In a clear sign that the entire Democratic Party is moving far to the left in order to please its (previously small) progressive wing, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a longtime moderate, has come out in favor of giving reparations to descendants of slaves.
Senator Schumer is also signaling support for ending the filibuster in the upper chamber. Both measures have long been opposed by Democrats for many years, but are gaining traction as vocal progressive activists push party leaders to adopt more radical positions.
Sen. Schumer’s backing of a bill to set up a committee to study the issue of reparations isn’t much of a surprise given the fact that House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi has endorsed the idea of setting up such a committee as well. Nearly all Democratic presidential candidates are also in favor of offering reparations of some sort to descendants of former slaves.
The fact that these descendants haven’t been directly harmed by the issue hardly seems to enter the conversation. Instead, Sen. Schumer and those who agree with him claim that “slavery isn’t just a historical phenomenon but something that America lives with every day.” Naturally, Sen. Schumer and his buddies don’t have a clue how to get the money to pay for reparations, or how to determine who qualifies for reparations and who doesn’t. However, both issues don’t seem to be causes for concern.
At the same time, Sen. Schumer’s support for abolishing the filibuster should Democrats regain control of the Senate is truly surprising. As Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Schumer of all people should know of the dangerous repercussions of getting rid of the filibuster. When former Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid made it possible for judges to be confirmed by a simple majority vote, Senator Mitch McConnell warned the measure would backfire on the Democratic Party — and it definitely has.
Liberals who are furious at President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominations have only former Senator Harry Reid to blame — the judiciary is now being filled with conservative judges, and all Republican Senators have to do is whip the votes. If Democrats took charge of the Senate and got rid of the filibuster, they would likely be able to pass extreme legislation such as the Green New Deal and the Equality Act. However, the GOP would pay the Democrats back by repealing every last bit of legislation with a simple majority upon regaining control of the Senate.
To make matters worse, the parties in power would literally have no incentive to talk to each other during legislative cycles. Instead, the party in power would simply do as it pleases until it loses power. This is hardly an ideal representative democracy — but Schumer has no choice but to support this. It was only a week ago when his House counterpart was being called racist by one particular freshman lawmaker from New York because she wasn’t getting her way.
Sen. Schumer’s move left is a dangerous one. Unlike many progressive activists, the Senate Minority Leader would have a lot of power to make progressive goals a reality. The Equality for All Act, Medicare for All, gun control, insane tax rates for the rich, college loan forgiveness for everyone, the Green New Deal and reparations for descendants of African-American slaves could become laws of the land with just 51 votes even though large segments of the population want nothing to do with these outrageous proposals.
While some conservatives rightly feel that the filibuster is making it impossible for President Donald Trump to reach some of his goals, the truth is that it also prevents really bad laws from being passed simply because a few outspoken individuals are pushing for their passage. At the same time, liberal activists who are rejoicing over the fact that Sen. Schumer is now on their side should be careful what they wish for — they may just get it.