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VICTOR JOECKS: Biden’s big bait and switch

Joe Biden won the presidency by promising to make politics boring again. Now that he’s assumed power, however, he envisions himself transforming the American government.

On Wednesday, Axios reported that President Biden met with historians recently and discussed how “to jam through once-in-a-lifetime historic changes to America.” Biden is ready to “go even bigger and faster than anyone expected.” Biden stands ready to ditch the filibuster, a Senate rule that requires most bills to receive 60 votes. The Senate is divided 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris splitting ties.

“Moderate” Joe is trying to pull off a bait-and-switch on the American people.

Even a hint of transformational change is a far cry from his “return to normalcy” campaigning. He called himself a “transition” candidate at one point. One of the most noteworthy things about his campaign was how little campaigning he did. His staff frequently told reporters in the morning that he was done with public events for the day.

After becoming president, Biden has hardly acted like someone seeking transformation. It took him more than two months to hold a news conference. His coronavirus plan mostly copied what the Trump administration and state officials had already put in place. He flip-flopped on school reopenings. Even his gaffes undercut the significance of his administration. This month, he referred to Harris as “President Harris.”

But don’t let appearances fool you. Biden and congressional Democrats are pushing several measures that would remake the country. For instance, the COVID “relief” bill was largely about addicting Americans indefinitely to federal largess, not responding to the pandemic.

“Free” money may have public support, but most of his plans are deeply unpopular. That’s why Biden needs to keep up the “nothing to see here” charade.

Start with H.R. 1, Democrats’ far-reaching elections bill. Democrats claim the bill is about safeguarding voting rights.

The 2020 election, however, just broke records for voter turnout. Battleground states saw an especially large boost in participation. Americans can already figure out how to vote.

H.R. 1 is a brazen power grab. Democrats believe that changing election rules will help them maintain congressional majorities. The bill would put the federal government in charge of elections, which have traditionally been run by individual states. It would mandate a host of Democrat priorities, including same-day voter registration, expanded absentee voting, online voter registration and automatic voter registration.

It would require states to allow ballot harvesting but gut voter ID laws. It would limit states’ ability to scrub their voter rolls of people who have moved or are registered in multiple states.

A recent Rasmussen poll found 75 percent of Americans support voter ID laws, including 60 percent of Democrats. Americans oppose ballot harvesting by political operatives by 62 percent, according to a March poll from the Honest Elections Project.

There’s a reason Democrats seek to rush this through. This is radical and unpopular stuff. Their strategy depends not on selling the merits of this proposal but on hoping the American people are lulled to sleep by Biden’s non-threatening persona.

You’re likely to see a repeat of this tactic on everything from making Washington, D.C. a state, expanding the Supreme Court, the Equality Act, amnesty, climate change and spending.

Biden’s daydreams about becoming the next Franklin D. Roosevelt overlook a significant historical reality. Congressional Democrats won a landslide victory in 1932, the year FDR first won the presidency.

They picked up 97 House seats and nine Senate seats, giving them large majorities in each chamber.

In 2020, however, Republicans picked up seats in the House and narrowly missed maintaining their Senate majority.

Biden’s only mandate was to be a caretaker. If he tries to be more than that, his popularity — and Democrats’ chances in 2022 — will decline precipitously.

Contact Victor Joecks, columnist at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698.

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