To paraphrase a line from the movie, A Few Good Men: the Democrats can’t seem to handle power and are fumbling and bumbling their way to political oblivion with their naïve decision-making and strategizing in the face of a Republican onslaught to overthrow democracy that is sweeping the nation.

Their political hubris far exceeds their narrow margins in the U.S. House and Senate, and a Presidency with an approval rating that has been underwater during the past year, polling in the low forties. The Democrats’ loss of the gubernatorial election in Virginia on November 2, 2021 that Joe Biden won by 10 points in 2020 and nearly losing the governorship in New Jersey that Biden won by 16 points on the same date seemingly has no impact on their political maneuvering.

Since that time, there has been virtually no response to the Republicans’ continuing assault on America’s democratic institutions, especially K-12 public education. Instead, they are upping the ante and expanding the range of their attacks. Since successfully vilifying Virginia’s and other public schools across the nation in 2021 for allegedly teaching critical race theory (which is loosely defined as any discussion of race in the classroom), Republicans are on a tear.

They are also proposing bans on books that they deem too graphic, racially focused, or the ones they just don’t like. More recently, Republicans are targeting school boards that they view as too supportive of the aforementioned initiatives. And the Democrats are standing idly by while their strongest allies are being eviscerated.

The Corporate Cartel for privatization of public education is profiting from the pandemic in 2022 as it did from the ravages wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Then, as now, it increased the public funding of corporate charter schools, voucher schools, and religious schools.

As Biden’s American Rescue Act (ARA) was winding its way through Congress in 2021, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Democratic Majority Leader, with the help of Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second largest teacher’s union, quietly inserted $2.5 billion into the ARA that went to the Corporate Cartel that, in effect, subverts public education.

Possibly the most disturbing element of the Republican confrontation with Democrats is the first ever attempt to recall three members of the San Francisco school board (all Democrats), in the upcoming February 2022 election, over new rules that increased Black and Latinx admissions to merit-based programs which disadvantaged Whites and Asians as well as COVID-related school closings. Biden carried the city with 86 percent of the vote in 2020.

The coalition that Republicans have formed with San Francisco’s disgruntled Asian citizens is an incursion into the Democrats’ base of ethnic minority voters (Black, Latinx, and Asian American) who were central to Biden’s presidential victory. This is part of a political playbook that was revealed in 2020 in Republican states that Trump carried - Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, and others.

Although small, to date, there are trends of increased support for Republican policies among African American males and Asian and Latinx citizens from socialist and/or autocratic countries. A capture of even a sliver of these voters in tight elections could push Republican candidates over the top.

But yet Democrats have developed no observable strategies to counteract these Republican infiltrations that are weakening their base and remain fixated on their internal squabbles that are not bearing fruit.

And Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who they remain convinced that they can make vote their way has sidelined the Build Back Better (BBB) legislation.

House Progressive Caucus Chair, Pramila Jayapal, has continued speaking for the Democratic base without consulting it on its political preferences while ignoring those leaders of the Democratic Party who do. For example, Eric Adams, newly inaugurated mayor of New York City, ran on a platform of public safety (crime reduction), improving public education, adjusting the business climate to include the needs of mom-and-pop stores and big corporations, getting families employed, and increasing access to city services.

This approach allowed him to defeat 12 candidates of diverse backgrounds who could not address the concerns of one of America’s most racially, ethnically, and economically diverse cities in a contentious Democratic primary. He defeated several Progressive candidates endorsed by Congressional Progressives because he consulted with the Democratic base.

Although New York City has a significant representation of all the components of the Democratic base - ethnic minorities, women, educators, the young, the poor, and the working and middle-class - the Adams victory has not impacted the way Congressional Democrats are doing their political business now and going forward.

Public education needs to be a major emphasis of the Democrats’ organizing for the 2022 midterms if they have any hopes of holding on to power. If they do not address the increasingly contentious impacts of COVID measures and in-person schooling that the Republicans are exploiting to great effect, Democrats will proceed to an electoral wipeout.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell and BC.

  Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share