The headlines out of Virginia were stark for Democrats. For the first time in 11 years, Virginians elected Republicans statewide. The New Jersey governor’s race and other results were warnings, too.
But that won’t matter to Democrats.
It won’t matter because Democrats are and have been playing the long-game for decades—one that emphasizes permanent government programs over short-term election victories.
In a very real way, elections are a referendum on the performance of parties and politicians since the last election. Additionally, the electorate often swings the pendulum back-and-forth between parties.
There are times when a party and its politicians will respond to the message of voters in an election by altering the agenda. The most recent clear example of that was when Democrats lost the House of Representatives while Bill Clinton was president. With the help of Dick Morris, President Clinton moderated his agenda and signed landmark legislation like welfare reform.
Those days are long gone for Democrats.
Democrats of today care more about establishing government programs than they do about winning the next election. The reason for that is simple: Democrats know that office holders may come and go, but government programs stay around forever. They know that powers once ceded to the government, like those taken during the pandemic, are rarely relinquished.
They remember President Ronald Reagan’s assessment: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth." Rather than view that as a warning then, Democrats today view it as a strategy.
Consider this spending graph for the federal government:
You can’t help but conclude that government spending of more and more taxpayer money is a one-way road to ever larger budgets.
During that period of time represented in the aforementioned graph, there have been Democrat presidents, Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, and Democrat-controlled Senates. There also have been Republican presidents, Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and Republican-controlled Senates.
Even as control of those offices and chambers of government has alternated back-and-forth between political parties, the ever-increasing spending has been a constant. The Democrats of Washington, D.C. today know that all too well. They also remember the words of former President Barack Obama when he essentially said that you can create a working majority of voters comprised of those dependent on government.
That ever-growing number of those dependent on government is a key reason government spending increases year after year. The other major reason for that growth in spending is that "temporary" government programs rarely, if ever, are repealed or otherwise ended. Think of the fate of Obamacare even though Republicans decried it in their minority but, despite trying, did not ultimately repeal it when they took the majority.
So, knowing all that, Democrats continue to play their long game in politics. They know that their chances, long-term, increase as government grows.
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That is why it should be no surprise that, despite the rebuke of Democrat actions as witnessed by the Republican victories in Virginia and in school board races throughout the country, Democrats in Washington have no intention of slowing down.
This morning-after headline from Politico says it all: "Dems vow to plow forward on Biden agenda, even after election faceplants." Consider, too, this sentiment from a Washington Post columnist: "critics say Dems have gone too far left but that doesn’t compute. The agenda is very popular. They simply haven’t gotten over finish line yet."
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The reason Democrats believe they need to pass their spending agenda now is because they know that they will likely lose the House and the Senate in the 2022 election. The months ahead represent their last chance to institute these new spending programs—perhaps for generations to come.
In other words, rather than change politically in an attempt to hold on to power, Democrats would rather institute permanent government programs and the precedents they set. It is a winning strategy for them long-term and a key reason government grows ever larger much to the detriment of our country.