The president’s struggle to execute on his strategy to protect American democracy and reshape the economy to help working Americans has been hampered by divisions within his own party. But a broader battle is unfolding — a generational battle between conservatism and liberal activism that Biden appears to be losing, despite some early legislative successes, as the right’s grip on critical institutions of the American political system tightens.
The decision capped off a desperate day for the president after two Democratic senators rejected his call to change Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. The couple, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, were at the White House Thursday night for a final meeting with Biden. Majority leader Chuck Schumer later announced that the Senate would pass voting rights legislation on Tuesday, citing Covid-19 and an impending winter storm, meaning the chamber will miss its self-imposed voting date against the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday.
But unless those two moderates change their minds, Democrats will lose a chance to end the other big current conservative power game — a nationwide effort by GOP-led states to make it harder to cast votes and easier to hold elections. which is rooted in ex-President Donald Trump’s voter fraud lies. A parallel attempt to reinstate portions of racial minority protections in the Voting Rights Act, which have been gutted by the Supreme Court over the past decade, is also likely to culminate in another right-wing victory over democratic values.
The latest demonstration of the extraordinary power that the 6-3 conservative majority in the court could wield over Democratic presidents for years came as Republicans were already plotting to tear up Biden’s White House next year.
Convinced that they will win the House at least in the November midterm elections, some GOP lawmakers are raising the possibility of impeaching Biden, and are planning scathing investigations against top officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci. The president’s son, Hunter Biden, could be called to testify before Congress in what would be a painful moment for his father and evidence that the GOP would use its potential majorities as an unfiltered revenge tool for Trump.
Meanwhile, Republican who wants to be next speaker, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, gave his latest example on Thursday of the absurd political amnesia he is inducing to reinvent history and his criticism of Trump over the insurgency. of January 6 to hide. which he had delivered to the House of Representatives on Thursday a year ago. McCarthy’s sycophancy reflected the twice-indicted ex-president’s hold on the party, especially in the House, which could make Biden’s political plight into intolerable next year. And the humiliation in the air of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at the hands of Fox demagogue Tucker Carlson — who made his comments that January 6 was a terrorist attack — demonstrated the extent to which the extremist propaganda media machine behind Trump and his authoritarianism has lost the power to control Republicans who want a future in the party. radicalization by force.
As another sign of the right’s willingness to use its power to further disrupt the traditions of democracy, the Republican Party announced on Thursday that it would force presidential candidates to refuse to debate under the auspices of the Commission on Presidential Debates without major revisions. In 2020, the Trump campaign released a list of potential moderators of debate, including several who have since reinforced its lies about voter fraud.
There was a mini-revolt this week among GOP senators in support of South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds, who had committed the cardinal sin of pointing out the truth that Biden had actually won the 2020 election. But Trump apologist and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham warned his longtime friend, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, that he needed to find a way to work with the ex-president. It’s no secret that the Kentucky Republican hates Trump, even though between 2017 and 2021 he tolerated — and sometimes allowed — him to achieve his own conservative goals.
Conservative Supreme Court Checks Biden’s Pandemic Plans
The Supreme Court’s block on vaccine and testing requirements at major companies hit the core of Biden’s strategy to finally end the pandemic as the highly contagious Omicron strain rises. More broadly, it is destroying its attempt to use federal government powers to fight the worst public health crisis in 100 years. The decision could also open up other conservative challenges to government authority that the court could rule in favor of. In practice, the logic of epidemics also means that the decision will slow efforts to stop the spread of the virus and cause more illness and death.
The question of the power of the relative branches of the US government is as old as the republic itself. The court essentially ruled that Congress had not empowered the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to regulate public health in such a sweeping manner. White Houses often face reprimands from the judge over the executive. However, the matter cannot be separated from its political context. It was brought by Republican-led states that have spent the past year trying to shut down Biden’s attempt to fight the virus. Multiple possible presidential candidates, including governments. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas have led the fight, clearly with their own political future in mind.
The decision on mandates was also handed down by the most politicized Supreme Court in modern history. The conservative majority is the project of a decades-long ideological quest for the right. There is nothing un-American about using elections and Democratic majorities to change the balance of the court. But the latest leap toward that goal showed the kind of brutal and even illegal application of power and indifference to the principles of democracy that Republicans have become synonymous with.
McConnell, for example, has been warning all week that Democrats will destroy the Senate if they change the rules to circumvent the filibuster and pass simple majority voting laws. Yet he did much the same in an earlier stint as majority leader, making rule changes to allow Supreme Court justices to confirm by majority vote and circumvent a Democratic filibuster. (Republicans followed similar changes to lower court confirmations by former Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid, another intractable power player, who died last month). But McConnell’s move undoubtedly changed the Senate and escalated its partisan standoff.
Republican hypocrisy has also been apparent since McConnell built the conservative majority on the top bench by inventing a Senate principle to justify his refusal to confirm the election of then-President Barack Obama, Merrick Garland, during the Democrat’s final year. He said the American people should decide who should fill the vacancy during an election. His obstruction paved the way for Trump to elect Judge Neil Gorsuch to court after he took office. Then, days before the 2020 general election, McConnell disregarded his own principle to seat Judge Amy Comey Barrett, a stronghold of the new Conservative majority.
Republicans are more ruthless than Democrats
McConnell’s steps may be relentless and contrary to the spirit of democracy. But so far, Democratic leaders have not come close to displaying the same ruthless ability to maximize their power to anchor long-held goals. In fact, they can’t even get their own side on board. Both the pressure on voting rights and Biden’s huge bill for climate change and social spending have been thwarted by the two moderates – Sinema and Manchin.
Before visiting the White House, both senators indicated on Thursday that they will not yield to the filibuster, despite Biden’s warning this week that those who stand in the way of democracy from an attack by the GOP are akin to segregationists. In a stunning show of defiance, Sinema took to the Senate floor on Thursday to explain herself, just before Biden — a president of her own party — arrived on Capitol Hill to defend his case.
Manchin has provoked anger among Democrats for not being able to pass major legislation in a 50-50 Senate without his vote. But its position can also be partly explained by the power of conservatism. If it weren’t for the West Virginian, the party wouldn’t have a majority in the Senate as it fell short of targets in the 2020 congressional election, with candidates trailing Biden in their races. And without Manchin’s 2018 victory in a state Trump had overwhelmingly won two years earlier and has since done again, they’d be in even more trouble. Manchin has not said whether he will seek re-election. But it’s clear that the West Virginian’s political choices are now governed by the possibility that in 2024 he will have to flee a state that has rejected Biden’s presidency — and possibly with Trump at the head of the Republican ticket.
A glimpse of a grim political future
The difficulties the Biden administration faced in undermining Republican power despite controlling Congress and the White House are only a lukewarm preview of what life could 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 constant stream of investigations and attacks by Republican majorities. All White Houses should expect control by Congress. But top GOP leaders aren’t even hiding their intent to scorch the political earth for a potential Trump presidential campaign in 2024.
DailyExpertNews’s Melanie Zanona and Manu Raju reported Thursday that the GOP is plotting a flurry of investigations. Republicans also seem determined to hold hearings to legitimize Trump’s lies about voter fraud and to whitewash the truth about the Capitol uprising he fueled.
One of the key questions for a future Republican majority would be whether pro-Trump extremists would be so radical that they would foil Biden and give Democrats a chance to crack down on rampant extremism by 2024.
History suggests that overreach 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 capitalize on such violations. And the conservative cast of the Supreme Court ensures that future Democratic majorities and White Houses will effectively find the exercise of power a constant struggle.