January 25, 2021

CHARLES LIPSON: Biden’s Biggest Decision.

How will President Biden resolve tensions between his party’s left wing and its establishment-corporate center? His first day in office showed one way. He will signal his virtue to progressives on hot-button issues like Keystone XL pipeline, the Guantanamo Bay detention center, and the Paris climate accord. He won’t build another new mile of border barrier. He wants a higher minimum wage. Those gestures are meant to please party activists without, he hopes, costing too much with average voters. Best of all, they don’t require any pesky, time-consuming procedures, like passing actual laws or ratifying treaties. They will be implemented by presidential orders and bureaucratic regulations

More broadly, President Biden will use EOs, bureaucratic regulations, and sub-Cabinet appointments to placate his party’s vital interest groups in education (teachers unions), criminal justice, race relations, immigration, and the environment. Important as those policies are, Biden has no intention of meeting the far-reaching socialist demands of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

They seem more or less happy to wait him out, which might not take all that much waiting.

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