Escondido, CA

Independent contractors’ need for friendly Supreme Court could be Biden’s undoing

There are similarities between Donald Trump’s re-election campaign this year and Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. The defection of registered Democrats to a Republican whose Supreme Court justices would better meet the desires of the individual Democrats will likely be one of the similarities.

There are some differences between the Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion and the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision and subsequently Assembly Bill 5 which required certain criteria to be met for workers to be classified as independent contractors rather than employees. 

Roe v. Wade had already been decided by the United States Supreme Court, so any future Supreme Court decisions would set parameters rather than outright reverse Roe v. Wade. Dynamex and AB 5 applied to California workers only, so the right of willing workers to be classified as independent contractors has not yet been decided at the United States Supreme Court level. Those who oppose abortion are fighting for somebody else’s baby, while those who oppose AB 5 and a Federal decision which would entail similar restrictions are fighting for their own economic livelihood. 

The appeal to pro-life Democrats was led by pro-life groups rather than the Reagan campaign or the Republican Party while the willingness of independent contractors to cross party lines has been initiated by those contractors’ economic losses caused by the policy supported by many Democrats including Joe Biden. In both cases, however, registered Democrats who would consider themselves better off with Supreme Court justices appointed by the Republican nominee have an interest in voting for the Republican candidate.

In 1984 the abortion issue had not been settled among party lines. Ronald Reagan’s own Vice-President had supported legalized abortion during the 1980 campaign, and many Democrats opposed legalized abortion. In 1984 five of the Supreme Court justices were over 70 years old, so the winner of that year’s Presidential election was likely to appoint one or more replacements.

Pro-life groups urged pro-life Democrats to support Ronald Reagan so that pro-life Supreme Court justices could be appointed. The appeal noted that pro-life Democrats could vote for other candidates to achieve economic, peace, and social justice goals, and the pro-life Democrats could also vote for a President aligned with those goals in a subsequent election after the new pro-life Supreme Court justices were appointed.

AB 5 responded to the Dynamex decision by codifying those requirements while providing some exemptions. AB 5 did not return to the old standard of the only criteria being independence over how the scope of work is to be performed and an independent decision for the worker to go into business for himself or herself. Most independent contractors desire that status and the independent contractors adversely impacted by AB 5 include writers, musicians, and other professions dominated by Democrats. Joe Biden supports a nationwide version of AB 5, and since independent contractors including Democrats need a President whose Supreme Court justices will uphold the right of willing workers to be classified as independent contractors Joe Biden is unacceptable to many Democrats who perform freelance work.

The need for a friendly U.S. Supreme Court decision would also allow Democrats to support a candidate of their own party in the future. The executive branch of the Federal government includes the Internal Revenue Service, and a Supreme Court decision would guarantee that the IRS could not classify workers as employees if a future Democrat in the White House appoints IRS administrators with such sentiments. Congress decides the rate of taxes, but the threat of the IRS classifying willing independent contractors as employees is another reason Democrat independent contractors need to vote for Donald Trump.

Because pro-life advocates are fighting for somebody else’s baby and independent contractors are fighting for their own livelihood, there is even more incentive for Democrat independent contractors to cross party lines than there was for pro-life Democrats to vote for Ronald Reagan in 1984. Those elected to other office might give those Democrats what they want in terms of other issues, and once the United States Supreme Court decides that an independent decision of the worker to go into business for himself or herself and control over how the work is to be performed are the sole criteria to be classified as an independent contractor the freelance professionals can return to their party preference in the Presidential election.

Joe Biden cannot win if Democrats who are independent contractors support Donald Trump so that favorable Supreme Court justices can be appointed. Donald Trump might not receive the margin of victory Ronald Reagan did in 1984, but the independent contractor vote will ensure Joe Biden’s defeat.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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