With partisans on both sides shouting about yet another “most important election ever,” how should Americans in the middle, unhappy with both sides, vote? Realistically, the biggest danger is a Joe Biden victory — since, with Democratic control of Congress, he would likely push through reckless, radical programs.
That’s what Democrats did the last time they controlled Washington, enacting ObamaCare without any GOP input, which then-President Barack Obama justified because “elections have consequences.” And never mind that the Affordable Care Act didn’t much resemble what he’d promised when he ran.
Today’s Democrats are far hungrier, united not just on pushing Medicare for All and some form of the Green New Deal, but on criminal-justice “reforms” along the lines of New York’s no-bail law — which even Mayor de Blasio’s police commissioner, Dermot Shea, says is a big reason for the city’s crime wave.
True: Joe Biden is no fire-breathing radical; he’s stuck firmly to the center of the Democratic Party for his entire career. But the party as a whole has shifted furiously left, and Joe has marched faithfully along with it. He gave Bernie Sanders a huge role in writing this year’s platform — and the Vermont socialist is proud of the result.
Even if Biden has second thoughts in office, he’ll be beholden to the party’s left, and it’s not even clear how much control the 77-year-old will really have over his own administration.
Then there are the drastic steps Democrats are considering as revenge if the Senate confirms Trump’s nominee for the Ginsburg seat on the Supreme Court: admitting Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico as states to give themselves four safe Democratic Senate seats, and creating six new high-court seats to give the left a decisive majority.
Biden isn’t embracing these ideas now — but he’s never broken with his party on anything. Notably, after long defending the filibuster, which protects minority-party rights in the Senate, he’s now open to ending it if Republicans prove too “obstreperous.”
Nor is he certain to serve out his term (did you see how bizarrely winded he was when he took the podium the other day?). Kamala Harris’ record suggests she’ll be ruthless in pursuing whatever the dominant wing of the party wants.
No serious handicapper, meanwhile, thinks a victory by President Trump will flip the House to Republican control; it may not even stop Dems from gaining the four seats they’d need to take over the Senate.
So Trump won’t be able to pass anything without compromising with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer — which is always painful to watch but carries no risk of the “fascist takeover” that the left-leaning half of my Facebook feed keeps warning about.
Yes, Trump can do executive orders for another four years — but he himself showed how perishable his predecessor’s “pen-and-phone” victories were. And if the Dems win the Senate, no Trump judicial nominee will even get a vote unless pre-approved by Schumer.
For that matter, voters in the middle have no cause to worry if a second-term Trump can name a few more justices. First off, the Supreme Court’s “conservatives” tend to disagree about a host of issues: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch each voted with the liberals in several key cases this last term — both of them, in the gay/trans rights case.
Nor is even a united conservative Supreme Court a real danger: It’s the liberal courts that create new rights, legislating from the bench so that it doesn’t matter what elected lawmakers or voters think. Righty justices might strike down a few laws, but they’re generally against getting creative with the Constitution.
Perhaps most important, a vote for Trump, with all his obnoxiousness, is a vote to resist the “woke revolution.” The “your speech is violence, so we have a right to make you shut up” crowd controls the universities and increasingly the media — and they’ll run wild under an all-Democratic government.
The left is already gunning for Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who’s been trying to keep his platform neutral, even if much of his staff resists. Progressives running the Federal Communications Commission, with Liz Warren riding shotgun in the Senate, won’t give him a choice.
Much of the left is promising civil unrest if Trump wins. That’s a dubious threat — all the antifa types are already out there now, burning what they can. Liberals enraged at another defeat thanks to the Electoral College may mean millions more genuinely peaceful marchers, but the country can handle that fine.
The real threat to the American center is the prospect of one-party rule by Democrats who’ve either gone off the deep end — or at least don’t dare stand up to the raging left.
Mark Cunningham is The Post’s editorial-page editor
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