What Would We Do Without Democrats?

By Steve Huntley

February 4, 2024

I thank heaven for Democrats. What would we do without them to warn of the impending doom we face if Donald Trump is returned to the White House?  So, we’re fortunate that they are around to caution us about the danger of the authoritarian ambitions of “MAGA Republicans.” And where might those tyrannical impulses lead us? Perhaps to a GOP Washington micromanaging our lives to the point of dictating to us which stoves and dishwashers we can have in our kitchens and what light bulbs we can install in our lamps.

Oh, wait a minute, that’s what Democrats in Washington and state governments are already pushing on us. Then maybe those MAGA autocrats will restrict what cars we can drive. Uh ho, that’s what Democrat climate-change fanatics in the Biden cabinet, the federal administrative state and liberals running some states are already out to do. They’re busy calculating what year automakers must stop producing gasoline-powered cars and exclusively manufacture electric battery vehicles.

Okay, then surely the danger is Czar Trump and his minions of thought police will crack down on media so the big web organizations will toe the line to his messaging. Argh — the Democrats are already at it. Journalists such as Matt Taibbi have documented how petty but powerful bureaucrats in D.C. have bullied, cajoled and pressured social media sites to characterize as “misinformation” and “disinformation” any dissent from liberal groupthink to minimize or outright banish it from the public forum.

The country’s school children still haven’t recovered from damage caused by Anthony Fauci and other self-declared public health experts shutting down any national conversation about how to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Okay, okay! But watch Trump try to brainwash our children with MAGA curricula from elementary to high schools and beyond. Uh, wrong again. As we’ve learned from zoom classes during the Covid-forced school closings, it’s Democrat teachers, administrators and local school boards shoving down the throats of vulnerable children woke cultural claptrap about race, gender and American history.

Prestigious universities take the ball from there and, well, the shocking outbreak of anti-semitism on their campuses pretty much sums up the results of far left-wing indoctrination. The record is clear. For all their shrieking about Trump despotism, Democrats are the agents of authoritarian, quasi-dictatorial government — from the school board to city hall to state legislatures to Washington.

The attacks on individual liberty are coming from all sides of the Democrat government complex. It’s difficult sometimes to say which is worst:  The school boards that try to characterize as domestic terrorists those parents furious at the political indoctrination of their children?  The government censors out to undermine the First Amendment and control who can be heard on the critical issues of the day?

The bureaucrats who wrapped themselves in “science” to shut down the economy and cripple the education of America’s children during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Perhaps the strongest assault of our republican form of government, the most powerful attack from authoritarian forces, comes from the administrative state, known in the conservative circles as the Deep State. It has bestowed on itself the authority to govern us by seizing the power to decide what our laws mean.

Unfortunately a few decades ago the Supreme Court green-lighted that power grab by ruling that the executive branch — from the president down to unelected government bureaucrats — has the right to interpret laws passed by Congress if the details of legislation seem ambiguous.

That decision established what is known as the “Chevron deference.” It means the courts and the rest of us should defer to the president, his department heads and unelected apparatchiks when they decide this or that law is ambiguous. They then interpret that ambiguity the way they want to write the regulations they want.

It’s a viewpoint that Democrats love, for reasons easy to understand. Even when a Republican occupies the White House, the functionaries of the administrative state remain overwhelmingly Democrat, liberal and progressive. With a stroke of a pen, they can rewrite laws to achieve ends Democrats could never get through Congress.

From the education department to the energy agencies to the interior department to the many government mandarins overseeing the economy, the bureaucrats took that ruling and ran with it. Paragraph 5, Section 2, Clause 14 of a law isn’t crystal clear? No problem. We in government are here to help.

So off the bureaucrats went to impose regulations on American citizens not explicitly or even implicitly written into the nation’s vast body of laws. That’s as authoritarian as you can get. It empowers presidents and faceless bureaucrats with near dictatorial authority. Just ask the Idaho couple wanting to build a home who had the hammer of the Environmental Protection Agency come down on them. It declared a soggy part of their property to be “wetlands” and thus a federally regulated waterway. That case ended up in the Supreme Court, which found that EPA bureaucrats used the Clean Water Act in a way Congress never intended.

Presidents also try to enact policies that Congress would not authorize. A couple of years ago then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi observed that Congress had never authorized forgiveness of student loans, so President Biden didn’t have the power to cancel student debt. Biden said never mind and tried to do it anyway — only to see his plan struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Never mind that, he’s back to trying to find a way to do it.

Screw the taxpayer, the millions of them who paid their own college costs or never went to college.

(Pelosi, being a good big-government Democrat, blessed Biden’s power grab when she realized she couldn’t get Congress to do her bidding and that executive action was the only way to achieve student debt forgiveness.)

The ground work was laid by former President Barack Obama. Remember he declared that if Congress wouldn’t enact legislation he wanted, “I’ve got a pen to take executive actions where Congress won’t, and I’ve got a telephone to rally folks around the country on this mission.”

To their shame, members of Congress from both parties have acquiesced to this coup by the White House and the nameless bureaucrats. Spineless lawmakers write vague laws to outsource the hard work to apparatchiks hungry to increase their power.

Now there’s a chance to turn the tide.

The Chevron deference theory was back before the Supreme Court in January — a challenge to the desk jockeys in Washington who decreed commercial fishermen must pay the salaries of federal monitors on their boats. The tough questioning from justices seemed to indicate that they are leaning toward restricting that all-powerful bureaucratic discretion.

Still, such a victory would mark only a first step toward reclaiming our democratic republic from authoritarian government.

The bottom line is that Democrats — with foolish Republicans occasionally joining in this project — have worked for decades to slowly expand the power and reach of presidents and, more critically, the unelected bureaucrats of the administrative state.

For all their hand-wringing and often expressed anxieties about an authoritarian presidency under Trump, Democrats are the ones who have greased the way for that. They have erected a maze of complex laws and an unelected government colossus free to interpret them in any way its functionaries see fit. It’s a system ready made for an autocrat to exploit. Democrats have seen the enemy — and, surprise, it’s them.


Steve Huntley, a retired Chicago journalist now living in Austin, Texas, has contributed other pieces to johnkassnews, from an examination of the secret jail for Christopher Columnbus and other politically problematic public art to an essay on Americans suffering from Joe Biden gas pain.

For almost three decades Huntley spent most of his career in Chicago journalism at the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was a feature writer, metro reporter, night city editor, metropolitan editor, editorial page editor and a columnist for the opinion pages.

Before that he was a reporter and editor with United Press International (UPI) in the South and Chicago, and Chicago bureau chief and a senior editor in Washington with U.S. News & World Report. Northwestern University Press has issued soft cover and eBook editions of Knocking Down Barriers: My Fight for Black America by Truman K. Gibson Jr. with Steve Huntley, a memoir of a Chicagoan who was a member of President Roosevelt’s World War II Black Cabinet working to desegregate the military.

Comments 43

    1. Humor doesn’t change the facts. Trump tried to overthrow the election through multiple means; he was fine with the idea of hanging Mike Pence because “he deserves it.” We don’t have to worry about his showing the Chief Russian spy confidential papers in the Oval Office or deferring to Putin. MAGA is a quite tolerant group.

  1. Steve, well said and quite spot on. Thank you. The scariest part is all the idiots who buy into it all (and vote that way). In the world of cancel culture that group has created, I wish someone would cancel them out !

    Although the policies are sound and obviously much better (for all of us), I only wish for oh so many reasons, there was someone else Republican other than Trump carrying them out.

  2. Hopefully the Chevron deference gets restricted. Executive orders, by whatever dope is in the White House knee-jerking the country back from their predecessor’s executive orders, need to stop. And just maybe the legislative branch could start earning their pay again *passing legislation* instead of preening for the cameras in their never ending campaigning… Are there adult politicians anywhere???

  3. Great article – add to all of that the selective enforcement /non enforcement of said laws – highly skewed towards criminals and away from any hint of conservative values.

  4. Great piece. The MSM has really tried to ignore (at this point) Chevron. They will continue to do so until the ruling is favorable to the non deep state agencies. Then, all hell will break loose.
    The Republicans need desperately to retake control of congress including a larger majority in the house, in order to accomplish what’s needed on the border, as well as defunding most of the elephant dung that the Dems have pulled off. That said, we’re in a situation where both candidates for president are disliked by the majority of voters. Hopefully, at the convention, this will change. Don can’t keep his silly, childlike mouth shut, and there are adults out there.

  5. Authoritarian Democrats warning us of authoritarianism! Orwell’s Big Brother lives on, strangely channeled by bumbling President Magoo.

    Huntley’s account here is brilliant, but to be comprehensive it would have overtaxed jkn’s server. One to remember: Many people serving in our military — plus many of the minority of smart people in government desk jobs — were fired because they refused injection by an experimental Covid vaccine that did not prevent Covid. Those lousy light bulbs weren’t the only source of poor illumination.

  6. “It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” – Alexis de Tocqueville taken from “The Fouders’ Speech To A Nation In Crisis” by Steven Rabb; Chapter three “Agency”

  7. When they have done nothing but create disaster after disaster they point a finger and say not me it’s them. In typical bully style.
    Where has power to the people gone? We watch neighborhoods get destroyed. We watch the numbers of deaths to fentanyl rise. Illegal immigrants now are given schools to live in while the tax paying parents of students are told to suck eggs.
    We don’t get news from the left. We get feelings and thoughts. Ugh! I recently asked a person on the left about a news story. I was asked what are you talking about? My stations didn’t show the story.
    To date states are trying to keep Trump off the ballot. One who do they think they are? Two shouldn’t I decide who I vote for? Three their shameless voter interference because they can’t beat him is pathetic. Oh not authoritarian at all.
    Thank you for an excellent column. Great read!

  8. I was like a kid on Christmas morning when I woke up to johnkassnews and saw that today’s piece was from Steve Huntley. (Don’t get me wrong – I love everything John writes, too — but Steve has a way of crystallizing what is happening around us in a way that few others can.) Wow. Talk about hitting the nail on the end. He has captured EXACTLY what’s going on and I wish more journalists and politicians were willing to call this out and work to fix this dangerous dynamic that is allowing unelected bureaucrats to rule our lives. Let’s hope SCOTUS does its job and reins in the administrative state so that our three branches of government can go back to functioning as they were intended. It will take a long time to undo the damage but our Republic’s future depends on it!

  9. Remember one thing – whatever they are accusing conservatives of, the Democrats are doing it themselves. This applies to everyone of their accusations.

  10. It is unfortunate that liberal leaning “influencers” with large followings are not called upon to respond to articles like this.

    Can you imagine Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert trying to dispute Steve’s insights in a debate forum.

    Or next time Taylor Swift makes a statement endorsing Biden, ask her how the Biden administration’s policies benefit the American public as a whole.

  11. Remember that pile of executive orders next to Old Joe on Inauguration Day? When I saw that all I could think of was…we are in deep trouble as a nation. Unfortunately, 3+ years later our worst fears are being realized.

    Great article, Steve! I would pass along to all my left leaning relatives, but they probably wouldn’t read it, and if they did would claim it is disinformation. These “folks” never want to admit they could be wrong, as our freedoms get flushed down the toilet.

  12. This brings to mind what I think is a Russian proverb (or at least leveled against Russians repeatedly):

    “Every accusation is a confession”

    This is the first internal question I’m asking whenever I hear protest from democrats.

  13. “The power to enact is the power to amend.”
    Unfortunately, uniparty Republicans once elected, never return leftist executive orders to a default position. So the process of squeezing the regulated entity is always a ratcheting one.
    Why doesn’t a Combine Republican ever fight back?

  14. When I hear people saying they won’t vote for Trump because of his personality and abrasiveness, I imagine them dying on the operating table and refusing the surgeon because he’s a jerk. Trump is far down on the list of people I’d like to have a beer with, but on top of the list of people that can remedy our dying country.

  15. Thank you Steve for reminding me of all the MAGA faults there are…..except you forgot a few: It should always be remembered about the MAGA Republicans kissing the ass of Iranian poobaas and the Chinese Xi led CCP……….Oh yes, those are things that the Biden “team” are doing and have done….sorry for my attempt to add to your list….God Bless you Steve and John.
    We have a few more months to go before we can vote in the General and I am most anxious to do that for Donald Trump. God bless this man and God help our USA before he gets in the WH!

  16. Article on the money.
    Do not underestimate the power of unelected bureaucrats of the administrative state. California form of government is best of the worst at abusing this power.

  17. One of the government apparatchiks recently stated that the printed wing of their propaganda machinery was in danger due to the laying off their workers due to financial insolvency. He stated that the government needs to urgently send financial support to prop up these failing mediums. Failing newspapers should have access to public monies, much like other government apparatchiks like public television and public radio. If you don’t like what we print, we’ll print it anyway and you’ll learn to like it, dammit! Of course, your old employer is now a “nonprofit” entity receiving the benefits being a “nonprofit” receives. I’m sure that’s another article for another time. I mean the Russian government supports Tass, the Chinese People’s Republic supports their media. The United States needs to join these enlighted societies and furthur subsidize their print mediums. Yes, we’ll print it and you’ll learn to like it…

  18. The Number One rule commiecrats live by: “Rules are for thee, nor for me.” We need a constitutional amendment mandating term limits for EVERY elected office. That’s the only way this is ever going to stop.

  19. An esssy that had to be written. Great work, Steve, in logging the whole array of totalitarian agenda items. I think anyone who read this today was nodding their head in agreement and whispering under their breath “Damn, straight!”

  20. Steve, thank you for highlighting the Chevron case before the Supreme Court. The bureaucratic state is out of control. Also, the president can’t just by his pen change law.
    Congress is at fault sometimes for writing laws that are too vague and that allow the agencies to much leeway in the rule making. In this increasingly technical age, though, the implications of changing circumstances should be handled legislatively not by a faceless bureaucrat. I discussed the difficulty of finding the right balance in an op-ed I wrote about a somewhat arcane section in the federal law that has huge implications for freedom of speech:

    I helped shape Section 230 in the ’90s, and I doubt social …

    The Des Moines Register
    https://www.desmoinesregister.com › 2021/02/14 › fre…
    Feb 14, 2021 — Greg Ganske is a retired plastic surgeon and was a U.S. congressman from Iowa from 1995 to 2003. View Comments. View Comments.

  21. Yeah, I agree. We’re all taught in high school about the Founders such as Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, and Madison amongst others and the republic they envisioned. However the real Founders of the government we are now under are: Wilson, Goodnow, FDR, LBJ, and JP Stevens. The original founders would never recognize the government under which we now find ourselves.

  22. Who else but the Democrats could and woud pass a resolution in support of Hamas? The 50 Thieves just did with BLM Johnson casting the tie-breaking vote. Who else but the Democrats would cheer the recent Gulaging of Pro Lifers?

    They are a swell gang!

    Vote like you lives depend upon it, Citizens, because it surely does.

    I am casting mine for Donald Trump.

    1. Even if you find Trump odious, he needs to be elected again. Nobody is voting for Trump to babysit their children. We’ll be voting for him to protect us from the communists and socialists currently destroying our country. Trump is the only one who is not part of the deep state, every other candidate is.

  23. We need to hammer the democrats down so far that they can never raise their foolish anti-American heads again. Perhaps our esteemed “Republican” politicians should read a copy of “Rules for Radicals.” I’m sure Mitch McConnell would need a fresh diaper change after reading what’s been used against the American dream for several decades now.

    1. I’m quite familiar with Alinsky’s rules. And the irony is that the person who has best utilized those rules to his advantage is none other than Donald Trump … particularly rule #5:

      “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

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