Stephen Moore: Liberalism will be unleashed — and will fail again

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

We were all told that 2021 would be a better year for the country, but the first two weeks could hardly have been worse. The left is out to discredit not just President Donald Trump and his indefensible behavior since the election but also his ideas. They are triumphantly saying that free market conservatism is dead and that the era of big government is back with a vengeance. Not so fast.

I’ve lived through two major Democratic takeovers of Washington in my 35 years inside the capital beltway. The first was in 1993, when Bill Clinton and the “new Democrats” seized complete control of power, and the second was in 2009, with the Barack Obama “hope and change” liberal agenda. In both cases, Democrats and their liberal allies outran their mandate from voters with “Hillarycare” and then “Obamacare,” obscenely obese spending bills, and a regulatory vice grip on American businesses large and small.

In both cases, within two years of unchecked liberal mischief, voters had had it and pummeled the Democrats with massive Republican victories from coast to coast from local dogcatcher races to congressional seats and governorships.

My prediction is this is precisely what Democrats will do. The dominant far-left wing of the party will feel uncaged. The “squad” in the House, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will be demanding a take-no-prisoners rush to socialist policies on health care, education, student loans and climate change. President-elect Joe Biden has already announced that, right out of the gate, the Democrats will ram through a $2 to $3 trillion stimulus bill with the debt careening past the $30 trillion mark.

Yes, they will try to jerry-rig the rules in Washington to sidestep every check and balance that was installed by our Founding Fathers and nearly 230 years of speed bumps to protect the rights of the minority. This means adios to the Senate filibuster and hello to court-packing schemes. The House Democrats have already canceled the “pay as you go” budget rules requiring new spending to be offset with other deficit-reduction measures.

This whole leftist power agenda has a name: the “Great Reset,” which is a repudiation of capitalism and free markets and a grand tilt toward re-empowering the elites and the ruling class. The globalists are all for it. So is the pope. Putting America first is to be replaced with globalism.

As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Americans will be repulsed by this anti-freedom agenda. The nation voted against Trump’s antics and his bombastic personality, not his policies — which were a spectacular success, particularly on the economy. Let’s not forget that right before the November elections, almost 6 of 10 Americans said the country was better off today than four years ago — i.e., the end of the Obama-Biden regime. Biden promised that the agenda of Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders would be kicked to the side of the road, but that’s not where the party in Washington is. That’s not where last year’s most liberal senator, Kamala Harris, is at. Democrats will concentrate power in Washington and refill the swamp. Most voters still want it drained.

To save the country from socialism — which voters in 2020 said they clearly do NOT want — Republicans need to do what former Rep. Newt Gingrich did in 1993 and 1994 and the “young guns” in the House did in 2009 and 2010: play defense like it’s fourth down on the one-yard line and lay out an alternative vision for America based on opportunity, freedom, free markets, choices and, yes, making America great again.

Conservatives may have lost the reins of power in Washington, but they won nearly everywhere else coast to coast in November. Meanwhile, the GOP’s corps of superstar governors, from Ron DeSantis of Florida to Pete Ricketts of Nebraska to Kristi Noem in South Dakota, among others, must show to the country the alternative and superior vision to progressivism.

The Biden-Pelosi-Schumer juggernaut is going to be like tanks streaming over the border. Of course, the victims of progressivism and redistributionism, as always, will be the very people who benefited the most from Trump policies: the poor, the working class and minorities.

Liberalism has been unleashed, but it has also been put on trial in 2021 and 2022. I’d bet high odds that voters will convict it two years from now.

Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy.”

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