By Jerry Shenk
President Woodrow Wilson was among progressivism’s early architects, but it was President Franklin Roosevelt who built the Democratic Party’s “central planning” framework.
Their political acolyte, President Barack Obama, encouraged Democratic congressional majorities to pass Obamacare, unread, in his first term and advanced progressivism with executive branch regulations and executive orders which, among other outcomes, tightened federal control of the American economy and loosened immigration policy.
In January, 2019, eight years after Democrats lost it, a new Democratic House majority will have opportunities to address the next steps in the left’s progressive plan for America. Little they enact will become law, of course, because a Republican Senate and presidential vetoes will prevent it.
Accordingly, all their progressive actions will be no-risk freebies. Nonetheless House Democrats should act by laying their cards on the table to impress America with the strength of their progressive hand.
House Democrats should use their new majority to formulate and pass:
- Immigration laws that eliminate the current mockery of law enforcement by specifying who will be admitted and under what conditions.
- A clear, carefully thought out, publicly-reviewed health care/health insurance plan.
- An approach to environmental policy that cools climate passions, considers all competing scientific points of view, clearly explains the benefits to Mother Earth, specifies goals, their costs, who will bear them, an implementation schedule, factors in the anticipated contributions of every nation and details Democrats’ plan to enforce international compliance.
- An energy policy derived from climate policy that specifies and ranks energy sources, and taxes carbon emissions.
- Programs that specifically define poverty and the conditions that must be met to receive public assistance, cross-referencing and justifying all federal needs-based programs, including their benefits, costs and redundancies.
- A comprehensive tax plan.
- A progressive plan to revise the American Constitution and its Bill of Rights, defining how, other than through court orders and nullification in liberal states, Democrats would manage change, with specific reference to:
1) The First Amendment right to free expression and worship
2) The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms
3) The Fifth Amendment right to due process
- A clear statement of voting rights: who is allowed to vote, with a plan to ensure the integrity of America’s voting process.
- A bill defining “equality,” including a list of whose lives matter. If “equality” is hierarchical, list the hierarchy in descending order.
Those initiatives would allow Democrats to convince Americans that their progressive programs are truly attractive, contain tolerable levels of government control and expense, and protect coveted constitutional freedoms.
It should be a piece of cake. All those issues have been progressive hot buttons for years, so, if, as Barack Obama and others insist, Democrats are on the Right Side of History, then all their actions should create winning issues for 2020 and beyond.
Democrats clearly expressed their objectives while in the minority, so the new Democratic majority’s inaction on those policy preferences would betray progressive voters and tacitly admit House Democrats’ political pusillanimity.