Judd Gregg: Destruction of the Senate

Judd Gregg: Destruction of the Senate
© Getty Images

It is more than likely that Joe BidenJoe BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video MORE will be elected president on Tuesday.

President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE’s defeat, if it happens, will be a uniquely self-inflicted event.

There is little point in reviewing his various eccentricities, which are set to bring this weight to land on him with such a definitive thud.


Not only will the president probably lose, but there is more than a passing chance that he will take the Republican majority in the Senate with him.

This outcome — a Biden presidency coupled with Democratic control of the Senate and the House — will change the way this nation’s constitutional structure works in a deep and lasting manner.

There have, of course, been other times when one party has had universal management of our elected government.

The imperative for balance that is at the center of our system survived those times. It is good to be cautious about using excessive or alarmist language to predict what will result from single-party government occurring again.

But even those least grounded in history can recognize that this time looks different.

Never has one party come to power with such a singular focus on disruption.

Even when President Franklin Roosevelt took overwhelming control at the peak of the Depression, his party was dampened in its zealotry by the unique leverage that the Southern Democratic senators had over the execution of policy.

No such check is in place now. There is only one real force in the Democratic Party of today. It is the progressive/socialist movement.

Its adherents are not tempered by any countervailing force from the center of the party. Rather, the movement has an untethered path to pursue its policies of government excess and power.

The first action that these Orwellian forces will call forth is the destruction of the Senate.

The Senate is the only real threat to the progressive movement that has arisen from the Bronx, Berkeley and Boston.

Therefore the Senate must be disassembled.

It is rote ideology for any true progressive/socialist to assert that, should the Democratic Party take control of the Senate along with the presidency and the House, the Republican Senate minority must not be allowed to impede their march toward a better world.

This will be a world where Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKlain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase Romney-Cotton, a Cancun cabbie and the minimum wage debate On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBecerra says he wants to 'build on' ObamaCare when pressed on Medicare for All Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (D-Mass.), together with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMore than 700 migrant children in Border Patrol custody: report Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.), will set the tone and purpose. They have ordained themselves as the arbitrageurs of what is best for the rest of us.

This elitist cabal is now joined in their cause by folks like former President Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidManchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Las Vegas airport to be renamed after former Sen. Harry Reid Sanders replacing top staffers with campaign aides MORE (D-Nev.).

This is somewhat ironic but not unexpected, since it was these formerly more mainstream leaders who set the table for the demotion of the Senate. They gutted its role as the place where the power of the majority is moderated by giving some voice to the minority.

With Obama’s support while in office, Reid essentially shut down the Senate. Serious and constructive debate through amendments to policy issues was not allowed.

Reid feared that the minority would force the majority to take difficult votes. Thus, he simply brought few bills to the floor that were amendable, and made it impossible to offer amendments that were uncomfortable to the majority.

Much of the purpose of the Senate as a deliberative body was muted under the guidance of Reid, with the acquiescence of Obama.

This set the predicate for the evisceration of the Senate as the only institution in our constitutional structure that limits the autocracy of a party that otherwise dominates Congress and controls the White House.

There is yearning in the nation for an atmosphere in Washington that tones down partisanship and yields some level of cooperation, however modest.

There is yearning to stop all the shouting and rather recognize good government — government that has the confidence of more than just a narrow sliver of the nation, and which works best when more than one ideology or voice is respected.

But that yearning is going to be unfulfilled if the game plan as broadcast by the progressive/socialist left within the Democratic Party succeeds in taking control of the Senate — which it will, if more supposedly centrist figures let it.


It may be that Biden will be elected president tomorrow.

It may also be that the Democratic Party will take control of the Senate.

But for the good of the country, and for the good of Biden, it would be best if his party does not take control of the Senate.

Destroying the Senate would not be a good way for a Biden presidency to begin.

It may be the path favored by his progressive base, but it will be a path to the destruction of our constitutional structure.

In the long run, Biden will not help himself if he abets the diminution of the Senate.

A Senate that does not have room for debate and disagreement, or that does not allow minority views to be expressed, is a Senate that becomes a useless appendage in a constitutional structure that was built to push compromise as the essence of governance.

If Biden or his party countenance such a destruction, it will not help them with the American people, nor will it be looked upon kindly by history.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.