I restarted this blog last year to try to focus some nervous energy and sadness into something positive. I wanted to showcase what liberty and American values should look like. Through that research, I have seen a lot of darkness in our history that my education bypassed.
We treated immigrants poorly from the beginning. Native Americans were treated like cattle. Slavery become central to the American system. But I believed that we could see hope and move forward.
When the last opinion from the Supreme Court was read for the session, journalists tweeted that no retirements were announced. I sighed a huge relief as at least the Democrats have a chance to win a majority in the Senate (even if small). However, two hours later, the news came to me in a work meeting. I am sure I looked like I got hit by a car.
I warned many liberal friends that all of their imaginary governmental programs do not matter if you do not control the Supreme Court as we saw in the Great Depression. Nonetheless, they told me Hillary Clinton was a criminal. So they voted “their conscience.” If you thought Medicare-For-All would happen, not for the next 30 years – at least. The Court will strike down any massive legislation as unconstitutional. Want to know why? They now have five votes to return us to the Lochner days, where the commerce clause was narrowly interpreted.
What Does a Conservative Court Mean?
Government could not regulate age restrictions, time restrictions, or workplace conditions during the Gilded Age. And luckily, that’s who the current conservative movement sees employment: you have the ability to contract and therefore, it is up to you to get a fair deal, not the government.
Government pretended to act race-neutral. The point behind Plessey v. Ferguson was that the races were separated for a reason and that as long as the two had equal access, everything was fine. The current conservative movement believes racism towards white people equals racism towards everyone else. If minorities want equality, it ends up being up to them to get a fair deal, not the government’s role.
In other words, expect to do it yourself and create progressive state governments. The feds won’t let you do anything. However, most Democrats don’t vote in local elections anymore. Unless the New York Times and MSNBC talks about it, we seem to stay home.
Take for example the New York primaries that have appeared in the news. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated of Rep.Joe Crowley, who was in line for a potential run for the Speaker role. Twitter went aghast. The news focuses on the young Democratic Socialist win and a push to the left. However, “[w]ith 98 percent of precincts reporting as of Wednesday, the State Board of Elections shows 27,826 registered Democrats cast votes in Tuesday’s primary in New York’s 14th District. With 235,745 registered Democrats as of April, according to the BOE, this comes out to a turnout of around 11.8 percent.” To give you an idea, 100,000 Democrats voted in the primary in my home district of KY-6.
How to Move Liberty Forward
I doubt that my current home of Kentucky will lead anything forward, but I do hope that progressive movements take off in the states where Democrats have an positive momentum. It will not come from the Federal government for the next twenty years.
Jason Kander probably made a good move last week in deciding to run for mayor of Kansas City instead of for President in 2020. Unless Justice Thomas stays on the court and Democrats win in 2020, expect a Supreme Court that will limit Congress’s power to regulate commerce, create anti-discrimination laws, and will focus on corporate speech and Christian religious freedom as the core to the First Amendment.
I’m going to think through what Justice Douglas would do with a Court like this – since he never truly sat on a conservative Court.