Biden’s Wing of the Democratic Party Is Sinking His Presidency

Over the last two months, it’s become increasingly clear that President Joe Biden’s best days in office might be almost certainly behind him. Although he was never going be FDR-type, he is now overly credulousPress coverage endorsementsBiden could, however, claim significant victoriesIn his first year of office. The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March 2021, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, passed that November, were massive pieces of legislation that far exceeded Obama’s response to the global financial meltdown during his first year in office.

Now, entering his second year, Biden’s agenda appears to be dead in the water. The much-touted Build Back Better Act, Biden’s signature legislation, has completely stalled out on Capitol Hill. It was originally linked to the infrastructure bill, but the Democratic leadership and conservatives within the party were unable to reconcile it. It was a successIn beating down the Congressional Progressive Caucus, until they finally relented and separated both bills. Ever since the bills were decoupled, Biden’s social spending bill has been dying a slow death at the hands of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Sensing impending doom in the final days of 2021 Biden and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer switched gears. The top priority became voting rights and election reform, although what that meant specifically was anyone’s guess. The White House, Congress and the leadership of Congress began pushing for this goal. two billsThe Freedom to Vote Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Separately, some Senate Democrats began collaborating with Republicans on a bill. amendThe Electoral Count Act would amend the law Donald Trump tried to use to reverse the results of the 2020 elections. The January 6th committee is working on a version of a similar legislation.

Schumer, on the other hand, was reluctant to support the narrower Electoral College reform bills because he believed it would undermine any broader expansion of voting rights. Last week, Biden gave what was touted as a major speech on voting rights, during which he finally supported a “carve out” for the Senate’s filibuster for voting rights legislation. Biden went to Capitol Hill on the following day to garner support for his various initiatives.

Both the speech as well as the trip to negotiate directly with lawmakers were at risk of being too little too late. Local Georgia voting rights organizations boycotted Biden’s address because they believed voting rights had become a second-tier issue for Biden, rather than a core priority. New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote that Biden’s efforts “came in the last days of the battle.” As for his attempt to twist arms in the Senate, Politico characterized it as “doomed for failure.” Even more embarrassingly, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema apparently blindsided the administration with a Senate addressJust minutes before Biden was due to meet with Democrats to rally support, she reiterated her opposition to a filibuster-carve-out.

Much like Biden’s and Schumer’s ApproachThe Omicron wave has shown that the White House and the congressional leadership seem to be many steps behind on every issue they touch. The administration has been on the defensive for months and is now reactive. Biden’s poll numbers have cratered, which is to be expected to a certain extent, but he and his advisers aren’t doing themselves any favors with their scattershot approach.

The Senators Sinema and Manchin are most responsible for this sad situation. Some have working with Manchin is “like negotiating via Etch A Sketch” due to his constantly shifting negotiating positions. He holds so much power in the closely divided Senate that liberal TV host Chris Hayes has argued the White House should wave the white flag and just ask Manchin to write a Build Back Better bill that he’d sign. “I don’t quite understand why we haven’t gotten to the point where they say, Senator Manchin, write the bill that you will vote for and we will pass it, because that’s the only way out of this,” Hayes told The New York Times’s Ezra Klein. Others have. arguedFor a similar approach in election reform, claiming the Electoral Count Act, which fixes the law Trump tried using to stay at power, is the best option and only one.

These inadequate measures might prove to be too costly. Manchin, on the other hand, has alreadyHe resigned from the spending bill he had previously supported. There’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t do the same again. Bipartisan election reform legislation that would limit Republican legal claims towards minority rule could be stalled in a million different ways. Still, it’s understandable for those on the left to look over these meager offerings and take what few victories may be available. Biden may not have had the time to play hardball anymore, and his pressure campaign may be as much a form virtue signaling to disaffected Liberal voters as it is an actual push to passable legislation.

The broader blame for the predicament the Democrats find themselves in falls on the shoulders of the faction of the party that Biden and Schumer belong to — the same faction as Manchin and Sinema. A party that has been unable to accept its own pro-labor policies for decades has been a victim of Clintonian triangulation and divestment. The party is incapable of pursuing long-term strategies that would require the building of a bench of progressive candidates. Instead, the party’s organs function as an incumbent reelection racket and a jobs guarantee program for wealthy consultants whose only function is to punch to the left.

There’s no reason that the Democrats couldn’t field, support and elect a working-class candidate in West Virginia or Arizona, if that had been a multiyear priority. Instead of spending money on training teachers, working-class activists, and union organizers, Democrats have treated these types of candidates as hostile enemies that must be defeated. Instead, they prioritise veterans and prosecutors of a particular, centrist ideology. As a result, there will always be a Joe Manchin or a Kyrsten Sinema — or a Joe Lieberman — willing to tank the party’s entire agenda.

The irony is that after spending his career as a conservative Democrat, Biden’s agenda is being thwarted by his own supposed allies. Biden ran as a creature for the Senate, which could force Republicans into supporting some of his most ambitious plans because of his decades of experience in elected office. Now, he can’t even whip support from his own party. If the Democrats hadn’t spent decades doing everything possible to disempower the left and the party’s activist base, Biden might actually be able to advance his legislation. Unfortunately for the millions of people in the United States who stand to benefit from Biden’s stalled plans, that has never been a priority for the modern Democratic Party.