Democrats took the hysteria meter up a few notches — and that’s tough to do, these days — following Tuesday’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer even sent out a quick tweet with the hashtag “riggedcabinet” after Vice President Mike Pence was called upon to cast the deciding vote.
Apparently, Sen. Schumer and his acolytes now believe that Republicans “rig” the system by simply following the Constitution — Article 1, Section 3 empowers the vice president to break ties in the upper chamber.
These are indeed strange times.
The sheer delirium on the progressive left over the DeVos nomination, however, is instructive. The modern Democratic Party has evolved into a cauldron of environmental cronyism, identity politics, collectivism and grievance. It depends on the financial support of government unions that agitate for the expansion of the administrative state. Ms. DeVos, meanwhile, favors providing parents more educational options for their children. This makes her an enemy of the powerful teacher unions that shower millions on Democratic candidates.
Ms. DeVos, the Wall Street Journal pointed out Wednesday, “has exposed that [teacher] unions and Democrats don’t really believe in their high-minded rhetoric about equal opportunity. They believe in lifetime tenure and getting paid.” And Democrats have no interest upsetting their most dependable financial patrons.
Consider comments made by Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat who used to be mayor of Newark. Back in 2012, he spoke at a conference of the American Federation for Children, a group Ms. Devos chaired that advocated for charters and school choice. At the time, Mr. Booker was attempting to reform the struggling Newark public schools.
“I cannot ever stand against a parent having options,” he told the group, according to the Journal, “because I benefited from my parents having options. And when people tell me they’re against school choice … I look at them and say, ‘As soon as you’re telling me you’re willing to send your kid to a failing school in my city … then I’ll be with you.’ … I’m going to be fighting for my president [Obama], but he does not send his kids to Washington, D.C., public schools. I got a governor in the statehouse, he does not send his kids to Trenton public schools. … And now you want to deny that to my community? No, I am going to fight for the freedom and the liberty and the choice and the options of my people, in the same way you will defend that right for yourself.”
But Sen. Booker is eyeing a White House run in 2020. To appease the unions, he threw his principles in the circular file. So Sen. Booker — like every other Senate Democrat — voted against Betsy DeVos. Then they stand amid the rubble of a system that has failed millions of children, particularly low-income children, and — oblivious to the irony — scream that Ms. DeVos will destroy public education.