Using COVID-19 to Advance Radical, Partisan and Racist Policies

Commentary, COVID-19, Culture Wars, Jack Buckby

In his first days in office, President Joe Biden rescinded a Trump-era order that restricted the federal government’s use of diversity training to examine issues around race and gender bias and systemic racism. In doing so, he will be advancing radical and divisive racial politics that have plagued his party and popular culture over the last decade.

Biden also signed a fresh executive order that his administration claims, would advance racial equity. Though, in espousing “equal opportunity” as the “bedrock of American democracy,” the order contradicted its own purpose by advocating for equality, which requires that equal opportunity not exist to achieve unnatural results.

The Biden election campaign juggled the moderate image of its candidate with the most radical agenda of any Democratic candidate in history and somehow imperfectly blended the two by bypassing scrutiny and distracting voters with the promise of simply not being Donald Trump.

“Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American-owned small businesses, women-owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild,” Biden said, 10 days before he took office.

In a research paper I published last year, “Extremist Opportunism In the COVID Economy,” I argued that candidate Biden was using the COVID-19 pandemic to advocate policies that would bring about transformative change. I also noted that Biden was the best chance for the progressive left to benefit from the following economic crisis, which is historically a difficult task for the left. A 2012 study that analyzed 171 elections across 28 countries between 1919 and 1939 found that economic hardship fuelled anti-system right-wing parties, with left-wing radicals the losers almost every time.

Radical progressives succeeded in November 2020, and Biden, moderate or not, will now govern with social justice oversight. COVID-19 has plunged the West into a state of fear, with more people more willing to accept greater government interference in their lives, more spending, more debt and even some radical socialist ideas that were previously controversial, like universal basic income.

Knowing that his administration may face lesser backlash while the electorate is not only more willing to accept big government intervention but also distracted by the economic downturn, Biden has now begun implementing new economic measures built around race, gender and climate change, and not around traditional indicators like GDP or deficit ratios.

This is transformative change in action, and COVID-19 provided the cover that radical progressives needed to implement it. It’s not just insulting, as millions of Americans are still jobless and thousands of businesses have closed their doors for good, but it is very clearly not good economic practice. As layoffs remain high and corporate taxes are set to be raised to 28 percent, the United States is about to have its shoelaces tied just as the COVID-19 vaccine marks the starting gun for businesses to reopen.

Just as Biden proved that racial policy matters more to him than an economy that works for everybody, his administration has also proven that the green agenda is more important than jobs. By cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline just days after entering the White House, Biden killed thousands of short-term American and Canadian jobs with the flick of his pen.

As the West begins to phase out of COVID-19 lockdowns and businesses figure out how to reopen and grow, the United States will lead the way in radical, partisan and ultra-progressive policies and certainly take the country in a different direction than it was going pre-pandemic.

With four years left, only time will tell if it will do permanent damage.

 

Jack Buckby is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash.