Why Are Red States Going Easy on Biden’s Vaccine Mandate?

You may have seen that map of nearly half the states in the union resisting Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. It almost feels like the GOP, finally realizing its true power, decided to man up. But, don’t be fooled. Their largely symbolic actions should only make all America Firsters demand more. 

From the outset, we should be clear that any and all state and local pushback against the vaccine mandate is welcome. Even symbolic action can strengthen popular support and morale. The real point, however, is that without the rightful and duty-bound exercise of power on top of what’s already in motion, the traditional American way of life will die and never come back. 

The vaccine mandate is an historic test for our federalist system of government. It’s not a test for the federal courts or a federal midterm election, no. This moment is about answering the question of whether or not the last amendment of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution means anything anymore.

The ink on our country’s founding charter was still drying when Thomas Jefferson said, “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.’” 

He was quoting the Tenth Amendment. Then the man who outlined twice the right of rebellion in the Declaration of Independence continued: “To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.” 

So red states are suing or threatening to sue the Biden Administration. Does any sensible American doubt the White House foresaw that likelihood?

It doesn’t take a black-robed lawyer or even five of them to determine the unconstitutionality or unlawfulness of this mandate. Biden’s circuitous plot to use unelected bureaucrats at the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to punish businesses with $14,000 fines for not requiring vaccinations of employees is an affront to the rule of law, no matter what a federal court says.

The states themselves can determine the constitutionality of federal edicts. And to protect the rights of their people, they should prepare to interpose against or nullify the federal usurpation of power that properly resides at their level. 

So, why aren’t Republican leaders, even local ones, raising this as an option?

Keep in mind there are 16 states with Republican supermajorities in both legislative houses. There are 23 red states with a trifecta, meaning a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both houses.

Well over 137 million Americans (41.8 percent of the population) live in a GOP-trifecta state. This signifies power, and for too long Republicans have been queasy about using it. It’s time to get over that. 

Any one of these states could pass a law criminalizing enforcement of these vaccine mandate OSHA fines. Perhaps less confrontational measures would suffice, but even a stronger stance likely wouldn’t amount to any actual standoff with the feds.

The Tenth Amendment Center points out that OSHA has only about 800 officers. As with the war on drugs, gun control, and other out-of-control federal operations, they inevitably depend on local and state law enforcement for support.

There is no way that on their own OSHA’s goons can touch anywhere close to half the 100,000 private-sector companies that fall under Biden’s vaccine mandate. Red states should, at the very least, be vowing noncompliance, but again, they would also have the prerogative to defend their citizens from federal tyranny in a more active way as well. 

As Jefferson wrote in 1798, “where powers are assumed which have not been delegated a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”

The Left knows well the usefulness of states’ rights. Sanctuary states for illegal aliens and marijuana legalization are the best-known use cases, but there are more. The Right has been slow to learn, except for the “constitutional carry” movement which has seen wild success in recent years.

It’s up to the grassroots to convince their respective local and state Republican Party officials that decentralization and nullification are the best strategies for holding and gaining ground amid a political realignment against the out-of-control Left. 

Mises Institute president Jeff Deist recently asked, “What if the greatest political trend of the past 200 years, namely the centralization of state power, reverses in the twenty-first century? What if this century is not about ideology, but about separation and location?” 

Too many Republicans fear using state power will escalate the current trend toward statism or that it will incite violence somehow. Quite the contrary. Sending a powerful message of “No!” to an unconstitutional government is what’s needed to realize normalcy and peace in what’s left of our once free society.

If that “No!” isn’t proclaimed now, it never will be. Australia offers a glimpse of our near future if the Republican Party doesn’t start truly resisting this tyranny in a meaningful way.

About Gavin Wax

Gavin Wax is the 74th president of the New York Young Republican Club, chairman of the Association of Young Republican Clubs, digital director of the Young Republican National Federation, an ambassador for Turning Point USA, and an associate fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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