August 20, 2020

Progressive Should Be Thankful for Joe Biden

 I’m beginning to find progressive voices lamenting the moderation of Joe Biden tiresome. In the abstract, I would like to have a more liberal president than Mr. Biden. But I want a candidate in 2020 who has a fighting chance of actually being elected. Having experienced the political whiplash that resulted from the 2016 election, I find it hard to believe that Americans would relish the prospect of replacing a fascist with a person the president, with at least a modicum of justification, would surely call a socialist. (He will call Joe Biden and Kamala Harris socialists, but he will not be widely believed.)

Let’s be real. Much of what many Democrats would like to accomplish will be, at best, difficult. Success will depend critically on what happens in Senate races in November.

The highest priority of a Democratic president must be to return sanity, competence, and integrity to the federal government. That is to say, the president must undo the depredations visited upon the Republic by President Donald Trump. (See “The Biden Agenda before the Biden Agenda.”) This is a project that can largely be accomplished by the chief executive.

If Democrats take both the White House and the two houses of Congress in November, they may indeed be able to check off some of the items on the progressive to-do list. But before the ship of state steams off in the direction of the rising sun, its listing must be corrected before the deck reaches the waterline. This job will largely fall to President Joe Biden.

Progressives should do what they can to elect like-minded senators and representatives, and they should be grateful for having a Joe Biden at the top of the ticket. Moderates and conservatives can vote for the Democratic ticket without serious misgivings.

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