actual, at this point. HR1 has passed the House but will not pass the Senate. The Biden Administration merely set up a commission to study potential changes to the Supreme Court and, while some proposals may gain traction, such as instituting term limits, expanding the size will not pass the Senate as well. Media control and cancel culture are not acts by the Biden Administration, but by a small and unrepresentative (as well as misguided) Progressive Left that should violate any neutral observer’s sense of fairness and decency. I oppose them as much as you do, believe me.
Why rule by executive fiat you ask? The answer is simple: the filibuster. Biden and Democrats would much prefer to pass substantial and enduring legislation on issues of critical importance like immigration reform and gun control, but Republicans can filibuster any such actions and prevent their passage. Nonetheless, the solution to a broken Congress is not to abandon the filibuster, as some Progressives and Democrats have argued. I support the filibuster—as did 61 Senators including 30 Democratic Senators during the Trump Administration—and am thankful for Senator Joe Manchin’s principled stand on the issue. The solution is not to change the rules. It is much harder than that—it is to change ourselves.
I fundamentally believe there is more that unites us in this country than that divides us. Even in this debate, we have found an area of common ground: gerrymandering. (I would love to explore that topic with you in a future article to see where we might agree. Did you know, for example, that HR1 attempts to address gerrymandering by creating standard rules and creating independent commissions for district drawing?) And, although still the exception more than the rule, some Senators from across the aisle are trying to work together to get things done for the people they represent. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) are working together on a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, along with efforts on civics education and gun safety. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are working together on bipartisan proposals on student debt and raising the minimum wage. They are facing strong partisan headwinds and the rusty gears of gridlock, but these efforts are just what might save the Union. I am thankful for such efforts, as they are needed now more than ever. We all have a part to play. So, let’s work together.