Yesterday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) appeared at a digital rally taking questions from Hunger Games actress Elizabeth Banks. According to YouTube, only 46 people have viewed it since the debut, but at least one comment he made may be of interest to a larger audience.
Banks asked Schumer about how Democrats plan to appeal to voters under 40. First, Schumer talked about the younger Democrat candidates who have won their primaries. Then, notably, the minority leader disclosed that he is working with Senator Elizabeth Warren and several of the younger members on an exceptional giveaway: student loan elimination.
One of the things, by the way, I am working with them on with Elizabeth Warren that may affect your audience. We believe that President Biden if he becomes president could eliminate student loan debt without Congress [mimics signing a document] with the flick of a pen. He has the power. So, we’re proposing that the first $50,000 of everyone’s student debt will automatically be eliminated.
Such an executive order would come with a huge price tag. According to student loan data from 2019 in Forbes, 45 million borrowers owe a collective $1.6 trillion. Maybe this is just pandering by Schumer. It could also be a strategy if Bidden wins the White House and Democrats do not win the Senate.
Or perhaps executive orders are an alternative way to pass progressive priorities like eliminating the filibuster should Democrats win a Senate majority. Eliminating the filibuster is very popular with the left-wing of his party. This popularity comes despite the painful lesson Democrats have learned about eliminating it for presidential appointments.
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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Democrats that they would likely regret doing it. Now Senate Democrats are in a full-fledged meltdown over the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, which is only possible because of the situation created by former Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Yet here they are advocating blowing it up across the board.
The radical left also loves “pen-and-a-phone” governance almost as much as they love left-wing activist judges. That is really not surprising since the granddaddy of all pen-and-phone presidents was Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Woodrow Wilson coming in second. Progressives ignoring the constitutional order is not new.
We have all seen how executive orders that usurp Congress’s power, like DACA, are difficult to challenge. Squish Chief Justice John Roberts created new rules for rolling back executive orders, hanging his hat on administrative procedures. It has also become clear that he will contort himself to preserve politically popular programs on the left to avoid backlash. As the dissenting justices noted:
“Today’s decision must be recognized for what it is: an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision. The court could have made clear that the solution respondents seek must come from the Legislative Branch.” Alito also wrote separately, dissenting in part, as did Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
If we are unlucky enough to end up with one-party rule after November 3, we can take solace in the fact that it does not normally last long. A red wave hit the House of Representatives in 2010 after the insanity of Obamacare. A blue wave hit the House after the first two years of one-party rule during the Trump administration. Americans don’t really like abrupt swings in policy and will self-correct.
This trend will likely be more pronounced in the current political environment. The Democrats are being dragged to the left at an alarming rate that may shock voters who are not very politically engaged should they come to power. Schumer is already worried about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenging him in the primary next cycle. So much so that she is shaping his approach to issues now.
Likewise, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has caved to her left-wing members. She moved forward with a completely partisan impeachment despite previous comments saying that such a serious move required bi-partisan support. Cortez has already said she would only support Pelosi for another term as Speaker of the House if she is the most progressive option. The faction running the Democrat Party has been abundantly clear about its agenda. And their preferred policies could be implemented with “the flick of a pen.”