(UnitedVoice.com) – In 2016, America learned a new term that became synonymous with a rallying cry. It almost didn’t happen. Donald Trump stumbled upon a phrase Conservative Americans embraced not just for its catchiness but also because it hit home. “Drain the Swamp” became a label that was so much more meaningful than many could ever have imagined. If you’ve ever dealt with the federal government, the layers of red tape can be frustrating.
Over the last year, President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats attacked Republican-led states for allegedly undermining democracy. The outrageous claim wasn’t just patently false; federal courts up to the US Supreme Court ruled they were Constitutional. However, what Trump did in 2016 was expose the administrative state of the federal government. Unelected bureaucrats primarily run the federal government despite supposed oversight from political appointees. If ever there was a concern about the undermining of America’s Republic, one might find the cause in the powerful administrative state, which can ignore political appointees whenever it wants without consequence.
Administrative State Runs Amok
While Democrats continue to claim election subversion and voter suppression, it’s all a distraction. In 2020, the federal workforce was approximately 3 million people. Only 0.23% were political appointees to whom the bureaucracy is supposed to answer to align the federal government workforce with White House policies.
Only 2% to 6% of federal employees leave their jobs each year. Highly insulated from political cycles, they rarely leave government service when their agendas don’t align with a new administration.
Why is this a big deal?
Let’s look at an interesting statistic. From 1997 to 2019:
- 50% of government employees registered as Democrats.
- 26% registered as Republicans
- 24% registered as Independents
The most heavily Democratic departments were:
- Environment Protection Agency – approximately 70%
- Department of Education – approximately 70%
- State Department – approximately 70%
These three agencies are the holy grail of the Democratic Party. Is this an accident? In addition, Democrats represented 63% of senior government executives.
Now, let’s connect the dots.
Partisanship-Ruled Federal Employee Workforce
The federal bureaucracy is pursuing its own agenda regardless of who’s in the White House. In 2016, Trump declared he would drain the swamp. That was a figure of speech for rooting out corruption in the government. Government bureaucrats are the ones who actually run the daily operations of the government, and it’s nearly impossible to fire a bad government employee thanks to union protections.
In a column for RealClearPolitics, author and researcher James Sherk detailed how career bureaucrats get away with overriding a White House administration if they disagree with it. As we learned in the Trump years, the FBI went rogue and violated its own investigative standards and rules in investigating Trump. That was according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Beyond that, Democratic bureaucrats openly resisted Donald Trump’s agenda and refused to implement policies they opposed.
How do they do this? It’s simple, Sherk said they refused to enforce laws or regulations. For example, career bureaucrats in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division refused to enforce conscientious protections for nurses who refused to provide abortions. They refused to step in and help Asian Americans discriminated against by Ivy League schools.
In other cases, government HR personnel ignored Trump’s hiring freeze and retroacted new hires to the day before the president signed the executive order. Or, they slow-walked projects or underperformed to buy time. In some instances, political appointees were helpless to hold anyone accountable and did the work employees were supposed to do to accomplish Trump’s agenda.
If ever there was a cause for concern about undermining the stability and foundations of democracy, unelected bureaucrats are at the center of it.
Perhaps the message needs to be issued, and America needs reminding: the swamp is alive and well in Washington, DC.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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