what does a successful Biden presidency look like to you?
Dear Biden voters et al,
Now that Trump has been voted out of the White House (yay!), we have a new President. I think it’s fair to view the election as a referendum on Trump, since Biden mainly ran on being not-him, healing the soul of the nation, breaking the fever, etc.
But Trump is out of power. Joe Biden is Leader of the Free World, and as I’ve argued before being “not-Trump” isn’t exactly a policy set to guide one of the world’s superpowers.
So, what does Biden need to do in these next four years? From your perspective, I mean.
I’m certain you won’t just say, undo all of Trump’s work, take us back to Obama’s days — because, by definition, that would mean returning to the status quo out of which Trump ascended. And who wants that?
No, we all understand that we need more than Hope and Change, we need results — outcomes that materially improve the lives of Americans. Otherwise, we’ll only reprise a story you’ve all suffered through one time too many.
Maybe unity has a certain appeal to you — it does for plenty of people. But that’s more of an aspirational goal, and less of a plan. 74 million people voted for Trump, presumably because he had his own appeal for them. 80 million eligible voters stayed home altogether. If you think unity is the way, let’s figure out how to make that happen.
To be upfront, I’d say let’s win them over and/or distract them with a livable wage, healthcare, a habitable planet — but that’s me. We’re in a democracy after all. I want to hear what you think.
And this is the exact moment to clarify what we believe Biden’s presidential term should give us. With Trump’s proto-fascist, anti-democracy self out of the way, there’s a perfect chance to set the bar far higher than it’s been over the past forty years of neoliberal consensus.
To that end, I’ve begun cataloging some of what Biden’s admin has been up to since Day One.
Examples of working towards a successful Biden presidency:
Ending DOJ contract renewals with private prisons.
Beginning a bevy of federally-led responses to the pandemic.
Stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Examples of working towards a failed Biden presidency:
Raising the prices on insulin that the Trump admin dropped.
Delaying reuniting families at the border — which he promised to do on Day One.
Failure to enact a plan codifying healthcare as a human right.
We all need a competent pandemic response and economic relief. We all don’t want to see children ripped from their parents arms. But that’s barely the beginning of what we should demand.
There’s so much more that Biden can do, as expertly explained in the American Prospect’s Day One Agenda. He can make prescription drugs affordable (not raise them just to undo anything Trump did). He can cancel student debt, effectively decriminalize marijuana, and get corporations to start paying taxes.
We elected Biden — along with members of Congress and the House — to do something. What are the somethings that you want done?
Unfortunately with history as a guide, we can’t just leave it all up to Team Blue and expect they’ll hand us the world we need four to eight years down the line.
Representatives, and our government at large, work for us — they are servants to the public. Our commitment to democracy comes with responsibilities to keep those public servants accountable to our interests, which we can’t do without having our own ideas of success.
To me, that success means decommodifying survival, getting healthcare as a human right, working to solve the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, reducing economic precarity, eliminating racial and gender inequities, aggressively pursuing climate change solutions, and actually taxing billionaires.
What does it mean to you?
— Sincerely, a curious compatriot