The political agenda laid out by Joe Biden’s website together with the 2020 Democratic Platform is lengthy, comprehensive, detailed, and unprecedented. No such agenda has ever been written down by one of the major political parties in American history. It is, in fact, not only socialism but the effective elimination of our already-much-diminished federalist system.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden mocked the accusation that he is a socialist, and in the first presidential debate, he added his authority that he is “the Democratic party.” “I beat the socialist,” referring to Bernie Sanders, Biden has also answered. And Pete Buttigieg has just been deployed to publicly profess that Biden is not a socialist. However, regardless of the historic meaning or academic definition of the word “socialist,” and there have been quaint articles in the media attempting to do so, as if that mattered, socialism, or in common American parlance, complete centralization of American government and society, is, in fact, here.
Biden’s proposals for new taxes and spending by a federal government completely controlled by Democrats are breathtaking enough. But no serious person can doubt that the official socialist wing of the party, launched by Bernie Sanders in his 2016 presidential campaign, and now led by himself, Elizabeth Warren, and Nancy Pelosi, who over the past two years has redefined the role of the Speakership of the House, is now its own independent power base in the party. And add Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to them.
Biden has concentrated his campaigning almost exclusively on personal criticism of Trump, COVID, and health care. Neither he nor the allied media has gone into much detail about other issues. But, just as important or perhaps more important is Biden’s and the Democratic party’s advocacy of what might be called “cultural socialism,” or what Biden and his party call “the soul of the nation.” The political agenda laid out by Biden’s website together with the 2020 Democratic Platform is lengthy, comprehensive, detailed, and unprecedented. No such agenda has ever been written down by one of the major political parties in American history. It is, in fact, not only socialism but the effective elimination of our already-much-diminished federalist system.
This essay points out nine of the political and cultural changes that would put in place by a fully Democratic federal government:
(1) The first is racial reparations. The Democratic Platform meekly mentions the Party’s intention “to study” reparations, and the Biden website does not even use the word. However, there may be only one way to spell the word “reparations,” but there are countless ways to do it. On his website, Biden has a long list of race-based proposals, among which are his intentions to “close the racial wealth gap,” put in place a small-business program that is “specifically designed to aid businesses owned by Black and Brown people,” and “spur more than $50 billion in additional public-private venture capital to Black and Brown entrepreneurs.” In their Platform, the Democrats emphatically stress “two and a half centuries of slavery” that has left “lasting inequities,” and assert that they “will root out structural and systemic racism” by, among other things, “clos[ing] the racial wealth gap,” and will “provide seed capital in order to access the economic security of asset ownership.”
(2) Local residential zoning is a target. Biden says that he will “develop a strategy for inclusionary zoning.” He will re-emphasize and strengthen an Obama housing regulation “that lending practices that have a discriminatory impact can be challenged even if discrimination was not explicit.” He will “examine housing patterns” for “discriminatory effect.” Likewise, in their Platform, the Democrats proclaim that they “will ensure that federal housing programs are better designed to affirmatively further fair housing” by requiring cities and towns “to proactively review housing patterns and remedy local polices that have a discriminatory effect.”
(3) Biden has emphasized that he will turn the Roe v. Wade abortion decision into a federal statute. Calling it a “foundational precedent,” the Platform essentially holds that it is one of the constitutional bases of our society. What that means is that all state laws that have some kind of restrictions on abortion will have to be nullified, either by private lawsuits by abortion clinics themselves or by Biden’s Justice Department. What is more, any kind of regulation of health, zoning, and building regulation of the clinics as well as licensing of abortionists will be subject to federal scrutiny.
(4) One of Biden’s priorities within the first 100 days of his inauguration will be the enactment of the Equality Act, a revision of all federal statutes that directly or indirectly have to do with sex. Already passed by the House in May 2019, the across-the-board and society-changing nature of that Act is summarized by the Platform, which describes its reach as “at last outlaw[ing] discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in housing, public accommodations, access to credit, education, jury service, and federal programs”—among other areas. The Act would go as far as creating federal civil rights violations and prohibiting discrimination against LBGT persons based on the offending person’s “perception or belief, even if inaccurate” of the LBGT person’s sexuality. Thought crimes, indeed. The Platform says that spreading “gender equality” across the world will be “a key foreign policy priority.”
(5) Biden’s and Harris’ statements that they will not state a position on packing the Supreme Court obviously means that they are not against it and will consider it. After Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, they are likely to be more explicit. The Democratic Platform says that the Republicans “packed our federal courts with unqualified, partisan judges.” And because of that, the Democratic Party “recognizes the need for structural court reforms.” Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate majority leader, has stated his support for court packing. In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt proposed packing the Court with as many as six new justices.
(6) Making Washington D.C. a state and allowing Puerto Rico “self-determination” about statehood or independence are both in the Democratic Platform. Biden has not stated his position. Making both states would provide four more Democratic senators and result in decisive Democratic control of the Senate for the foreseeable future. In the last 21 Congresses, the Republicans have controlled the Senate eleven times and the Democrats ten. D.C. already has a population greater than Vermont and Wyoming. Puerto Rico has a population greater than 18 of the states, which means that it would have four House members. The net political gain for the Democratic party by making D.C. and Puerto Rico states would be four senators, six presidential electoral votes (D.C. already has three, per the 23d Amendment), and five House members.
(7) With regard to education, Biden says that he will put “3 million American to work in new care and education jobs” and make child care part of the “infrastructure” of the country. And to the commitment to make college free and pay off student loans, Biden will add new various “wraparound support services” that subsidize other costs up to and including daily living expenses. With its purpose of “providing a world-class education in every zip code,” the Platform has the same agenda for child care, K-12, and higher education, including “measures to increase accountability for charter schools” and opposing vouchers and standardized tests. And it cannot be doubted that such a comprehensive agenda for American education institutions at all levels, including child care, will come with equally comprehensive regulation. What used to exist as “local control of education” will be over.
(8) Concerning the Second Amendment, the Biden agenda is comprehensive, including “universal background checks” for “all” gun purchases. He would ban “assault” rifles and high-capacity magazines, which would functionally include both automatic and semi-automatic weapons. And he would institute a mandatory “buy back” of, that is, the confiscation of, such guns in private possession. In addition, Biden plans to make gun manufacturers “civilly liable for their products,” that is, allowing lawsuits against manufacturers for every crime—or accidental discharge, or hunting accident, etc.—involving a firearm. No gun manufacturer could continue to do business under such liability conditions. The result would be the shutdown of those manufacturers. The Platform speaks in similar terms.
(9) As for the police—that is, local law enforcement—a Democratic federal government, with its emphasis on “police brutality,” will federalize it. Biden says that he will “reform our criminal justice system” by basing it “on redemption and rehabilitation,” and expand the authority of the federal Department of Justice “to address systemic misconduct” not only “in police departments,” but in “prosecutors’ offices” as well. In the words of the Platform, “we need to overhaul the criminal justice system from top to bottom.” Of course, one of the main results of this will be lawsuits in federal court over allegations of police misconduct.
This essay has attempted to highlight and summarize nine of the cultural goals of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party for a federal government completely controlled by the Democratic party. There are more still. Again, such an overall and detailed “reform” of the country has never previously been proposed in writing.
This essay first appeared here in October 2020.
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