A Republican Roadmap to Taking Back California

Gavin Newsom recall strategy brands opposition as Republican | The  Sacramento Bee
Photo Credit: The Sacramento Bee/John Walker

By Ethan Nikfar 

Earlier in April, California’s secretary of state announced that recall petitioners gathered and submitted over 1,626,000 valid signatures to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, surpassing the required amount by over 100,000 signatures. Newsom, who just a few years ago was being touted as a future presidential nominee, has faced mounting criticism due to his inconsistent COVID-19 response. Liberals have espoused anger at him reopening the state too fast, while conservatives have expressed their displeasure with the state’s business-crushing Draconian lockdowns. 

In the recall election, voters will first be asked whether or not they wish to remove the governor. If a majority support the removal, then they get to vote on a replacement. Recent polls (for what they’re worth) have Newsom comfortable and treading above water. A KABC/SurveyUSA poll from early May has only 36 percent of voters backing his removal, while 47 percent wish him to stay. 

Many voters point to California’s 2003 recall of then-Governor Grey Davis as a glimmer of hope for this year’s election. But unfortunately, political dynamics were glaringly different nearly two decades ago. In 2004, George W. Bush lost the Golden State by only 9.95 points. In 2020, Donald Trump lost the state by almost 30 points. The state has turned much bluer since the last recall election.

So, is there anything Republicans can do to halt the one-party control? 

Chances are slim, but California Republicans would be wise actually to interest themselves with the deep-blue state’s politics. In 2020, GOP candidates got destroyed across the state, but conservative ballot initiatives fared well. 

For example, Uber, Lyft, and other gig-economy firms went to task and drafted a proposition to prevent the classification of independent contractors as full-time employees. This prevents hammering in independent contractors and freelance writers who wish to work on their own time. If the proposition did not pass and the California courts’ idiotic rulings became law, it would have probably resulted in Uber and Lyft ceasing operations in the state. Labor unions and progressive activists fought hard against the proposition, but 58 percent of voters voted in favor of it.

When Californians attempted to disavow their state’s constitution and enshrine racial and sexual preferences in college admissions and government employment, voters also struck that down

How about prohibiting cash bail? California voters said: No, thanks

What happened when the state tried to allow 17-year-old primary voters the ability to vote if they turned 18 before the general election? Californians rightfully rejected it. 

Democrats also wanted to expand the ability of the state to enact rent control, one of the most failed policies of the last century. Voters were also not down with that idea. 

So, what does this suggest? California voters are attitudinally liberal and may hate GOP candidates, but they are not necessarily opposed to conservative ideas. Running on the correct issues and presenting the correct image to voters is key to being competitive. 

In the past, GOP politicians have attempted to run on issues such as education, where they express support for school choice and school vouchers. That may work in a state like Florida, where there is evidence that strong support for school choice helped propel now Gov. Ron DeSantis to victory over Andrew Gillum. But, Ron DeSantis is a once-in-a-generation kind of political talent and Florida is an evenly divided state; California is not. It is impossible to run on an issue in California where the solution from Democrats is to throw more money at the system. Republicans have to run on issues that all Californians are fed up with. 

What are those issues? There are two main problems California Republicans need to be pressing forward: crime and quality of life. 

The state’s major cities saw a significant uptick in homicides and car thefts last year. It is no coincidence that it corresponds with the anti-police rhetoric and subsequent “defund the police” sloganeering by prominent Democrats. 

All Americans, including Democrats, are interested in keeping their communities and families safe. Even minorities, which progressives are supposedly fighting for, are not invested in the “defund the police” idea. 81 percent of black people want just as much, if not more, policing in their neighborhoods. The demonization of police gravely cost Democrats in down-ballot races; Republicans would be foolish not to utilize it in this year’s recall election.

Republicans also need to highlight the decreasing quality of life within the state. Schools in California have been closed for over a year at the behest of selfish teachers’ unions, even though the evidence points to schools being safe to reopen. And, as it turns out, parents are frequently unable to go to work because small children cannot be home alone on Zoom. Newsom’s allegiance to teachers’ unions has not only displayed scientific ineptitude, but he has also alienated a key voting bloc. 

Moreover, at least 161,000 homeless people currently reside in the state. The homeless drop syringes (and defecation) on streets around young children, spread disease, and decrease access to public spaces. Most parents do not like to have their children playing in and around public parks dominated by such distasteful conditions. 

But, most importantly, GOP candidates have to address California’s housing crisis. Housing prices are so high that if you factor in their costs, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. Policies such as zoning laws and rent control that limit the supply of housing have drastically increased prices. The GOP would be wise to present an alternative by deregulating the sector and allowing for the construction of more houses.

None of this will guarantee a GOP victory later this year. Even if they take up the measures most appealing to voters and back a candidate with the combination of moderate appeal and name recognition, they will likely still lose. But this recall will be the best chance the GOP has anytime soon of freeing Californians from their authoritarian governor.

Mr. Nikfar is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Pre-Pharmacy and a columnist for The Hesperian.

The Left’s Outrageous Attacks on Tim Scott Should Be a Wake-up Call

Picture from Senate Television video via AP

By Ethan Nikfar 

Every year, the president of the United States stands before Congress in monarchical fashion to address what the king-like figure is doing to help solve our problems. Along with it, the opposition party has a designated person with the worst job in Congress: giving a response to that speech. The out-of-power party’s rebuttal to the president is invariably seen as meager and useless in comparison to the main address. 

But last week, Tim Scott, the Republican Senator from South Carolina, became the sole exception to that rule.

Scott gave a terrific response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech – a speech that highlighted the president’s goal of fundamentally realigning the relationship between the government and the people. Biden made constitutionally illiterate claims such as, “It’s time we remembered that we the people are the government,” whereas Scott acknowledged limits on the government’s power and expressed optimism for the country’s future that stemmed from outside Washington’s schemes.        

But after the address was over, Scott became subject to the extreme vitriol of the left. Why? Because in his speech, Scott, a black man, had the temerity to say, “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”

With that, the left exploded with outrage. The senator was endlessly attacked and had racial slurs hurled his way. “Uncle Tim” began trending on Twitter and remained on the platform for the entire day. Leftists immediately demanded that Scott accept his lesser, victimhood status and bow down to his mobbish saviors. 

The left’s disgraceful reaction was particularly bizarre considering that Vice President Kamala Harris agreed with Scott’s statement about race in America, yet she received little to no blowback for her observation. 

Throughout the next few days, Democrats across the country attempted to portray their disgust that Scott, a black man, was chosen to lead the response. For example, The View’s co-host, Sunny Hostin, claimed, “He was chosen because he is the only black Republican Senator. He is that person.” 

In reality, Scott was not chosen by Republicans solely based on the color of his skin. Instead, he actually has political views and life experiences that make him uniquely qualified to give that specific speech, and to best address the disingenuous claims Biden was making about race in America.

Scott has faced racism in his everyday life – lending him credibility to speak on the matter of race in America. He also co-wrote the police reform bill last summer that Democrats filibustered before even allowing it to be debated on the floor. In a bit of an unsurprising twist, Democrats used the same filibuster they now decry as a “Jim Crow relic” to stymie a black Senator’s proposal. 

Regardless, it is significantly less divisive and wrong for Tim Scott to be chosen to lead the State of the Union response than it is to select a Vice President purely based on her gender and skin color. If you are wondering who may have done such a thing, look no further than our current president, who openly admitted to vetting vice presidential candidates based on their gender and skin color. But when Joe Biden did precisely that, we heard only praise from the left. 

That really suggests one thing – parrot the woke left’s viewpoints, and you can say what you want about race and emphasize its importance (or lack thereof) without pushback. Suggest, however, that the left may be wrong, and you suddenly turn into an evil ignoramus who is withdrawn from the reality of race in this country. Such is the pamphlet to our current political discourse. 

This insane treatment has not been limited to just Tim Scott. Nikki Haley, the former UN Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina, has had similar slurs directed her way due to her Punjabi heritage. 

To the Democratic Party, there is only one way of life for anyone non-white: to be Democrats. Anyone accused of breaking that orthodoxy is subjected to cruel, vile harassment. 

The irony is that even though Democrats howled to the moon that the Trump-led GOP was the party of white nationalism, the GOP made significant inroads with minority voters in 2020.

Aside from that, Senator Scott deserves better; he is a decent man in indecent times. But to Democrats, his character and the merit of his ideas are of zero importance. The only things that matter are the words “black” and “Republican.” 

Progressives who think they get to decide who qualifies as black have not only cost us an honest conversation about race, but they have also revealed themselves to be a party of race-obsessed partisans unwilling to tolerate opposing ideas. 

Mr. Nikfar is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Pre-Pharmacy and a columnist for The Hesperian.

The Scientific Establishment Has Lost Our Trust

By Ethan Nikfar

Over a year ago, a deadly new virus struck the world, forcing us to entirely adapt and revamp our lifestyles to prevent its spread. In response, we embraced public health officials, particularly in the federal government, to make sense of it. But today, those same public health officials have become increasingly unreasonable, withdrawn from reality, and unwilling to accept new evidence that challenges their outdated stances. 

Public health officials have done a ton of admirable work through the duration of the pandemic. But as the figures Americans are looking up to for guidance in uncharted waters, they have an obligation to define and explain risks associated with the pandemic accurately. 

Their job is not to coax us into behaving a certain way or lie to us about the data. Unfortunately, over the last several months, such distasteful behavior has become all too common for members of the scientific establishment. 

Among the culprits are Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert (also the highest-paid official in the federal government), the CDC, and FDA. 

Let us start with Dr. Fauci. At the beginning of the pandemic, Fauci was a welcome sight for most Americans; he was the voice of reason we listened to in order to keep up with the latest news and updates on the virus. For the first few months of the pandemic, he did this relatively solidly. But since, he has become intentionally misleading, power-hungry, and relishing in his newfound celebrity status. 

Fauci began the pandemic in early March by discouraging mask usage. In an interview on 60 Minutes on March 8, 2020, Fauci stated, “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.” This was in an attempt to influence Americans to not wear masks so that healthcare workers would not face a shortage. But Fauci is a public health official. His job is to convey accurate public health information to the public – not to try and influence our behavior by tricking us into acting a certain way. Sadly, the deception was not limited to mask usage. 

Fauci also deliberately shifted the goalposts when discussing the percentage of Americans who would need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. Initially stating that only 60 to 70 percent would need to be vaccinated, Fauci nudged the number up to 80 to 90 percent of the population. In an interview with the New York Times‘ Donald McNeil Jr., Fauci admitted to moving the goalposts “partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.” 

Fauci also praised Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic. Fauci, of course, will not mention the fact that New York has the second-highest COVID-19 death rate per million in America. Nor will he tell you that Cuomo signed an executive order to force COVID-positive patients back into nursing homes, killing nearly 13,000 elderly residents. Additionally, the governor’s aides tried to cover up and undercount the number of nursing home deaths for months to avoid federal investigation. For Fauci, New York was worthy of praise. The state’s citizens probably think differently.

When Fauci was questioned about the risk of COVID-19 spread in migrant detention facilities that force migrants into extremely close quarters, he stated, “I have nothing to do with the border . . . Having me down at the border, that’s really not what I do.” Really? Fauci has been more than happy to insert himself into other discussions, such as the travel ban, in the past year. He just does not want to criticize the Biden Administration.

Fauci criticized Texas for lifting its mask mandate. Yet, more than a month and a half after Governor Greg Abbott rescinded the mandate, the seven-day average of daily deaths in Texas is at its lowest point since early July of 2020. Daily cases have declined at a similar rate. When asked about this, Fauci stated, “You know, there are a lot of things that go into that. I mean, when you say that they’ve had a lot of the activity on the outside like ball games, I’m not really quite sure. It could be they’re doing things outdoors.” Fauci lacks the prerequisite understanding that behavioral patterns do not shift when the government announces a law that is impossible to enforce. Many on the political left (seemingly including Fauci) also seem not to fathom that people can wear masks without a mandate. Perhaps that can be attributed to their worldview that individuals cannot make rational decisions without the force of government compelling them to do so.

In late February, Fauci maintained that vaccinated individuals should not go to indoor restaurants or crowded movie theaters. Curious, given that data from Israel found that vaccinated individuals are at very low risk of transmitting the virus to others. If being vaccinated does not allow you to resume engaging in everyday activities, then what will? 

Fauci’s recommendations for vaccinated individuals are not only ridiculous, but they actively discourage people from getting vaccinated. If being vaccinated does not change what you are allowed to do, then why would a healthy 25-year-old whose parents and grandparents have been vaccinated now choose to go through the hassle of getting vaccinated himself? 

Fauci should instead be promoting the message that the faster we get vaccinated, the sooner we can return to everyday life. But he will simply not let that happen. 

It took Fauci until late April to announce that vaccinated people can start to unmask outdoors. He stated, “It’s pretty common sense now that the outdoor risk is really quite low.” If so, what took him so long? 

But even now, his stamp of approval is limited to certain outdoor activities. 

Not only has Fauci deliberately downplayed the efficacy of vaccines by recommending that vaccinated individuals cannot go and enjoy their lives, but he has also mirrored Democrats’ misguided arguments about perpetually delaying school reopenings.

Questionable behavior was unfortunately not limited to just Fauci. The CDC has done its part too. 

The CDC has continued to maintain its recommendation that 90 percent of schools remain partially closed. This is even as studies have shown that children are not at risk of receiving nor transmitting the virus, and teachers are at no more at risk than the general public. Schools have been safe to reopen the entire time – especially now that so many school staff have been vaccinated. 

Moreover, the CDC’s summer camp guidance insists that kids over the age of two and all adults (regardless of whether they have been vaccinated) need to wear masks at all times. This makes zero sense. As studies have documented, not only are the vaccines tremendously effective at preventing spread, but young children have never been a key vector of transmission. Combine that with the humidity of the summer, and the CDC is actively recommending the needless suffering of kids. 

Not only is the CDC’s guidance scientifically illiterate, but when any organization makes recommendations that are lacking in reason and logic, people stop listening to them. 

On April 27, in another instance where public health officials discouraged people from getting vaccinated, the CDC updated a chart on the activities that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can safely do. According to them, when indoors, vaccinated people still need to wear masks at all times. There is no evidence to suggest that vaccinated people are vectors of transmission. The vaccines are a scientific miracle; we should treat them as such. 

The FDA is certainly not devoid of criticism either. Earlier this month, it recommended pausings Johnson & Johnson vaccines across the country. Why? You may ask. There were six blood clots found in vaccinated patients out of 6.8 million people. The FDA wanted to pause the J&J vaccine because one in a million people who received the vaccine developed a blood clot. Let us put that into perspective – in the U.S., the odds of being struck by lightning in any given year is 1 in 500,000 – a better chance than developing a blood clot due to the vaccine. Not only is the FDA’s decision nonsensical, but now it likely makes people increasingly skeptical of receiving the vaccine because they are even more worried about side effects that are extremely rare. 

What do we get from the FDA in return? Likely only a warning put on the side of a label that no one outside of a vaccine administrator will ever read. How many more lives would have been saved due to the vaccine if not for the FDA’s questionable cost-benefit analysis?

If it were up to the public health officials in the federal government, kids all across the country would not be able to go to school, and we would still be largely forced to the confines of our own homes. 

Our scientific establishment has maintained that to avoid risk, Americans should give up all that made life great without considering tradeoffs and reality. “Avoiding risk” has now actively become risk-taking. In actuality, most Americans have been participating in the majority of their normal life for months. By denying that reality, public health officials will continue to be ignored. But in the end, they may deserve that. 

Mr. Nikfar is a sophomore at Chapman University majoring in Pre-Pharmacy and a columnist for The Hesperian.

Why Conservatives Should Care About Culture Wars

(Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

By Ethan Nikfar

A few weeks ago, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg published a piece in The Dispatch on why culture wars are a distraction. Goldberg argues that while Republicans are busy focusing on petty battles such as Dr. Seuss, Democrats are ramming through spending bills using money we do not have. In Goldberg’s eyes, the real fights are the policy battles that conservatives have deemed secondary to the culture wars. 

If examining from a simplistic perspective, this seems correct. Why do conservatives seem to not have any grassroots opposition to President Biden’s spending plans when they are being discussed and voted on right in front of our eyes? 

But something too many never-Trump conservatives, including Goldberg, fail to recognize is that politics is downstream from culture. Culture impacts people – how they grow up and consume information – and that manifests in how they see politics. Conservatives will lose policy battles if they do not change the underlying culture because policy exists as an outgrowth of culture. 

It is no longer 2010. The central debate is no longer about military policy nor spending policy. The debate is about a woke, authoritarian left that seeks to divide people on the basis of immutable characteristics and force others to adhere to their worldview. 

This is not to say political battles do not matter. Political issues matter a ton – that is why I choose to discuss them frequently. President Biden’s spending plans are disastrous. His untargeted COVID-19 “relief” bill was a monstrosity and a half. His $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan is a political slush fund. His administration’s proposed tax increases will surely decrease the rate of economic recovery at a time when corporations are trying to rehire employees. 

But more important than debates about tax and spending policy is how people are treated in their everyday lives. Are they worried about sharing their opinion online because they could be fired from their job? Are they scared to tell their friend group about their political views because those friends will ostracize them? Are they afraid to speak up about the backward (and often-times racist) diversity training that major corporations and government agencies put their employees through? Those issues matter far more than politics. 

Moreover, for the left, too frequently, what starts in the culture does not end in the culture – it ends as law. A culture that labels everyone to Hillary Clinton’s right as a deplorable who should not have the right to speak is upstream of a Canadian-style hate speech law restricting that right to speech. A culture that believes that gender is simply a spectrum and that there are no biological differences between men and women is upstream of a law that allows biological men to compete in women’s sports. A culture that believes religious freedom comes second to social justice is upstream of laws that clamp down on religious freedom in the name of anti-discrimination law. 

The left has made regular life a living nightmare for conservatives by politicizing every major institution in the country. The most apparent example recently being the pressure the mainstream media has put on major corporations to condemn a common-sense Georgia voting law that many on the left, including our president, have deliberately misrepresented. Conservatives have avoided that same tactic because they inherently do not want to be divisive. But now the choice has become binary: conservatives can either continue to see their values diminish in the public sphere, or they fight back and establish an understanding of mutually assured destruction. 

One can reasonably question whether or not GOP politicians are the proper figures to be leading cultural battles. But what is not an option anymore is for the party to simply not do anything about it. 

I have much respect for Goldberg. We disagree plenty, but he is intelligent and thoughtful. He is also plain wrong on this topic. Culture wars are not a “distraction.” They are the primary fight. If conservatives do not realize this, we will squander both the culture and the policy. 

Mr. Nikfar is a Sophomore at Chapman University studying Pre-Pharmacy. 

Canceling Student Loan Debt Is Terrible Policy

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

By Ethan Nikfar

Our elected officials often display too much creativity. They invent new issues to be solved by highly funded bureaucratic agencies instead of focusing on getting the already-too-large government to just do the ordinary things competently. Nevertheless, sometimes, they lack cleverness, as Democratic demands for canceling student loan debt have shown us. 

President Biden has morphed his Presidency from an emphasis on a return to normalcy, unity, and bipartisanship to Barack Obama’s third term, only much more liberal. This shows just one thing: his campaign was a fraud. 

Mr. Biden’s party has a deadlocked Senate and a slim majority in the House. Donald Trump came within only 42,921 votes (the margin of Mr. Biden’s combined victory in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin) of retaining the Presidency. The President does not have a mandate to enact transformative legislation. 

Nevertheless, Mr. Biden and his allies in Congress have become ambitious. Democrats in the Senate, such as Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, are demanding that Mr. Biden cancels $50,000 of student loan debt per borrower through executive action. Mr. Biden has indicated he is more comfortable with $10,000 in debt cancelation. 

Put aside the likely Constitutional violation if this action is done via Executive Order. It would still be terrible policy. 

Let us start with the premise of the argument. Democrats argue that student loan debt is crippling millennials. Their debt is a crisis that prevents them from putting money into the economy and owning their own houses. However, even their premise is incorrect; it is no “crisis.” As Beth Akers of the Manhattan Institute has pointed out, the average four-year college graduate borrowed $28,500 to pursue their bachelor’s degree; this can be paid off over 20 years with $181 in monthly payments. Furthermore, suppose an individual does not make much income but has abundant outstanding debt. Under federal law, they qualify for an “income-based” repayment option that forgives the debt if they make responsible and affordable payments over a period of time. 

But unwilling to let the pandemic go to waste before implementing the transformational changes she desires, Ms. Warren says writing off the debt would “boost our economy right now.” Take the money people owe and give it back to them, which they can then spend. That will boost the economy, right? Wrong. Most of the forgiven debt would not have been paid back for years, allowing for very little short-term economic stimulation. It also seems as though Democrats have once again fallen for the broken window fallacy. What about all the taxpayers who will have to subsidize these canceled loans and whose consumer spending will then be decreased as a result? 

You may ask who would benefit from the loan write-offs. The student loan cancelations’ significant beneficiaries would be wealthier students who took out loans to pay for their expensive graduate degrees. As Preston Cooper of Forbes explains, graduate borrowers will receive 80 percent of loan forgiveness benefits. Lower-income undergraduate students typically owe much less because they are eligible for pell grants at public universities and sometimes institutional grants at private ones. 

A study from the University of Chicago estimated that the top 10 percent of households by income would reap six times as much benefit from a $50,000 student loan cancelation as the bottom 10 percent.

Moreover, about two-thirds of people currently in the workforce did not graduate from college. Those with only high school diplomas typically earn 85 percent less than those with college degrees. But hold on: Isn’t it the Democratic Party that stands in solidarity with the less fortunate? Apparently not. Democrats would force working-class individuals who did not even go to college to subsidize the loans of disproportionally more affluent individuals who did. 

Not only is the policy regressive, but thousands of borrowers have already paid back their loans—in full. It is a slap in the face to those who responsibly paid back the debt they voluntarily took on.

This also sends a terrible message to young adults: they cannot and should not be responsible for their own finances. There is no worse life lesson to be taught than teaching people that other taxpayers will pick up the slack for their own irresponsible decisions. 

Progressives who discuss the issue rarely mention the fact that the government ruined tuition prices and student loans in the first place. The federal takeover of loans has exemplified a broad-scale push by the government to incentivize people to go to college, take out subsidized loans, and major in something where they do not learn life skills. Private-sourced loans generally have higher interest rates, and banks do not want to lend to incoming college students majoring in gender studies. This effectively means that the government is artificially driving up college costs because they have created more demand and not as much supply to keep up. 

Canceling student loan debt today would then make people question future loans. Many more students would then respond to the stimulus by taking out loans for themselves—expecting that this would not be the last cancelation. This exacerbates the problem by further increasing the demand for college, and therefore tuition prices and student loan debt along with it.

The issue is not just the fault of the government, either. Universities have continued to scam students by offering less income-driven degrees, which they know will be subsidized by the government. 

Progressives’ poorly thought-out solution to the problem takes away from legitimate policy proposals we should be considering to drive tuition prices down—policies such as the privatization of student loans. 

But if Democrats are so serious about this idea, they should put it up for a Senate vote today. They will not, and my guess for why is that even Mr. Schumer recognizes it is only popular among blue-checkmark progressive elites.

Mr. Nikfar is a Sophomore at Chapman University studying Pre-Pharmacy.

Teachers’ Unions Need To Go. Here’s Why:

An empty classroom – many remain empty due to teachers’ unions repeatedly “moving the goalposts”

By Ethan Nikfar

Over the last few months, Democrat-controlled cities across the country, from San Francisco to Chicago, have bent to the whims of the teachers’ unions. Parents and kids across the states have longed to return to semi-normal, in-person instruction. But these parents and children are just minor incidental inconveniences to our teachers’ unions that have continuously defied science and common sense in their nonsensical pursuit of school shutdowns. 

One of the most important developments of the pandemic has been that study after study has shown the meager risk posed to teachers when reopening schools. To date, there has not been a single documented case in America of a teacher getting infected by a student and then dying of COVID-19. 

Given the evidence, one would assume that the right path would be to reopen our schools and to allow our students to attend school in-person. Everyone understands the need for community and social bonds, especially for young children. 

However, teachers’ unions have remained steadfast in their wish of not returning in-person until all COVID-19 risks have been eliminated (that is to say, indefinitely, folks). And with that, it has become evident that the Biden administration and various other Democrats across the country have been willing to entirely forgo the data on schools and what is best for kids to please these unions. 

Even the vaunted CDC – the gold-standard for science as we are told – recommends that 90 percent of schools be either entirely online or hybrid. What they will not tell you is that about half of K-12 students across the United States have already returned to in-person classes that are five days a week. The CDC’s backward and preposterous standards come on the heels of the fact that COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have declined precipitously over the last several months due to vaccinations and the incredible number of people that have already had COVID-19. 

So how did we get here? How did our children’s wellbeing depend directly on politicians and their support for unions?

Here is how the corrupt union-government bargain scheme works: Politicians vow to negotiate with unions; public employees would want to feel represented, so they join unions. Unions take dues from their members. Unions then spend those dues electing politicians they like. Once those politicians get elected, they agree to pro-union contracts using that endless supply of taxpayer dollars. This cycle continues and continues. The winners are, of course, Democratic politicians and the public-sector unions. The losers are the taxpayers, who are subsidizing both unions that may kneecap their interests and Democratic politicians they may not support. 

According to OpenSecrets.org, in 2020, public-sector unions gave $79 million to political candidates, parties, and outside groups. 89 percent of those contributions were given to Democrats. When it comes to those teachers’ unions, the National Education Association gave $33 million to political groups and candidates in 2020, most of which went to Democrats. The American Federation of Teachers also gave $18 million to political groups and candidates in 2020, nearly all going to Democrats. 

The ironic part is that the Democratic Party – which lauds against money in politics and fights for campaign finance reform – is the same party that supports these unions’ extreme political spending. 

Under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, private-sector employees at different companies can collude to collectively bargain and negotiate a specific pay scale for the employees. As a part of this legislation, employers are forced to negotiate with guilds as long as they could prove that they represent most workers. However, why is this kind of worker collusion never allowed for employers as well? Imagine for a second that a bunch of different employers in a particular industry colluded together to offer the same pay scale to their employees. They would get endlessly maligned as having engaged in monopolistic collusion, and there would be calls for antitrust lawsuits against them. 

Some may argue that this kind of worker collusion is necessary because workers do not want to get treated horribly by their employers. That is fair to an extent, but why would this standard apply to public-sector workers? In a private-sector union, employees negotiate with the employer the kinds of wages they want to be paid because the employer is the one paying the wage. But with public-sector workers, the employers do not pay the wage; the taxpayers do. How can there be bargaining between employers and employees when taxpayers are the ones footing the bill? 

The people paying the wages ought to have the ability to fight for their interests and be represented in collective bargaining agreements. 

Not only is the process corrupt, but in many states, public unions can strike, acting directly against the interests of the taxpayers who fund them. Even FDR understood that the ability of public-sector employees to strike was “unthinkable and intolerable.”

The individuals elected to represent taxpayers end up representing the people who got them elected in the first place – the public-sector unions. How does this relate back to those teachers’ unions? Well, in 2020, President Joe Biden received more money from teachers’ unions than any politician in the country. This, of course, is of no surprise and is why Mr. Biden repeatedly refuses to say that students need to go back to full-time, in-person instruction immediately. On the same predictable note, Mr. Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, would not commit to schools going back in-person in the fall. 

The teachers’ unions are now demanding the vaccination of all staff before they go back in-person. This would mean that it could take well into the next school year before students can return to in-person instruction. Even California’s governor, Gavin Newsom – deep in the pockets of the teachers’ unions – is at odds with their ridiculous demands. However, what Mr. Newsom will not do is actually hold them accountable and cut their funding (and put it elsewhere, like back to parents themselves) if they choose not to go back to the classroom.

Like all other public-sector unions, teachers’ unions want to negotiate the best wages and working conditions for their employees. But the place to address these problems is at the legislative level, where taxpayers have the ability to defend themselves. Public-sector unions circumvent this process entirely, squeezing taxpayers’ pockets and holding students hostage in the process. 

The worship of teachers’ unions by the Democratic Party – which has done irreversible harm to our youth – will certainly not go forgotten. We can only hope that voters in 2022 will hold them accountable for their dishonest dealings. 

Mr. Nikfar is a Sophomore at Chapman University studying Pre-Pharmacy.