Analysis: Joe Biden and the Democrats come up against relentless conservative power

The president’s struggles to implement his strategy to protect American democracy and reshape the economy to help American workers are hampered by divisions within his own party. But a larger battle is playing out — a generational struggle between conservatism and liberal activism that Biden appears to be losing, despite some early legislative successes, as the right’s grip on critical institutions in the US political system tightens.
The decision ended a desperate day for the president after two Democratic senators chastised his call to change Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. The couple, the senses. West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema were at the White House for last-minute talks with Biden Thursday night. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer later announced the Senate would pass voting rights legislation on Tuesday, citing Covid-19 and an impending winter storm, which means the chamber will miss its self-imposed voting deadline. by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.
But unless these two moderates change their minds, Democrats will lose a chance to stop the current other big conservative power game — a nationwide effort by GOP-led states to make it harder to vote and easier to vote for. stealing the election, which is rooted in Ex-President Donald Trump’s election fraud is lying. A parallel effort to restore parts of the law’s suffrage protections to racial minorities, gutted over the past decade by the Supreme Court, will also likely fail in another right-wing victory over democratic values.

The latest demonstration of the extraordinary power the conservative 6-3 majority on the court could wield over Democratic presidents for years came as Republicans were already planning to eviscerate Biden’s White House next year.

Confident they’ll snatch the House at least in November’s midterm elections, some GOP lawmakers are raising the possibility of impeaching Biden and planning withered investigations into top administration officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci . The president’s son, Hunter Biden, could find himself called to testify before Congress, in what would be an agonizing moment for his father and proof that the GOP would use his possible majorities as an unfiltered tool of revenge for Trump.

Meanwhile, the Republican who wants to be the next speaker, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, on Thursday gave his latest example of the absurd political amnesia he is practicing to reinvent history and cover up his criticisms of Trump on the January 6 insurrection, which he delivered on the floor of the House a year ago on Thursday. McCarthy’s sycophancy reflected the hold on the twice-impeached ex-president’s party, in the House in particular, which could make Biden’s political situation intolerable next year. And the on-air humiliation of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at the hands of Fox demagogue Tucker Carlson – who seized on his comments that January 6 was a terrorist attack – showed just how badly the media machine of extremist propaganda behind Trump and his authoritarianism has the power to forcibly radicalize Republicans who want a future in the party.
In another sign of the right’s willingness to use its power to further break the traditions of democracy, the Republican Party signaled on Thursday that it would force presidential candidates to refuse to debate under the auspices of the Debates Commission. presidential without major revisions. In 2020, the Trump campaign released a list of potential debate moderators, several of whom have since amplified its voter fraud lies.
There was a mini-revolt among GOP senators this week in support of Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, who had committed the cardinal sin of pointing out the truth that Biden had in fact won the 2020 election. But the Trump apologist and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has warned his longtime friend, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, that he needs to find a way to work with the ex-president. It’s no secret that the Kentucky Republican doesn’t like Trump, though he tolerated — and sometimes allowed — him between 2017 and 2021 to advance his own conservative goals.

Conservative Supreme Court checks Biden’s pandemic plans

The Supreme Court’s blocking of vaccine and testing requirements at big business has struck at the heart of Biden’s strategy to finally end the pandemic as the highly infectious Omicron variant surges. More broadly, it devastates his attempt to use the powers of the federal government to fight the worst public health crisis in 100 years. The decision could also provide an opening for other conservative challenges to government authority that the court could consider favorably. In practice, the logic of epidemics also means that the decision will slow down attempts to stop the spread of the virus and cause more illness and death.

The question of the power of the respective branches of the American government is as old as the republic itself. The court essentially found that Congress had not given the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the authority to regulate public health in such a sweeping manner. White Houses often face judicial rebukes to the executive branch. However, the case cannot be dissociated from its political context. It was brought in by Republican-led states that have spent the past year seeking to disable Biden’s bid to fight the virus. Several possible presidential hopefuls, including governors. Florida’s Ron DeSantis and Texas’ Greg Abbott fought the battle, clearly with their own political futures in mind.

The warrant ruling was also handed down by the most politicized Supreme Court in modern memory. The conservative majority is the project of a decades-long ideological quest on the right. There is nothing un-American about using elections and Democratic majorities to alter the balance of the court. But the final leap towards that goal showed the kind of relentless and even illegitimate application of power and indifference to the principles of democracy with which Republicans have become synonymous.

McConnell, for example, has spent the week warning that Democrats will destroy the Senate if they change its rules to circumvent the filibuster to enact simple majority voting rights bills. Yet he did much the same in a previous term as Majority Leader, pushing through rule changes to allow Supreme Court justices to be confirmed in a vote by the House of Commons. majority and circumvent a Democratic filibuster. (Republicans followed similar changes to lower court confirmations made by former Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, another hard-nosed power player, who died last month). But McConnell’s decision undoubtedly changed the Senate and intensified its partisan stalemate.
Republican hypocrisy has also been blatant since McConnell built the conservative majority on the upper bench by inventing a Senate principle to justify his refusal to confirm then-President Barack Obama’s choice, Merrick Garland, during the last year in power of the Democrat. He said the American people should decide who should fill the vacant position in an election. His obstruction paved the way for Trump to choose Judge Neil Gorsuch for the court after he took office. Then, days before the 2020 general election, McConnell ignored his own principle to seat Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a bulwark of the new conservative majority.

Republicans are more ruthless than Democrats

McConnell’s moves could be ruthless and contrary to the spirit of democracy. But so far, Democratic leaders have failed to show the same ruthless ability to maximize their power in order to enshrine long-held goals. In fact, they can’t even board their own camp. Biden’s voting rights push and massive climate change and social spending bill were thwarted by the two moderates – Sinema and Manchin.

Before heading to the White House, the two senators indicated Thursday that they would not budge on the filibuster, despite Biden’s warning this week that those who oppose protecting democracy from a GOP assault are akin to segregationists. In an astonishing show of defiance, Sinema went to the Senate on Thursday to explain herself, just before Biden — a chairman of her own party — arrived on Capitol Hill to make her case.

Manchin has infuriated Democrats because in a 50-50 Senate, they cannot move major bills without his vote. But his position is also partly explained by the strength of conservatism. Without the West Virginian, the party would not have a majority in the Senate as it fell short of its goals in the 2020 congressional elections, with candidates running behind Biden in their races. And without Manchin’s 2018 victory in a state Trump had won by a landslide two years earlier and again since, they would be in even more trouble. Manchin did not say whether he would seek re-election. But clearly West Virginia’s political choices are now conditioned by the possibility that he will have to run in 2024 in a state that has rejected Biden’s presidency – and possibly with Trump leading the Republican ticket.

A glimpse of a bleak political future

The Biden administration’s struggles to topple Republican power, despite Congressional and White House scrutiny, is just a tepid glimpse of what life might be like after the midterm elections.

If Republicans win the House and Senate in November, Biden will be isolated in the White House and besieged by a steady stream of inquiries and attacks from Republican majorities. All White Houses should expect scrutiny from Congress. But top GOP leaders aren’t even making a secret of their intention to burn political dirt for a possible Trump presidential campaign in 2024.

CNN’s Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju reported Thursday that the GOP was planning a torrent of investigations. Republicans also seem determined to hold hearings to legitimize Trump’s lies about voter fraud and to launder the truth about the Capitol insurgency he instigated.

One of the key questions for a future Republican majority would be whether pro-Trump extremists would be so radical as to give Biden a foil and Democrats a chance to run against rampant extremism in 2024.

History suggests an overrun is likely. But in the longer term, Republicans may have such a grip on the mechanics of electoral power that Democrats may find it difficult to exploit such transgressions. And the conservative cast of the Supreme Court ensures that future Democratic majorities and White Houses will find the effective exercise of power a constant battle.


Comments are closed.