Joe Biden should face a rigorous Democratic primary and the Democratic Party needs all new leadership
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Democrats in Congress, and the Democratic Party itself have all failed miserably to meet this historically low moment of the overturning of Roe v. Wade
Over the past few days, if we’ve learned anything at all, it needs to be that Republicans have kept their word to their voters on what should probably be looked at as their most essential campaign promise for generations… that they would overturn Roe v. Wade as soon as they got the chance. They delivered. Period.
This was a promise they made to their voters over and over again.
They focused on it, organized for it, fundraised with this in mind, fought their asses off in elections on the city, state, and federal level, and did so until they had a strong majority in the Supreme Court and in state legislatures across the country. They literally even stole a Supreme Court pick from President Obama in order to make this happen. Recent justices appear to have even lied under oath about their intentions to not overturn Roe in order to secure moderate votes in the Senate. All of it clearly driven by a ruthless, by any means necessary kind of resolve.
By the time Roe was overturned last week, Republicans in dozens of states had already put in so much work, that they passed something I honestly had never heard of before - trigger laws - that would automatically take effect the moment Roe fell. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not congratulating them. But if you think all of this shit just happened out of nowhere or fell from the sky, you aren’t paying attention. They fought their asses off for generations for this. And they nailed it.
In other words, they did exactly what they said they’d do, and what all of us actually knew was coming when the news that Roe would be overturned leaked two months ago. And in those 2 months, Republicans seem to have literally worked around the clock all over the country to make sure they had everything they needed in place to take a woman’s right to choose away as quickly as humanly possible. And it’s working.
Yes. Conservative judges on The Supreme Court overturned Roe.
Yes. Democrats barely hold an advantage in the House and Senate.
But the Democrats have several serious and substantive options that they simply refuse to take in the face of the biggest rollback of women’s rights in our lifetime.
They should immediately do away with the filibuster. It’s easy to say that Democrats “don’t have the votes” for it, but Joe Biden himself is saying that he’s not even for this - which, in this moment we are in, IS ABSURD. This man is afraid of changing tradition while the SCOTUS erodes essential civil and human rights left and right. Democrats in Congress tend to get done what they know is the primary priority for their President, but it truly feels like he’s playing the violin while the Titanic sinks. Mind you, the filibuster gets put aside regularly to pass budgets and to actually approve Supreme Court justices. It can and should be done now as well.
Democrats have the votes to codify a woman’s right to choose as federal law in the House and Senate. But Democrats with power, including Biden, Harris, Pelosi, and Schumer aren’t fighting for it like they should be. They should’ve already made this happen. It’s inexcusable that it has happened already.
The federal government should announce that they will allow reproductive medical services to take place in federal buildings in all 50 states across the country. Multiple Senators and leaders have been pushing this creative idea for months. Biden has all but ignored it.
Democrats should expand the Supreme Court to 11, 13, or 15 justices. The court has been expanded twice before - they can do it again - particularly in light of the fact that one seat was literally stolen from President Obama and 5 of the 9 justices were nominated by Presidents that didn’t even win the popular vote. Again, while congresspeople across the country support this notion, Biden is against it - which makes it pretty much dead in the water. If you won’t do this now, when in the world would you consider doing such a thing? How far is too far?
Joe Biden should declare a national public health emergency for women - this will then open up tons of resources to solve the immediate crisis women are in right now.
THE BOTTOM LINE? Joe Biden does not have what it takes to meet this moment. He has no substantive plan. He has no creative ideas. And he shoots down the most substantive ideas and plans before they even have a chance to get started. I couldn’t imagine someone mangling this moment worse than he has. Why did The White House not have a robust plan to rollout the moment Roe got overturned???? They knew this moment was coming months ahead of time. Someone literally risked their life and career to leak this, but Biden, the Vice President, and the Democratic Party basically sat on the information and did nothing of note with it.
Republicans, as you likely see, are already starting to line themselves up to run for President in 2024. Democratic candidates should do the exact same thing.
Off the bat, I’d like to see California Governor Gavin Newsom run. The Governors of Colorado and Illinois should consider running. AOC should consider running. Michelle Obama should consider running. I can think of 10 more names. And it doesn’t matter if Biden is running or not. He keeps saying he’s going to run. It’s stupid. He’d be 86 years old by the end of his second term. He’s already failing to meet this moment and will only continue to do so. But other candidates need to look at the country, see how badly things have turned, and decide to run whether Biden runs or not. And we need a clear set of policies and decisions we need these candidates to agree to before we give them our support.
While so much of the failures of the past month have to be put on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who’ve hardly done more than post a few tweets since Roe was overturned, it also falls squarely on the lap of the Democratic Party itself. I’m talking about the legal entity better known as the DNC. It needs a massive overhaul. This is what happens when you fail to appoint an organizer to lead the party and instead appoint corporate lawyers that can be easily controlled. Democrats in the House and Senate also need new leaders. The time needs to be up for Pelosi and Schumer. On the issues we need them to deliver on, it truly seems like they just can’t get it done.
QUICK QUIZ: Can you tell me, step by step, what the plan of the Democratic Party is to fight back against Roe v. Wade being overturned?
I didn’t think so. I don’t know it either. And I don’t know anyone else who does. THAT’S A HUGE EFFIN PROBLEM.
Which leads me to this very depressing conclusion…
Yes conservatives are notoriously racist and sexist. Yes the party regularly embraces the most bigoted elements of America and continues to back a man that literally inspired an attack on the American Capitol, but you would be very, very wrong if you allowed your horrible views on conservatives cloud you from seeing how they created a plan, funded it, and stuck to that plan with widespread unity, until they got exactly what they were looking for.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Simple as that. And when the Democratic Party needs to be in a state of emergency, leaning on emergency plans, it just isn’t.
And I don’t think it will be until we have brand new leaders in place.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shaun King is one of the most followed and shared activists and journalists in the world. In addition to being the Founder and Editor in Chief of The North Star, he also leads the Grassroots Law Project and the Real Justice PAC. A historian by training, Shaun King is the New York Times bestselling author of Make Change: How to Fight Injustice, Dismantle Systemic Oppression, and Own Our Future. Shaun’s daily news podcast, The Breakdown with Shaun King, has been heard and shared hundreds of millions of times in almost every country in the world and is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere podcasts are heard. Shaun has been with his brilliant wife, Rai, for nearly 25 years, and they are raising their 5 kids in Brooklyn, New York.