The election of Joe Biden in 2020 made liberals giddy with delight. They had sent Bad Orange Man packing, and now it was time to focus on issues like ‘voting rights,’ infrastructure, and police reform.
If they had any misgivings, it was because of the precarious majority in the House of Representatives.
But fast forward six months, and for progressives, Joe Biden may not be the sure thing he was thought to be. And they’re starting to speak out about it.
While Democrats are a bit uneasy that their period of total control of government might be fleeting, and the reason for that uneasiness is an entirely different discussion, it almost seems instinctive that they know they must move quick on the agenda items at the top of the list.
Progressives are frustrated with what they see as a lack of action from President Biden on voting rights. The White House calls the issue “the fight of his presidency,” but he’s prioritized economic initiatives more likely to win GOP support in the Senate. https://t.co/QzJR5cFEUQ
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) June 23, 2021
Two Joe Bidens
By most accounts, Joe Biden has never been a radical, at least not like the members of the ‘Squad.’ He was always “lunch bucket Joe” from Scranton P.A. Friend to the working man and Union members.
If the Democrat Party was going to sell Joe Biden as the nominee in 2020, they were going to have to bring progressives to the table. And Bernie Sanders brought them. After all, it was all about getting rid of Donald Trump.
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Some on the right argue that because Joe Biden has never been a radical, he has had to be brought along the radical path by radicals. Or allowed himself to be brought along.
With the recent defeat of the For The People Act, the sweeping federal takeover of election law, going down to defeat, progressives are getting increasingly anxious that Joe Biden will not throw some presidential weight around to get the radical wish list past Republican roadblocks.
It is with agenda items like the For The People Act (that the White House calls “the fight of his presidency”,) that the far-left doesn’t feel like Biden has the heart to fight.
Progressives are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as a lack of action from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on voting rights. https://t.co/bPPjFjxJrN
— KALB News Channel 5 (@KALBtv5) June 23, 2021
Progressives Looking For The Payoff
Progressives may have breathed a cautious sigh of relief in January, but now appear to be waiting on a pay off that is either not coming fast enough, or is going the way of the promise of unity Biden spoke of on Inauguration Day.
Joel Payne, former aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it this way: “Progressives are losing patience, and I think particularly African American Democrats are losing patience. They feel like they have done the kind of good Democrat thing over the last year-plus, going back to when Biden got the nomination, unifying support around Biden, turning out, showing up on Election Day.”
But now far-left Democrats are seeing things differently, “Progressives feel like, ’Hey, we did our part.′ And now when it’s time for the bill to be paid, so to speak, I think some progressives feel like, ’OK, well, how long do we have to wait?’”
Since he became President, Joe Biden has held bi-weekly meetings with progressive lawmakers and over 60 activist groups, but Biden’s lack of progressive enthusiasm is making those folks jittery.
They were pointed questions, not personal criticisms. But they will have conveyed a warning to Joe Biden that the patience of the left of the Democratic party and its leaders in ‘the Squad’ of progressive politicians is not infinite.@guardian @AOC #ThirdProgressiveParty pic.twitter.com/h8tELGR7Iw
— J.M. Hamilton (@jmhamiltonblog) June 20, 2021
Biden Not Using The Bully Pulpit
Progressives are even kind of torn about how they would like to see Joe Biden to take the reins, and do what must be done to further their agenda.
Some are urging Biden to take a more aggressive approach in the style of former President Lyndon Johnson by doing a bit of strong-arming when it come to folks like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) or Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
Just one problem. Joe Biden is no Lyndon Johnson.
That leaves a kinder, gentler approach to ramming through legislative items without the opposing party’s votes if need be.
Far-left Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) explained it this way, “It’s about him using his personal relationships with key Democrats who are not quite there yet and explaining why this is actually not a bipartisan thing that’s happening across the country.”
She added that Joe Biden can help Democrats who aren’t yet convinced that “this is not the time of bipartisanship that maybe even the president served in. This is a different time, and we are really at the verge of toppling our democracy if we don’t pass these bills.”
Remember, anytime Democrats don’t get their bills passed, it is the end of democracy as we know it. (It goes unexplained how Democracy survived for last 230+ years without their latest bill, of course.)
What could really have Democrats running scared is the fact that Donald Trump has announced a series of rallies this summer. They know their feeling that they do not have much time could be a self-fulfilling prophecy if the new Trump rallies are anything like the old Trump rallies.
Ezra Levin, co-executive director of the progressive group Indivisible, took Biden to task on Twitter for having, “no public events scheduled to talk about the urgent deadline for democracy” on the day the Senate took up the For The People Act.
Levin may have summed up progressives view of Joe Biden’s performance thus far, “[Biden] says that democracy is in crisis, right now he is phoning it in.”
Ok I have reached my WTF moment with Biden on this. Tomorrow the Senate will try to vote on the For the People Act. McConnell will filibuster it. What happens next will depend on what we all do. Biden, for his part, is…where? Some thoughts: https://t.co/zpfyF95pn4
— Ezra Levin (@ezralevin) June 21, 2021
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