HomeBudget & Tax NewsHarsanyi: Dems Pivot from Build Back Better to Useless Extremism

Harsanyi: Dems Pivot from Build Back Better to Useless Extremism

Unable to pass their welfare-state expansion with a simple majority, Democrats have reportedly shelved Build Back Better for the year. Now prepare for the entire left-wing infrastructure—politicians as well as the establishment press—to pivot hard from the fake “social safety net” bill to the fake “voting rights” bill, which will quickly become the most vital piece of legislation in the history of the republic. Just earlier today, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, who not long ago heralded the mere framework of Build Back Better as “by far the most significant piece of legislation ever passed in the world,” told reporters that it was now more important to get a “voting rights” bill through the Senate.

The “Jim Crow 2.0” smear—aimed at the Twittersphere, because there isn’t a single competitive race in 2022 in which “voting rights” attacks are going to make a difference—will only succeed in further corroding confidence in elections. The demagogic lie that “democracy” is under attack in states that employ basic standards of voter integrity is an emotional appeal that does not stand up to scrutiny. It is a debate that Republicans should embrace. Democrats can keep treating voter ID requirements as if they were poll taxes, but most Americans support the standard that, incidentally, existed only a few years before the 2020 election anarchy.

That said, the ginned-up “voting rights” emergency is also meant to continue laying the groundwork for blowing up the legislative filibuster. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who participated in over 300 filibusters during the Donald Trump years and who signed a letter in 2017 imploring Mitch McConnell to preserve the “existing rules, practices, and traditions” of the filibuster—and only a couple of months ago was criticizing former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for attacking the procedure—came out in favor of eliminating the legislative filibuster today. Here, too, it is highly doubtful that moderates such as Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema—or even a number of other low-lying moderates—would help blow up a Senate norm to placate the hard left. Manchin has been asked about “reforming” the filibuster about a bazillion times, and in each instance, to the consternation of progressives on Twitter, he’s replied with the same answer: no.

Indeed, even if shameless hypocrites such as Warner were successful in killing the filibuster, it’s unclear that Senate Democrats would be able to find the votes to pass an H.R. 1-type “voting rights” bill, which would not only override hundreds of existing laws but compel states to count mail-in votes 10 days after Election Day to allow ballot harvesting, to allow felons to vote, to ban basic voter ID laws and to create councils to redraw districts (all the while undercutting free speech rights with a slew of new election regulations). In the end, the Senate Democrats would almost surely be impelled to pass a diluted version of voting rights, which would still likely face challenges in courts by numerous states. Are red-state Democrats willing to dispense with a longtime Senate norm for, if anything, fleeting partisan gain?

In addition to advocating trashing the filibuster and overriding state elections, Court-packing is also back on the docket. In anticipation of Build Back Better being abandoned this year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has come out in favor of an illiberal Court-packing scheme. Of course, the chances of the Senate destroying the judiciary are still quite small. These are largely issues and debates that political types (myself included) might welcome but they do not even register in polls that measure the priorities of American voters. These positions simply serve to highlight the radicalism and tone-deafness of many modern Democrats who are denied the comforts of railing about Trump every day.

And the closer we get to the 2022 midterms, the bigger the lift will be to pass the reconciliation bill. The more Democrats have tried to sell it, in fact, the less popular it has gotten. In districts that matter in 2022, it is almost certainly quite unpopular. So instead, Democrats have decided to win the Twitter vote.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and author of “Eurotrash: Why America Must Reject the Failed Ideas of a Dying Continent.” To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at  www.creators.com.


David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist, a nationally syndicated columnist through Creators Syndicate, a Happy Warrior columnist at National Review and author of four books. Harsanyi is a former national political columnist and editorial board member at The Denver Post and editor of Human Events.


  1. This won’t be popular with a lot of your readers, but the best thing that can happen to the GOP moving forward is Donald Trump NOT being involved in the 2024 presidential election. He is CORROSIVE and vindictive and those are not good qualities if you want to maintain an “edge” with independents (like me). The Biden Administration is giving voters PLENTY of reasons for Democrats to face massive voter “ire” in next years mid-terms. Chris Christie is right. Republicans need to be looking FORWARD, not languishing in the past with Trumps endless obsession with the 2020 election. The key to resurrecting “sanity” in governance is VISION. The American electorate is HUNGRY for fresh ideas, LEADERSHIP and s sense of direction. If the GOP can put a slate of sensible, substantive set of candidates for next years Congressional mid-terms and (ultimately) the 2024 presidential election, they will MOP THE FLOOR with the “left wingers” currently running the Democratic party. When SEVENTY percent of Americans polled think the country is headed in the WRONG direction, that tells me a bunch of other folks see the same things I do. With Trump, you get a CIRCUS. We don’t need a “ringmaster.” What our country CRAVES is a return to decency, civility, purpose and STATESMANSHIP. Neither Donald Trump or any of the probable 2024 Democratic presidential contenders fit the correct parameters. If the GOP continues to hitch it’s wagon to Trump, then our country will miss an extraordinary opportunity and will be done a tremendous disservice. A bitter pill, perhaps, but the TRUTH hurts…

    • Much as it hurts to agree with you, Randy, I find I’m forced to do so. The real problem as I and many I’ve spoken with see it, is that not one current or recent Republican politician has the genuine incorruptible convictions of Trump, nor a visible love of and belief in our country and it’s founding principles. When every politician bearing an R after his or her name has been seen either rolling over for Democrats or actually promoting the same un-American issues as them, even (perhaps especially) when Republicans had the majorities and did nothing with it. Who can be run instead of Trump that hasn’t co-sponsored a Democrat-introduced piece of legislation against the 2nd amendment, for example? How many Rinos signed on with the Democrats when they raised the debt recently, rather than stand firm and make the Democratic party take responsibility for their damages? Polls may not take account of that type of thing so well, but people
      don’t forget as easily as the pols wish for. I’ve personally voted for my last Democratic candidate in any race EVER, due to the chicanery so obviously on parade for the last 5 years, and as an independent, I’ve always before in my 40+ years of voting chosen the individual who I believed to be best for each office. Now I can no longer allow myself to trust any member of the Democratic party, because I’ve not seen one, other than Manchin, with the b… fortitude to stand for his principles against all attacks. And I see no one on the other aisle whom I respect well enough, and I fear throwing away my vote when I choose an independent candidate with goals and ideals similar to my own. Trump covered every base on my concerns, and those of a huge number of others, obviously. Who else can do that? Show me a different qualified candidate and I will gladly throw support that way, but I haven’t found one yet. I think this is the real problem that the GOP needs to investigate soon if they hope to continue as a viable party.


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