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Guest opinion: Public may not be ready for Democratic control of Washington

F. Joseph Feely III
Trailside

With the election coming in less than two weeks, I would like to provide my views on the likely outcome and the potential for problematic changes if things go as I expect. This is an unusual year with the impact of the coronavirus on normal activities and uncertainty about the effectiveness of the many vaccines which are in development. Although effective vaccines could have a beneficial impact on life and an economic recovery throughout the world, if damaging political decisions are made in the aftermath of the election, it could be a long time before life returns to normal.

This is an election where voters must balance their view of the importance of President Trump’s personality problems versus the likely impact of the extreme policy positions of the Democratic party if that party captures the presidency, Senate and House. Historically, the Senate has required a supermajority of at least 60 votes for most legislation to proceed, and that was seen as a protection for the minority against imprudent or overly partisan legislation. However, that requirement is now under attack by many Democrats who wish to push through a lot of unpopular legislation that would greatly change the economic and social structure of our republic. Examples of such legislation are the proposal to do away with the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 to nullify all state right-to-work laws and to unfairly restrict the rights of businesses to respond to union organizing activities, the proposal to pack the Supreme Court by adding more judges and the proposal to greatly increase federal taxes on personal incomes, capitol gains and corporations. These tax increases are expected to raise between $2 trillion and $3 trillion over a 10-year period, and are expected to be used to partially fund a number of controversial new government programs without addressing the growing government deficit.

My expectation is that Trump will lose the election because people are tired of his act, but there is not a lot of enthusiasm for Joe Biden by his likely voters. Joe Biden has lived in the D.C. political swamp for 47 years, and like many in powerful positions, he has done very well financially for someone who has received a fairly low government salary over the years. Biden’s moral compass seems to be a bit like a weather vane, causing him to change his positions in accordance with the direction of the political winds. But that is not unusual for many politicians.

I don’t know if Biden will have the strength to sustain the physical strains that accompany the presidency for four years and if he will actually make the domestic and foreign policy decisions that will drive his administration. It is my hope that he stays well and is able to govern effectively, but I am worried about his health and declining mental acuity. It is unfortunate that he selected Kamala Harris as his vice president, because she is not a moderate and would not be a good replacement for Biden. Biden has never been the wisest of our leaders, as illustrated by his opposition to the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. I hope he avoids pitfalls in dealings with the Chinese and Iranians and avoids the wishful thinking that has characterized our dealings with them.

Because there has been so little discussion of the policy issue differences between the two political parties in this election cycle, I am concerned that the public is not prepared for major changes in our laws and traditions, which are likely to cause a great amount of dissension and anger. I hope that one-party control of government is avoided so that compromises are necessitated. When political parties overreach or change the rules, they often regret it later. Moderation is the best policy in the long run, and is needed to build comity in a democracy.


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