Don't count on a "blue wave" to deliver

Keith Nichols: The Democrats’ greatest failure during Barack Obama’s presidency was not to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s fairness doctrine, which would have broken the back of right-wing hate radio. -promoted by Laura Belin

We don’t need to look very far back in U.S. history to see what would happen if Joe Biden wins the presidential election and Democrats somehow gain control of the Senate. 

In 2006 the American people went to the polls and said very loud and very clear we don’t want Republican rule. Democrats picked up seven U.S. Senate seats and control of the House. The total rebuke of the Republican Party was the worst political drubbing in recent memory. 

Two years later the American people spoke even louder and more clearly. They gave Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate and a larger House majority, and put Barack Obama in the White House.

Did we get free and fair elections with a verifiable paper trail? No. 

Did we get single-payer health care? No. 

Did we get the “fairness doctrine” reinstated? No. 

Did we have the votes to pass these? Former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said we had the votes for a public health care option and let it slip away. Harkin called it his greatest disappointment during his time in Congress. 

The Democrats’ greatest failure was not to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s fairness doctrine, which would have broken the back of right-wing hate radio. What could Mitch McConnell or John Boehner have done to block that? Absolutely nothing.

I am old enough to remember when the fairness doctrine was in effect. Democrats could and frequently did win in rural Iowa. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the FCC repealed the fairness doctrine, and we started to get 24 hours a day of Hate Democrats, Hate Liberals on rural radio. Now if you are a Democrat in rural America, you don’t have a very good chance on election day.

Once Mitch McConnell got his 41st Republican senator after the election for Ted Kennedy’s replacement, he realized he could push Obama/Biden all over the place. The Senate minority leader ended up as the de facto president.

So if Biden wins the November election and Democrats take control of the Senate, they will not do anything to upset a Republican. Even when they had a filibuster-proof Senate they ignored the American people and cowered to the will of the GOP.

If you expect Biden to try to lead a wave of progressive ideas, don’t count on it. He had his chance and failed.

Keith Nichols is a former Iowa Democratic activist, who became a precinct committeeman in 1976 at age 18.

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