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On the latest episode of “Verdict,” the podcast with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Michael Knowles from the Daily Wire, Cruz articulated the most significant risk if Democrats take the majority in the Senate. Some of them are already known. Democrat Party leaders, including likely Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), have endorsed several radical policies.
One thing they have signaled is a willingness to eliminate the filibuster, which lowers the threshold to pass legislation to a simple majority. Once that is done, giving statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, packing the court, and amnesty would pass quickly. If Joe Biden wins, legislation related to his stated agenda will pass with no way for Republicans to stop it.
All of this would be bad enough. It would eliminate the need to build consensus in the Senate to create new laws and could cause pushback from the states. Some red states could refuse to enforce legislation, such as gun control. Blue jurisdictions started the trend by refusing to enforce federal immigration law, so there is precedent.
If Biden wins, Cruz says that the far-left takeover of the party will be complete. Only losing may stop them from becoming a party of radicals led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. He notes the complete lack of moderate Democrats in Washington, D.C., which is about to get worse.
Justice Democrats have added four new primary winners in deep-blue districts who are favored to win. One is in District 2 in Nebraska, with a one-term Republican currently in office. There is also one primary left in Massachusetts District 1, which has been represented by a Democrat since 1991. This challenge is the second time the incumbent, Representative Richard Neal, has faced a primary challenger. All of their incumbents have been successful against primary challengers with only Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D- Mass) awaiting her primary. The so-called Squad is likely to get larger.
While DNC Chairman Tom Perez has called Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the future of the party, Cruz disagreed.
“So, let me actually disagree with Perez on one thing. I don’t think she’s the future of Democrat Party. I think she’s the present.”
He went on to explain his message during a recent trip to Alaska to support the re-election of Sen. Dan Sullivan.
One of the things I said at each of the events is, I said, “you may not realize it, but AOC is on the ballot in Alaska.” People were kind of puzzled and startled. “What do you mean she’s on the ballot in Alaska?” I said, “Listen, if this is a bad election, if Democrats win and they take the Senate–and that’s a real possibility–Chuck Schumer will be Majority Leader. But as a practical matter, Chuck Schumer has seen all of these Democrats being primaried from the left and losing. And Schumer is up [for re-election] in 2022. And if he becomes Majority Leader, he is going to be utterly terrified of being primaried by AOC. And for all intents and purposes that will make AOC effectively the Senate Majority Leader. Because whatever she demands, he’s going to be so scared of that primary challenge that I think he’d be more than happy to jump to her tune.”
He emphasized that if Democrats take the Senate, Ocasio-Cortez is the one who will drive the agenda for the Democrat Party in 2021. In other words, the future is now. Cruz thinks that because of the primary threat, Schumer would not want Ocasio-Cortez to outflank him to the left. Cruz says Schumer as majority leader under those circumstances would be a dangerous situation.
As Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) famously said, Schumer “did not have the oranges” to tell Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) to pass a clean COVID relief bill. It is doubtful he could muster them in the face of a looming primary challenge from Ocasio-Cortez either.
2020 could be the year that the vision laid out by Michael Harrington, founder of the Democrat Socialists of America, is finally realized. Ocasio-Cortez was a member of that party, and they are closely aligned and generally endorse candidates supported by the Justice Democrats. In 1988, Harrington explained why he was endorsing the Democrat nominee Michael Dukakis for president rather than starting a new party:
Now it seems even the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and Communist Party USA (CPUSA) have adopted Harrington’s strategy. Both groups have endorsed Biden and are encouraging supporters to vote for him. This action is atypical for both. The RCP typically discourages voters from casting ballots in regular elections. CPUSA generally has endorsed a candidate of their own or a progressive who loses in the primary. What is it about the Biden candidacy that has them singing a different tune?
Perhaps it is the exact dynamic Senator Cruz is talking about. In the quest for power, whether it is winning the White House or re-election for someone like Schumer, Democrats can be co-opted, either by those who help them obtain power or those who threaten to take it away.
It worked with the impeachment farce. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.J.) was being threatened with a primary challenge. His challenger outflanked him on the impeachment issue until he took the plunge. This action didn’t hurt him with his traditional base, and it appealed to his left flank.
Many Republicans and right-leaning voters are singularly focused on the presidential race. Sen. Cruz is highlighting the importance of maintaining the Senate as well.