Are Progressives Determined to Sink Biden's Presidency?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As Democrats continue their internecine infrastructure battle, the focus to deliver mainly falls on President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Still reeling from the catastrophic Afghanistan withdrawal, southern border crisis, and unexpected coronavirus resurgence, Biden also isn’t fully trusted by the hard left, even though he continues to assuage them.

Biden will be nearing age 82 by 2024, so it remains unknown if he will stand for reelection in three years, but failure now could make him a lame duck early in this term.

Related: Biden’s Approval Numbers are Atrocious. Does the Administration Care?

Like the Republicans four years ago, congressional Democrats know their current majority status probably is ephemeral, so this is the last chance to push left-wing wishlist items until at least 2025.

House progressives could have more power in the minority because midterms oust and wound members from swing districts, while radicals hold safer seats, but they still would not chair committees and thus they would lack influence.

While some Republicans seem determined to give away U.S. Senate seats in Ohio and Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire are reachable for the GOP with electable candidates and no outside malfeasance.

The coming months, in reality, are the final window of serious legislative opportunities for both parties until 2023. Many members will soon be too fearful of voters due to reelection races to do anything substantive.

Pelosi and Biden last week caved to the 100-member Progressive Caucus by allowing the group to again delay the popular bipartisan bill unless their unpopular social welfare package was brought forward.

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is a Seattle socialist and acolyte of Bernie Sanders. Her group clearly does not mind seeing Biden’s first-term agenda go down.

The hard left can espouse hyperbole and derail the entire package, but wouldn’t that turn many Democrat voters against the radicals? The worst-case scenario for Democrats is they emerge with nothing of substance and a dozen fringe politicians celebrate holding the party hostage.

And that’s an ongoing battle across America.

Because of decentralized information, politicians need not scale the meritocracy if they’re adept on TV, social media, speechifying, and leapfrogging other policymakers in a national popularity contest.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez personifies this.

A Democrat Party run by AOC, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and a Republican Party beholden to Reps. Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Marjorie Taylor-Greene lack an agenda for 2030 America.

“The entertainment wing measures its success by provocation,” former Speaker Paul Ryan once said. “Invariably, that requires you to eschew compromise and not do the kind of legislating the founders envisioned when they built a system to reach consensus and govern.”

“Fighting” is not seeking a spot for hot takes on an evening cable program; nor is running around Congress screaming “RINO” at your colleagues or chasing senators into bathrooms.

Fighting, and thereby winning, means understanding legislation and persuading people to your side.



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