As Rahm Emmanuel famously instructed the Democratic Party 2008: “Never allow a crisis to go to waste.” He repeated the phrase Sunday, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. They are heeding his words, now more than ever.
Many Democrats are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to launch a full-bore push for socialism—making the socialist rhetoric of the early Democratic presidential debates look tepid by comparison.
Not surprisingly, Bernie Sanders has been among the most vocal, lamenting the lack of centralized control in the American healthcare system. As he said in the most recent Democratic presidential debate: “We’ve got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide healthcare to all people in a good year, without the epidemic.”
For Sanders and the Democratic Left, the coronavirus demands a centralized, national health care system. No more private insurance, private clinics, or private hospitals. Never mind that the communist country that unleashed this plague upon the world was the epitome of centralized control.
And of course, this is on top of Sanders calling for the nationalization of the energy industry last August. He claimed that was the only way to combat climate change.
His supporters are equally committed to the socialist cause. As speaker Kshama Sawant declared at a Sanders rally in Washington State: “[W]e need to elect Bernie and we need a new party of, by and for working people. We need a powerful socialist movement to end all capitalist oppression and exploitation.”
And it’s not just Sanders. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has demanded “a nationalization of crucial factories and industries that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need.”
Other Democrats across the country are also embracing their inner socialist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a state-controlled hand sanitizer factory, and he has threatened to use the power of the state to control prices. It may be a small industry, but it’s textbook socialism.
Another common facet of socialist systems is the imposition of price controls. Here too, Democrats are using the coronavirus to justify this measure. House Democrats Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and 46 other Democrat members signed a letter calling for price controls on drugs related to treating coronavirus patients.
Many on the Left are also calling for massive expansions of the welfare state that have little or nothing to do with the coronavirus. This is what the socialist Left has been demanding for decades. Their demands aren’t about bringing the coronavirus crisis to a swift close; they are about enlarging the dependency class. They are exploiting the coronavirus for all it’s worth.
These steps to socialism are being sold as urgent reforms to address the coronavirus. To be sure, many thousands of Americans are now furloughed or out of work; and businesses are struggling to stay afloat. The federal government under President Trump’s leadership has done a great deal to effectively respond to the crisis and support struggling Americans and their businesses.
But that does not mean that private sector industries should be nationalized or that the power of the federal government should be increased. On the contrary, private companies are stepping up to meet the demands of the crisis. For example, General Motors and Tesla have begun producing ventilators. Their ability to launch massive production far exceeds what any government agency might accomplish. And only a robust private sector free from government regulation will be able to pull the American economy out of the impending recession when this crisis is over.
The coronavirus may be deadly; but we cannot allow the Left to use it to kill capitalism, free markets, and the private sector.
Kris W. Kobach served as the Secretary of State of Kansas during 2011-2019. An expert in immigration law and policy, he coauthored the Arizona SB-1070 immigration law and represented in federal court the 10 ICE agents who sued to stop Obama’s 2012 DACA executive amnesty. He currently serves as General Counsel for We Build the Wall and is a candidate for the U.S. Senate. His website is www.kriskobach.com.