Stanley Kurtz has written a great piece about Joe Biden. I think most of us understand that a President Biden would be a wholly owned subsidiary of the woke left. But Stanley explains better than anyone I’ve read why that almost certainly would be the case and how we got to this sad point.
The resignation of the editorial page editor of the New York Times for publishing an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton calling for the military to quell the riots marks the completion of the long, slow transformation of the Democratic Party. Whatever face the Democrats present to the world, their woke left fringe is now in charge.
That fringe has not only abandoned core American principles like freedom of speech and due process, it has reimagined American history as a story of “systemic” oppression and demanded radical transformation along identitarian–socialist lines. If the New York Times can’t stand up to Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of its odious and just-plain-false 1619 Project, how will Joe Biden stand up to a woke New York Times?
Biden hasn’t so far, and won’t in the future:
Past his prime, without a policy compass to speak of, Biden would be long gone if he hadn’t been the Democratic establishment’s last best hope of blocking Bernie Sanders. Biden is supposed to give the party a moderate face that will appeal to centrist voters. Increasingly, however, the bases of the two parties are becoming the real contestants in this election, while the candidates are just along for the ride. . . .
Biden has been shoved out front for tactical purposes by a party that has long since moved on.
As for Biden’s supposed centrism, forget about it:
It would have been interesting to see how Biden balanced the centrist side of his party with an increasingly aggressive and empowered Left. But what now remains of a Democratic center to balance with its left? The image of Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey being booed and shamed out of a rally for refusing to abolish his city’s police force is what the Democrats’ internal balancing act has morphed into. Frey is no centrist. He helped set the riots loose by abandoning a police station to protesters who quickly burned it down. Yet Frey’s refusal to actually abolish the police now puts him on the fast-melting right flank of a party gone wild.
So maybe Biden’s “centrism” will split the difference between Jacob Frey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Speaking of AOC, Stanley writes:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been more of a team player since the 2019 confrontation in which she implied that Speaker Pelosi was racist. (AOC called Pelosi “outright disrespectful” for criticizing “newly elected women of color.”) What will happen after the election, however, if Biden takes the White House and the Democrats hold the House, or even take the Senate?
At that point, the bigotry accusation game will resume, but now with a massively emboldened Left. Hannah-Jones’s victory at the Times foreshadows a series of successful pressure campaigns from the woke Left against a Democratic administration and Congress. The police may not be “abolished,” but there’s plenty that Biden and his attorney general will be able to do to hamstring law enforcement. And that’s just the beginning of what a now-dominant Democratic Left will demand and receive from a Biden administration.
Back to Biden:
Like many other Democratic candidates for president this year, Joe Biden has now adopted the rhetoric of “systemic racism.” Evidently, he will no more be able to stand up to the demands of the party’s woke Left than the Times was able to stand up to the creator of its 1619 Project.
How did things get to this point?
[A] critically important cause of the Democratic Party’s rejection of classical liberalism. . .is what happened 50 years ago when our universities adopted preferential treatment by race, sex, and ethnicity, and then established “studies” programs built around identity politics rather than the ethos of liberal education. In the early days, preferential treatment and politicized academic departments were seen as regrettable but necessary and temporary suspensions of classical liberal principle.
Yet the inability to stand up to accusations of systemic racism from the Left finally drove classical liberalism out of the university. The “studies” departments grew in size and influence. Their commitment to a neo-Marxist critique of liberalism — that its promises of freedom, rights, and neutral treatment were simply covers for systemic oppression by rich straight white men — became the common wisdom of the academy. Academic free speech is on its deathbed as a result.
Now, with a generation of graduates schooled under the “studies” regime, the collapse of classical liberalism has moved into the mainstream. Joe Biden and the editors of the New York Times are essentially caught in the same web as a university administrator. Their impulses are still classically liberal, but they can’t stand up to accusations of racism, no matter how excessive or unfounded, and no matter how much those accusations are used as battering rams against liberal principle itself.
Once the “studies” programs were instituted — with a purpose, ideology, and recruiting mechanism that was illiberal from the start — it was too late to back out, too late to say “no,” to whatever demand came next. Similarly, once the Times endorsed the 1619 Project, with its attack on the liberal principles at the core of America’s story, the die was cast. The marketplace of ideas was over for the Times.
Stanley saves his best for last:
A President Biden will be a perfect stand-in for a meek liberal college president who can’t afford to get on the wrong side of a Left that knows it won’t be disciplined and is only too happy to silence others. Biden is the face of the Democratic Party, but far from the fact of it.
Once the Times goes, the media go. And without media backup, a Democratic president has nothing. The Democrats’ center has collapsed, leaving Biden little choice but to play to his illiberal left. If Biden wins, the Left is in charge. And they aren’t just straining to abolish the police. Their real target is 1776.
In other words, the real target is American liberty, and Joe Biden cannot be expected to defend it.