Home big government recent Washington D.C. The Bureaucracy’s Democrat Majority Made America a One-Party Government
Home big government recent Washington D.C. The Bureaucracy’s Democrat Majority Made America a One-Party Government

The Bureaucracy’s Democrat Majority Made America a One-Party Government

When former President Trump, Gov. DeSantis, and Senator Ted Cruz, among others, endorsed rolling back the power of bureaucrats and their administrative state, Democrats panicked.

Senator Dianne Feinstein and Hillary's former running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, introduced a countermeasure which they called, "Preventing a Patronage System Act" according to Kaine, to "protect the merit-based hiring system for our federal workforce".

Media editorialists claimed that making it easier to get rid of federal employees would bring back patronage or the spoils system. The problem is that patronage never left.

We have spent generations living under a permanent patronage system. The spoils system, as bad as it was, kept one party from permanently packing its supporters into the government. Removing it just meant that the Democrats have permanently packed the federal bureaucracy.

That’s how America became a one-party government at the federal level in Washington D.C. Politicians of both parties come and go, but it’s the Democrat bureaucrats who call the shots.

The same media outlets now fussing about “patronage” were gleefully reporting how a “resistance” was operating within the federal bureaucracy to undermine President Trump. That same “resistance”, without the public posturing, has quietly sabotaged every Republican administration and any conservative piece of legislation that gets through the process.

Before the 2016 election, one in four federal employees claimed that they would leave if Trump won. Six out of ten federal employees supported Biden. Only 28% backed Trump.

In the 2022 cycle, the American Federation of Government Employees has doled out over a million dollars. 94% of that money has gone to Democrats.

Not only does the federal workforce tilt leftward, but the number of Republicans fell from a third to a quarter over the last generation. The federal machine that controls the lives of most Americans has limited representation for one of the country’s two major political factions.

But even that's misleading.

The men and women who actually run things are mostly Democrats. 63% of the senior executives, the highest officials within the bureaucracy, are Democrats, while the number of Republicans drops into the low 20s. A National Bureau of Economic Research paper notes that the "the overrepresentation of Democrats increases as we move up the hierarchy".

“Among employees in grades 1-12 of the GS, we find about 50% of Democrats (30% of Republicans and 20% of independents), which rises to approximately 56% at the top of the GS (grades 13-15), and to 63% among career SES,” the research showed.

This is what a slow-motion coup looks like.

Apologists for the bureaucracy might claim that this reflects a lack of qualifications by Republicans, but the share of independents similarly drops. Only the share of Democrats steadily rises. If we were looking at a similar breakdown of racial groups in which the share of every racial group declined as it moved up the ranks, except one, it would be evidence of bias.

And a political coup is far more corrosive and dangerous to a government than racial bias.

Democrats want us to believe that the consolidation of the civil service by one political faction is somehow a natural occurrence which does not reflect a calculated strategy or patronage.

In between political tests like diversity and equity, the insistence on concentrating federal leadership in Democrat areas, and providing special entryways and promotions to members of identity politics groups more likely to vote for their party, Democrats claim that it’s all “merit”.

After fighting to eliminate merit in college admissions, the military, and federal contracts, they want us to believe that they not only believe in merit, but want to protect it in the civil service.

Democrats created an independent bureaucracy that provides its own patronage. That corrupt system has led to everything from massive theft to IRS investigations of political opponents. And the result is much worse than the rotten spoils system ever was because it’s immune to change.

The modern civil service owes its existence to a crooked bargain between President Grover Cleveland, the first post-Civil War Democrat to occupy the White House, and one of the most personally and politically corrupt men to hold that office in the century, and the Mugwumps, the Never Trumpers of the era. The federal workforce massively exploded from 5,837 before the Civil War to 15,344 after the Civil War to millions over the next century. The civil service “reforms” were a key ingredient in what became a permanent patronage system built to benefit the Democrats and the liberal Republicans who were instrumental in imposing it on Americans.

Where before individuals had traded on their political support and campaign activities to win a few hundred offices during the spoils system, urban political machines packed the civil service with tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands of their supporters in the next century.

The liberal promises of Wilson, FDR and JFK required a symbiotic growth in government. The government programs never delivered a better life, except by providing government jobs for Democrats. The spoils system was corrupt, but permanent patronage has not only rewarded members of one party with jobs, especially senior roles, to the tune of billions, but it also shifted power away from the voters and elected officials, and to partisan bureaucrats.

The solution to patronage isn’t professionalism, it’s smaller government. Government is not a meritocracy and there’s no point in keeping up the pretense that any part of it is merit based. The most fundamental virtue of our constitutional government is that the public has supreme power over the government. The civil service system has effectively eliminated that power.

Firing federal employees is a long difficult process. The Merit Systems Protection Board has repeatedly intervened to protect even the worst abuses by workers including outright criminal behavior. Americans can lose their jobs, but they can’t do anything about the bureaucrats who control their lives. Politicians come and go, but the Democrat administrative state abides.

A smaller government begins with a much smaller bureaucracy. President Trump’s commitment to wielding Schedule F is important, as are other ideas by conservative politicians. Schedule F would be crucial in rolling back the power of key policy-making bureaucrats, but it’s only the beginning. The Founding Fathers understood that government is innately oppressive. And government, like any parasitic infection, naturally grows unless it’s shrunk or it kills the host.

Apologists for the bureaucracy claim that eliminating the permanent patronage of the civil service would erode "public trust in our government" and "undermine the role of civil servants as stewards of the public good".

The public has no trust in the government. The one thing most of the country, across political and racial lines, can agree on is not trusting the government. Currently only about 29% of Democrats and 9% of Republicans trust the government. How much more trust is there to lose?

Civil servants are not “stewards of the public good”. The American people are. Monarchies and tyrannies have stewards of the public good. The only true constitutional and democratic virtue of a civil service is that it is easy to fire. A bureaucracy that can’t be gotten rid of isn’t serving the people, it’s mastering them, and that is what the administrative state has long since become.

The only reason Democrats are panicking over permanent patronage reform is because the ranks and especially the senior management of the federal bureaucracy are full of their people. There’s nothing democratic or merit-based about letting a corrupt partisan faction control the administrative state and the lives of hundreds of millions of people with no recourse.

The next president who isn’t beholden to the administrative state should provide that recourse.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

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Thank you for reading.


  1. AislaPS28/11/22

    This is an essential argument.
    Being British, it would appear not to be relevant ,but it is.
    The capture of formerly democratic governance by global dynastic cadres with their Marxist/ Nazi-lite agendas; is now at a crucial tipping point.
    We either go under their yoke, or get them burned off our body politic before we die of their poisoning microsomes.
    They are now brazen about their intentions, we need to organise and coordinate from the local to the national level. If we let Canadians, Dutch and your Potomac prisoners of conscience go to their doom, then we won't last long.
    Bureaucratic creep is very much with the study. It's keep to lots of our more obvious problems, so thanks for writing this

  2. Anonymous28/11/22

    Most leftists like sugar-daddy government, so
    are attracted to government jobs; Conservatives
    not so much. Smaller is better.

    Trump was uniquely unbeholden. The odds of
    finding and electing enough unbribable
    executives, legislators, justices is slim.


  3. Anonymous29/11/22

    A big part of the problem is the lazy Congress' habit of writing overbroad laws, with no oversight, and turning them over to the cubicle dwellers to reinterpret to their biased liking. When a puddle on a farm can be claimed by the EPA as a navigable waterway we know the unionized bureaucracy is well beyond control.

    The answer is gradual defunding by Congress in the name of budget control, which we all know will never happen, but we can hope, can't we?

  4. Anonymous29/11/22

    I believe anyone getting a check from the government should not have a vote!

  5. Anonymous29/11/22

    Antonio Gramsci's 'long march through the institutions' was more than a political philosophy, it was a battle plan adopted and implemented by the Democrat party. And wildly successful by any standard of measurement. Unfortunately. Perhaps if federal employees can't be fired, complete agencies can be closed down and the employees offered same-scale jobs at McMurdo Station. Even a cursory examination should show that the Democrats are buying 'Goo Gone' in job lots, and erasing what left of the cohesion that holds the Republic together.

  6. Anonymous29/11/22

    The elimination of the PACE exams in the 1980s guaranteed that merit would be eliminated in the Federal government's employment policies. This was a prerequisite to hire minorities. Minorities are far more represented in the Federal government than in private industry. Its impossible to remove the incompetent; the lazy; the stupid from the Federal employment rolls. Why?

    Second, with the elimination of merit all promotion policies are used for two purposes:
    -create a fourth estate that favors the Dhimmierat Party
    -eliminate any that would make the vast majority of employees look incompetent; corrupt; and downright stupid.Doubt me? For almost 18 months most of the Federal employees sat on their brains while collecting their salaries. Did you notice a world collapse? The world functioned better without Federal employees.

    Next point, why are bureaucrats making law? Congress writes vague, overly broad laws that the bureaucratic class interprets. This is how communism works, there are no details other than these unelected minions desire. There is no accountability either.

    Cross them at your peril or cross their palms. Notice the subprime collapse and bitcoin collapse. Which Federal employees were fired? The answer-they demanded more employees and funding.

    How corrupt is the structure of the 4th estate. Hundreds of millions in bonuses are paid out each year. 95% goes not to the people who make more effective, efficient procedures and strive to save money. It goes to the top three layers of management, in other words the SCS class and grades higher than GS-14.

    I found that leases guaranteed 10% annual increases, in a city with strict rent controls. I was told by the IG if I mentioned this my career would be over if I perused this. We are talking about over 100 properties. I later discovered that about 80% of these properties were leased from a single landlord. Draw your own conclusions.

    In agencies that do not have protected employment the corruption is far worse, because one evaluation can end you career and there are no protections. Which agencies are they? CIA, State, law enforcement and national security. How better to corrupt an agency then leave employees without any sort of employment rights?

    To eliminate the abuses:
    -Institute an independent agency for the Inspector General Corps that reports not to the president but to the Congress.

    -Codify performance standards and require strict procedures for action against subpar performance and excellent performance. All promotions should be handled by the IG staff. Supervisors must demonstrate what actions they took and provide evidence both for adverse action and for awards.

    How many people received awards for the Afghan disaster and how many were fired. Why?

    This is why nothing changes.

    Reinstate the PACE exams for any position above GS-5.
    Federal employees should not be allowed to vote with the exception of the military. The reasons for this are clear and obvious. Look at the way the government grows, all federal programs are the closest we will see to immortality and eternal programs. If you think our government is functioning effectively do nothing.

    Remember the government wants control over health care. It had control over the Veterans Affairs and Indian Affairs medical systems. Ever heard anyone describe them as adequate? Ever seen the Canadian or British systems?

    I rest my case.


  7. Anonymous29/11/22

    I watched seven of a federal agency's nine current and former directors sign onto the Hunter Biden Laptop misinformation letter. That showed me that even an agency I thought to be nonpartisan was run by political operatives.

  8. Anonymous29/11/22

    Bureaucrats must have unlimited power within their role to perform their duties. So there will be no excuse for Red Tape stopping them from doing their jobs or any other ways their hands are tied. No procedural outcomes to manipulate.

    Or they should be fired for failure very quickly.

    The German Post Office model for Bureaucracy is a failure in the end. Manipulating procedural outcomes is what our enemies do best. Therefore eliminate the procedures that can be manipulated.

    Let the Sovereign decide.


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