Opinion

Americans Deserve to Know What Happens if Joe Biden is Elected

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Posted: Oct 30, 2020 3:25 PM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
 Americans Deserve to Know What Happens if Joe Biden is Elected

Source: AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Jay L. Clendenin

Signs of Joe Biden’s mental decline are coming thick and fast. Last week, he forgot who he was running against—again. His wife, Jill, had to mutter “Trump!” under her breath to get him back on track. Joe Biden has already admitted that he won’t seek a second term in office, which didn’t exactly come as a surprise. But he’s gone even further than that in allowing himself to be characterized as a transitional candidate, heavily hinting that Kamala Harris will have an elevated role in the White House, akin to a president-in-waiting.

Given the precipitous decline in Biden’s faculties, voters deserve to know whether voting him into the highest office in the land would produce something more like a co-presidency, in which the Vice President sits in on and participates in every major decision. Harris will doubtless wield more executive power than any Vice President in history, which is an entirely new model of governance for America.

Joe Biden says we should take him at his word. After all, he’s running on character, painting himself in relief to the President as a drama-free, safe pair of hands to rescue voters from the alleged chaos and ineptitude of the Trump administration. So, it’s only fair we should listen to what he tells us about how he views the next four years. 

In effect, Biden is admitting that he may not even complete his first term. His offer to the country seems to be: I’ll restore order and sanity, and then peacefully transition to someone younger, sharper, and more energetic who better represents the Democrat base. Make no mistake: On Inauguration Day, President Biden will already be figuring out when, and how, to step down or step aside. 

Until now, a nominee’s running mate has never been a determining factor for voters at the polls. The choice of V.P. is normally incidental, even ornamental. Sometimes, the choice shores up a candidate’s base—as in 2008, when John McCain selected Sarah Palin. Alaska’s plain-speaking Governor electrified rank-and-file Republicans and she arguably gave Senator McCain a lift. But he lost anyway because the country rejected his candidacy. 

If it’s egregious, a V.P. pick can do damage by casting doubt on the nominee’s judgment. Dan Quayle was considered a drag on the 1988 ticket, but because George H.W. Bush was the candidate, the pair won—albeit perhaps with a reduced vote share. But this year is different. Never before in the history of American politics has an electorate made their choice for President based on who would be the Vice President. 

It’s expecting too much from today’s news organizations, reporters, political pundits, and presidential historians to wonder why this new co-presidential paradigm isn’t being discussed more critically. Perhaps it’s on purpose. After all, the degree of scrutiny to which Kamala Harris has been subjected barely registers next to the frothing outrage about Trump’s every utterance, or the frantic cover-up of Hunter Biden’s revolting sexual indiscretions and foreign business dealings. If you only watched network or cable news television, you’d know almost nothing about her. 

Voters have a moral obligation to consider this new standard. Joe Biden would have been disqualified for office in every previous national cycle since George Washington, on mental fitness alone. He has already acknowledged that he won’t, and can’t, last the eight years that Presidents usually seek in order to be effective. So, Democrats aren’t voting for a President Biden at all: They’re betting on the undemocratic elevation of Harris.

Americans with Left-leaning politics are comfortable playing fast and loose with democratic norms. You can arguably blame Franklin D. Roosevelt for this. President Roosevelt was the father of modern American socialism and social security. Like Biden, F.D.R. wanted to pack the Supreme Court. (He failed.) And, like Biden, Roosevelt tossed out conventions of governance that stood in the way of his and his party’s political aims.

Not since Washington, who established a two-term tradition that eventually became the Twenty-Second Amendment, had a President sought perpetual re-election. F.D.R. made it to an astonishing fourth term before succumbing to a cerebral hemorrhage. His long tenure afforded him time to transform the country. Thanks to F.D.R., Democrat and Republican elites have, for decades, assumed the right to undermine the will of the people with slush funds and entitlement programs distinguished by the absence of accountability, transparency, and possibility of reform. 

There’s no way to measure if these programs are working, and once an entitlement is passed and funded, it never goes away. The only outcome we can count on is the near-certain bankruptcy of future generations unless something is done. In 2019, an astonishing sixty-two percent of federal spending was gobbled up by mandatory entitlement programs. Only thirty percent of government expenditure was discretionary.

Donald Trump was elected to expose and reverse the malignant tendencies of this kind. But he’s coming up against unyielding vested interests in Washington, D.C., and a full-time permanent political elite class which is referred to as “the swamp.” His reforms have been thwarted by intransigent bureaucrats, the deep-state, big tech, and a mostly hostile press corp. If far-Left Kamala Harris becomes co-president, we can expect colossal engorgement of the administrative state in furtherance of phony social justice agendas and divisive and destructive identity politics.

America wasn’t supposed to be like this. The country was founded on precisely opposite values: Limited government and the ability of all races and classes to flourish. We had no aristocracy. And yet, from Roosevelt onwards, the poison ivy of political aristocracy has snaked up and around our democracy, choking its roots and blocking out the sun. The founders would be distressed. They conceived of a nation whose citizenry is granted rights by God, and not by man or by any earthly authority—nor by the mob.

This new political elitism and aristocracy bring with it all the trappings of Louis XIV’s Versailles, including speech codes, elaborate rules of conduct, cruelty, snobbery, and contempt for ordinary people. Nowhere was this better illustrated than in Hillary Clinton’s lofty dismissal of Trump voters as a “basket of deplorables.” The desperate wokeness, cancel culture and social justice groupthink of the Kamala Harris fanatic is best understood as the inexorable successor to Clintonian decadence.

Today’s Democrats take hypocrisy to new and absurd heights, lecturing others about COVID masks and threatening mandates while themselves waltzing through airports (Sen. Feinstein, D-C.A.) or grabbing haircuts (Rep. Pelosi, D-M.D.) blissfully unencumbered by facial coverings. These double standards walk hand in hand with the sort of anti-democratic constitution that propels a president to seek four terms, or which now presents, in the election of Kamala Harris to Vice President, a kind of soft coup or deception that presumes to install a Californian radical to the highest office in the land without the consent of the governed.

Witness Nancy Pelosi, at the age of eighty, declaring this month that she will run for speaker again. This kind of prestige-hungry political elitist, incapable of voluntarily loosening her grip on power, would look like an alien species to George Washington. It’s a far cry from the model of civic duty, modesty, humility and public service embodied by the Roman statesman Cincinnatus, who voluntarily relinquished near-absolute power once he had achieved his political objectives.

This is not the only example in which the Biden-Harris ticket flies in the face of American praxis and temperament. There was never a moment in the Framers’ minds when being a politician would be a lifelong profession, as it has been for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Even Thomas Jefferson was a Renaissance man—a farmer, inventor, and bibliophile. History teaches us that well-rounded people who have diverse sets of interests and life experiences beyond one occupation make more effective leaders and more moral governors.

As for the obnoxious and celebratory godlessness of the modern Democratic Party, which finds full expression in the candidacy and mythology of Kamala Harris and her admirers, it is a misconception that the separation of church and state was meant to create a nation that is, in the totality of the word, secular. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence and every President for over two centuries have made morality the center of government—and not just any morality, but Judeo-Christian morality, based on the Bible.

We have all heard the drumbeat, led by a group of fringe progressives—progressives poised to snatch power in the name of President Kamala Harris—that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are irrelevant and outdated, that the rule of law and our sense of right and wrong does not come from the Ten Commandments after all, that all morality is subjective, that we should do away with prisons and abolish punishments for breaking our laws and that law enforcement itself should be disbanded. The underlying philosophy seems to be that there is no good and evil, just people “expressing themselves.” 

That’s the sort of country the Democrat Party would like to have and are currently fighting for. But the slippery terms of the Biden-Harris ticket are uniquely dangerous on top of all that because they represent a profoundly anti-democratic proposition—one which has not been honestly presented to the voters. America does not go to the polls in a Presidential election year to elect the Vice-President as President. As if we need to be reminded, Harris made her case to be at the top of the ticket and was rejected by the voters to lead her party. 

The Democrat elites and aristocracy are cynically making use of the coronavirus, big tech, and fake news, to change the rules of the game and rig a Presidential election. Their aim has been to create a mechanism by which Kamala Harris can ascend to the presidency by stealth, while escaping meaningful scrutiny, essentially pulling the wool over the American people’s eyes.

Will they be successful? If they are, America will be, in Barack Obama’s words, fundamentally transformed. We ought to reflect on what that means, whether it accords with our founding values, whether it’s a respectable way to conduct an election, and whether “we the people” are going to tolerate it.  The outcome of this election will determine if Abraham Lincoln’s famous declaration from the Gettysburg Address ring hollow or true, … “ that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”