It’s true that Joe Biden avoids the worst economic excesses of the open ‘democratic’ socialists of his party. His progressive politics won’t be of the sort that crosses Jeff Bezos or Nike.
But America’s 46th President is no moderate, and we should expect the Biden-Harris administration — ‘transitionary’ even in the words of its chief executive — to usher in a new form of woke neoliberalism that moves the country far to the left culturally, even as it relies on corporate America to clear the way as enforcer of the new normal.
Among the first acts of the newly-seated Democratic Congress is likely to be turning the traditional neoliberal playbook, so finely honed abroad, back towards the home front on supposed ‘domestic insurrectionists’. This term will of course not be limited to those responsible for the disgraceful Capitol riot of January 6. But you may wonder why the left even needs the power of the state to implement a new PATRIOT Act given they have Google, Twitter, Facebook and broader cancel culture to do any controversial spying for them, and can issue sanctions as effective as any to boot.
Having effectively offloaded the tricky task of censorship on to the companies best equipped to have the social-credit system up and running ahead of schedule and under budget, the Biden administration will be free to turn to alternative goals, such as the obliteration of the legal distinction between men and women.
Expect the Democrats to avoid tackling the hairy, caucus-splitting issue of healthcare, and instead go for the soft underbelly of spineless Republicans by moving the Equality Act, which bids biological boys entrée to the girls’ high school track team.
If they’re feeling grand, they might throw in a dissolution of the Congressional deadline on the assumed-dead Equal Rights Amendment which, if not shot down by the courts, will accomplish many of the same things, but with more Constitutional gusto.
As expected for any modern presidency, the executive action side of the equation will likely be no slouch. Proving once again that Republicans are babes in the woods when it comes to efficiently wielding the power of the administrative state, in their first 24 hours the Biden administration has already released a slew of major policy changes, mostly on cultural issues.
The most dramatic of these was a reinterpretation of civil rights law to create a ‘right’ to any private spaces, including sports teams, based on ‘gender identity’ rather than biological sex, in any facility that receives federal funding.
Sweeping executive amnesty has already made our pandemic-complicated border situation worse, and may precipitate border crises of the type that were such an important component of Trump’s popularity. In another bone to his woke flank, Biden also reversed Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military. Expect next to see Obama-era guidance on lax school discipline — which has already resulted in tragedy — restored in the name of ‘equity’.
The former secretary of education Betsy DeVos has made turning back the clock on restored due process rights on college campuses a bit harder, by promulgating an actual regulation on the matter, but no doubt such procedural hurdles are no barrier for those on the right side of history. It’s no surprise at all that Biden this week scrapped the 1776 Commission, which sought to brainstorm alternatives to the 1619 Project for young minds, deleting it almost instantaneously from government websites.
None of this, of course, is what Americans voted for approximately 100 years ago on November 3, 2020. Donald Trump narrowly lost in key swing states, and the nearly 75 million who turned out to vote for the Bad Orange Man were joined by many more who couldn’t stomach him but split their tickets down ballot to hand the Republicans unlikely big pickups in the House —perhaps hoping to keep a check on the woke authoritarianism that they’re now about to get.
Hope for counterbalance died when two Republican senators from Georgia lost, and — if we’re honest — the Energizer bunny of ‘cultural progress’ probably would have found a way to put a wobble into weak Republican spines even if they had triumphed.
The state of the union the Biden administration inherits is grave, but if a return to 1990s normalcy is what American voters craved, they’re unlikely to get it.