Time to face reality, Obama — Trump is going to be president
By Michael Goodwin
So this is how it ends — in a whimper wrapped in self-pity and recriminations. With President Obama on the defensive at his final press conference and Hillary Clinton’s last campaign event resembling a wake, the Democratic Party is limping off the stage and into the political winter.
It was supposed to sit atop the national power pyramid for decades, a new paradigm of liberals, progressives, the young, the old, the unions and blacks, Latinos, Muslims and Asians.
The torch would be passed from Obama to Clinton, a liberal Supreme Court would vastly expand executive power and the regulatory state would enforce climate-change orthodoxy on all industry and elitist dictates on every American. Globalism would be the new patriotism.
But a funny thing happened on the way to one-party dominance: The people who work for a living said no, hell no. Their revolt brings Donald Trump to the White House amid hopes of a revival of the economy and of the American spirit.
Thoroughly beaten, the Dems are at their lowest point in nearly a century. From the White House to Congress to statehouses, they are on the outside looking in.
Their punishment was well-deserved, as demonstrated by Obama and Clinton. Full of excuses and blaming everyone except themselves, their closing acts proved it is time for them to go.
They have nothing new to offer, with their vision of the future limited to larger doses of the same failing medicine and their intolerance for disagreement showing they would never learn from their mistakes. Their bad ideas had run their disastrous course.
Yet instead of analyzing what went wrong and trying to find new organizing principles, party leaders and activists are pointing fingers at the FBI and Russia, and engaging in a mad bid to overturn Trump’s Electoral College victory.
Because they are doomed to fail, we could be witnessing the death throes of the Democratic Party as we know it. With Obama and the Clintons encouraging the attempted theft of an election they lost and failing to denounce intimidation and death threats against Trump electoral voters, most Americans have reason to consider the Dems a dead letter.
Yet the final verdict on 2016 depends on Trump’s performance as president. If he delivers “jobs, jobs, jobs” and peace-through-strength abroad, he will forge a new governing consensus and remake the political landscape.
While it’s too soon to know what exactly Trumpism stands for, it’s clear that many Republican orthodoxies and special-interest debts are being tossed overboard. His cabinet nominees are incredibly accomplished individuals who come to their new jobs without the burdens of past Washington gridlock. If he can attract centrist-minded Dems, some of whom he is courting, Trump has a chance to build a pragmatic coalition that keeps faith with mainstream America.
The obstacles, of course, are many. Much of the Islamic world is on fire and the great powers are moving ever closer to confrontation in Europe and Asia.
Obama leaves office with Russia, Iran and China eating our lunch, with the Chinese theft of a Navy drone a goodbye insult. The unspeakable horror of Syria and the rise of the Islamic State will forever be part of the 44th president’s legacy.
So too will be domestic divisions, which grew more stark and bitter in the last eight years. We are now perilously close to a boil, and that too falls partially on Obama’s shoulders given his fear-mongering about Trump.
Against that dark reality, it is reasonable to worry the nation is on the verge of a crack-up. But there is also a possibility that America is on the verge of a new greatness.
It’s up to Trump. The ultimate outsider and a historic disrupter, he bears some responsibility for the polarization. But victory presents him with an opportunity to make government work for the people, instead of the other way around.
He is off to a great start and must stay focused to avoid falling down the rabbit holes of petty disputes. America needs the change he promised and he needs to commit every ounce of his being into keeping that promise. If he succeeds, so will the nation.
Title IX is 'bureaucratic sex creep' gone wild
Title IX is 'bureaucratic sex creep' gone wild
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds
The feds tried to fix discrimination and instead created a regulatory Tower of Babel.
If you want to see how the federal bureaucracy can mess things up, and create huge new areas of overburdening regulation, just look at what it’s done with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Title IX simply reads: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” That’s all.
But from this small, simple statement — there shall be no discrimination on the basis of sex — has been created a regulatory Tower of Babel governing sports teams, student discipline and even, and most dubiously, sexual consent.
One doubts that the members of Congress who drafted Title IX intended to produce what Harvard Law School professors Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk have called ”bureaucratic sex creep,” in which colleges — allegedly to ensure compliance with Title IX’s non-discrimination mandate — micromanage the sex lives of students, and subject them to Orwellian levels of surveillance, investigation and supervision. In essence, students now risk being kicked out of school for not getting express consent for every sexual act, all based on a law that was intended, 45 years ago, to end discrimination in college athletics.
This has been done not because Congress ordered it, or even because the Education Department promulgated regulations with notice to the public and an opportunity for comment. Instead, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has issued “guidance,” in the form of letters to colleges and universities stating its opinion as to what the law required. And its opinion represents quite a stretch from what Congress intended, and wrote. So far, in fact, that a University of Kentucky professor was punished for “sexual misconduct” for singing the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” which the University of Kentucky said contained “content of a sexual nature.”
Sen. (and former Education Secretary) Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., grilled Education Department officials about this, noting that although the department told the Senate its “guidance” wasn’t legally binding, it was simultaneously telling colleges and universities that they faced loss of all federal funding if they didn’t comply. But that didn’t change anything.
The sad story of how we came to this pass is told in Robert Shibley’s Twisting Title IX. Between the bureaucracies, the consultants, and the university offices that have expanded under this approach, people now speak of a ”Title IX industry,” — one that is absorbing large amounts of resources but not doing anything to actually educate students. But having come to this point, what do we do next?
President-elect Trump has named Betsy DeVos to be secretary of Education, but there’s no word yet as to who will be the head of the Department’s Office for Civil Rights. (Maybe they should consider Shibley). But it seems clear that the overreach we’ve seen needs to be rolled back.
One possibility would be to repeal or amend Title IX. Congress could do that, though my concern is that if the bureaucracy can make such a hash out of a single sentence, how likely is it to be restrained by any amendment over the long term?
Another would be for the new Education Department to do something the previous department didn’t do — probably for fear of being overruled by the courts — which is to actually promulgate new binding regulations after notice and comment. Those regulations might say that colleges should turn over complaints of sexual assault to law enforcement authorities, and that things like “microaggressions” and opinions with which one disagrees do not constitute “discrimination.”
Or, if the Trump administration is feeling mischievous, it could emulate the Obama administration and use guidance to enforce Title IX strictly according to its own views. Perhaps policies that discriminate against fraternities could become grounds for loss of funding based on discrimination. (Especially if university officials use derogatory sexist terms like ”frat boy.”) Perhaps admissions criteria that lead to student bodies that are disproportionately female could be analyzed for discrimination under “disparate impact” theories. Perhaps a sexual assault program that produces overwhelmingly male defendants despite evidence that women are equally likely to be perpetrators might be seen as prima facie evidence of sex discrimination by universities.
Ideally, we’ll take an approach based on due process and common sense, which would represent a considerable change over the past several years’ policies.
One thing is clear: The micromanagement of universities — and of students — in the name of Title IX needs to change. I hope that the Trump administration will return some common sense to this area.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor and the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself, is a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors.