For weeks, Senate Democrats have focused their political opposition on a single one of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees – Betsy DeVos. While the Democrats on Capitol Hill have opposed most of Trump’s nominees with one degree of passion or another, DeVos was the target that would stand for all the rest. Together, they would fight tooth and nail to keep her from being the next Education Secretary and prove to the GOP that they were not going to be steamrolled by the new administration.
Tuesday afternoon, all their posturing came to a predictable end. While Democrats were able to peel away two Republicans to make the vote a 50-50 tie, Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding ballot and confirmed DeVos in a historic Senate moment.
DeVos attracted controversy after her shaky confirmation hearing, but this was never about her answers, dubious as they were at time. This was about her lifelong support for school choice. She has spent the majority of her adult life donating money to charter schools and fighting for vouchers that would help the less fortunate send their children to better schools. The left, which panders endlessly to the unions, despises all of these things. They think the only way to “fix” America’s education system is to spend more, more, more. They can’t stand the fact that the Education Department might try something new for once.
Why did Democrats expend so much political capitol on DeVos, as opposed to another of Trump’s picks – many of whom are just as “controversial” [read: conservative]?
Well, for one, they lucked out with a couple of questions in the hearing that they were able to take out of context and make DeVos look foolish. That played well in the short-attention-span social mediaverse, and Democrats seized on the viral nature of those videos to show their base just how hard they are fighting for the little guy. How touching.
For two, they know full well how much is riding on the future of American education. They’ve had their grubby paws in the public school system for decades, and their efforts to strip any hint of conservative ideology out of the textbooks has come to great fruition over the last couple. They don’t want to see all of their hard work go to waste. There’s indoctrination to be done!
But let’s be serious. Now that DeVos is confirmed, they’ll turn the spotlight on someone else. Perhaps they’ll go back to making a stink about Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. Maybe they’ll just gear up for a big fight over Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. They’ve decided they are going to be the new “party of no” for the duration of the Trump administration.
But if Tuesday’s vote is anything to go by, they aren’t going to be very effective at it.