By Dr. Harold A. Black
Happy Valentine’s Day.
In the January 17, 2022, Knoxville Focus I wondered if there were really any moderate democrats. Of course, moderate is a relative term. Although several democratic senators brandish the term “moderate” their voting belies it. The two prominent “moderates” are Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona who both openly oppose nuking the filibuster. Virtually all of the democrats have opposed it in the past – notably when the republicans controlled the senate. Yet those two senators are ranked as more liberal than any sitting Republican senator. To wit: both opposed parts of Biden’s sweeping “Build Back Better” leftist manifesto but would have voted for many of the provisions in the bill had not the democrat leadership insisted on passing the entire bill.
What was especially telling was the recent vote on nuking the filibuster that failed 52-48. All Republicans were opposed plus Manchin and Sinema. I was stunned. A vote to eliminate the filibuster is perhaps the most radical action that a senate could take – effectively destroying the rights of the minority in direct violation of the wishes of the Founding Fathers. The Democrats have short memories and ignored the likelihood of a future Republican majority. Nonetheless, the vote revealed the truth about all the Democrat senators posing as “moderates.” I would have thought that “moderates” from swing states would have voted against the change. But no. None of them did. All voted to nuke the filibuster. They are Carper and Coons of Delaware, Kelly of Arizona, Hassan of New Hampshire, Bennet and Hickenlooper of Colorado, Tesler of Montana, Kaine and Warner of Virginia, Casey of Pennsylvania, Heinrich of New Mexico, Murphy of Connecticut, Peters of Michigan, and Rosen of Nevada. All have given their opponents a major campaign issue in the next election. Senators running for reelection in swing states, including Warnock of Georgia (who has been a personal disappointment), will face steeper odds because of their vote. I would be surprised if any were reelected.
The democrats have been moaning that the divided senate is preventing democratic rule and is somehow autocratic. The truth is that as the Founding Fathers pointed out time and time again, simple majority rule invariably leads to authoritarian rule. Consider the dangers of the majority. Recently, a poll reported in the Wall Street Journal found that 59% of Democrats favored confining the unvaccinated to their homes and 49% thought that persons questioning the vaccines should be subject to arrest. Do you want to live in that America? I don’t. The current president with Democrat majorities in Congress could try to impose those actions. Democrats in the absence of a filibuster could pack the supreme court with incompetents who disregard the constitution like Sotomayor, create two new states and abolish the Electoral College resulting in the tyranny of the majority.
Combine that prospect with the current chaos in our cities and the country writ large (COVID, homelessness, crime, immigration, foreign policy, energy, inflation, racial divisiveness, cancel culture, and lack of comity). The result is a lack of respect for our history, our institutions and ourselves. This is a recipe for disaster and is a volatile mix that ultimately threatens the very existence of our country. Am I being overdramatic?