41°F
weather icon Clear

VICTOR JOECKS: How a Biden presidency threatens political institutions and norms

The biggest falsehood of the 2020 campaign is that Joe Biden is the great protector of American political institutions.

Biden has built his presidential campaign around this theme. “The job of a president,” Biden said during his Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, is “to represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment.”

Previewing the Biden campaign in 2019, Ezra Klein, the founder of Vox, summed it up like this, “Joe Biden’s promise: A return to normalcy.”

For the past 18 months, Biden has been promising to make politics boring again. Politically, it was an ingenious pitch. A key segment of voters is tired of the drama Trump creates by constantly making himself the center of attention. With Trump’s eager assistance, Biden made this election a referendum on the president, whose approval ratings are consistently below 50 percent.

“Sleepy Joe” wasn’t a devastating putdown, but a vague reassurance that a Biden presidency would be uneventful and inconsequential.

Don’t be fooled. A Biden presidency threatens to fundamentally change the very institutions he, Democrats and the national mainstream media claim to care so much about.

Start with court packing. For more than 150 years, there have been nine justices on the Supreme Court. In the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to expand the court after the Supreme Court ruled against parts of his New Deal agenda. Even congressional Democrats opposed the plan.

The reason is obvious. If the party in power expands the number of justices, the Supreme Court will potentially turn into an organ of that political party. It would be an independent branch of government in name only.

Yet, Biden won’t reject the idea. First, he wouldn’t answer the question because he didn’t want people to talk about his opinion. Imagine the media’s response if a Republican tried that excuse. Then he punted, saying he would appoint a commission to study judicial reforms. Vote for Biden so other people can tell him what to do. Inspiring stuff.

This isn’t the only radical change to American government that Biden is flirting with. He’s expressed a willingness to eliminate the Senate filibuster. The filibuster gives the minority party great leverage to stop legislation because it requires 60 senators to allow bills to move forward. It’s been a part of the Senate for more than 200 years, although there have been changes over time.

There are currently 50 states. But that might increase if Biden gets elected. He supports statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. not out of principle, of course, but because the addition would likely give Democrats four new seats in the Senate, which could cement their control of that body for years to come.

For years, the mainstream media and Democrats, but I repeat myself, have portrayed Trump as little more than a wannabe dictator. If that had been an accurate critique, Trump would have used the coronavirus pandemic to consolidate power and exercise unprecedented authority. Just look at what King Steve Sisolak did here in Nevada. But Trump restrained himself and respected federalism. He didn’t impose a national response plan. He left that up to governors.

Biden, on the other hand, has said he may embrace a national lockdown and would institute a national mask mandate. That’s despite previously acknowledging that he doesn’t have the constitutional authority to order people to wear masks.

There is a candidate on the ballot whose policy preferences threaten U.S. political institutions and long-standing norms. But that candidate is Joe Biden, not Donald Trump.

Victor Joecks is a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
DAN SCHINHOFEN: Bill of Rights?

Back in January when the “novel coronavirus” was finally making the news, after the debacle of impeachment was over, I was very interested as I watched the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) shut down a city with 35 million residents. My first reaction was, “This could never happen in America as we have a Bill of Rights.” Boy was I wrong.

DAN SCHINHOFEN: Lessons learned

This past year has seen a lot of changes and most not for the better. As I sit here thinking it over, here are some of the things I have learned.

TIM BURKE: Possible second mandated shutdown would be disastrous

The recent rapid increase in COVID-19 positives is threatening to close businesses and halt family holiday gatherings temporarily. The post-election decrease in COVID-19 positives that some theorized would take place due to the election did not materialize. The exact opposite has happened.

STEVE SEBELIUS: 2020 election mandate? Compromise

Democrats long hoped for a supermajority in the Nevada Legislature; instead, the mixed election results will force both sides to work together to find consensus to fix vexing problems.

DAN SCHINHOFEN: More division coming up

President “projected” Biden stated that he will unite our country. Well, that’s good because his party spent the last four years dividing us. From the end of the election in 2016, the Democrats have refused to accept the results, but rather spent the last four years calling Trump illegitimate, a fraud, and of course tried to impeach him many times. The one time they actually went through with it, they knew it would fail in the Senate, but to meddle in the next election, they did it anyway, During Obama’s administration, there were many times some Republicans wanted to impeach Obama, but with the Senate being held by Harry Reid, they knew it would only be a show and cause division, so they did not.

As Mental Health Comes out of the Shadows, So Should Insurance Coverage to Increase Access to Care

Anyone who has ever tried to navigate the crazy task of selecting an individual health insurance policy knows the fundamental problem is figuring out exactly what you’re buying. Then, traversing the dizzying maze of HMOs, doctors, hospitals, co-pays, deductibles, allowable procedures, and coverage eligibility only increases the frustration.

TIM BURKE:

The chaos surrounding the presidential election bears a semblance to the “hurry-up” offense in the NFL to avoid changing the outcome of a play.