In most uncertain times, bold, direct action is needed both from the government and the citizenry.
“Push Biden Left” folks, this is your time. I’m not saying this to troll anyone; I’m saying it because it’s absolutely vital due to the dire situation the country is in. This is a time of great opportunity but also of great danger. From the coronavirus pandemic to the rise of white supremacist vigilantism (and the state-sanctioned white supremacists masquerading as law enforcement), there’s much to deal with. I don’t believe that Biden is up to the task due to his 47-year political career that began with pro-segregation and ended with warmongering and Wall Street deregulation. However, Biden’s presidency will not be about him; it’ll be about us.
I believe we can use three past presidential administrations to make plausible projections for a Joe Biden presidency — Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ), Barack Obama, and George W. Bush:
- The Best case scenario: The LBJ model.
Biden and Johnson have many similarities. Both of them were Vice Presidents to charismatic, youthful, and charming Presidents before taking over the office themselves (albeit in very different circumstances). Both also had far too cozy relationships with segregationists, and they both assumed the Presidency during a mass movement for racial and economic justice. Johnson largely rose to the occasion due to constant pressure from the Civil Rights movement, and he also got a lot of help from the Supreme Court. Biden will most likely not be able to rely on the Supreme Court due to its current conservative makeup. However, the legislative and judicial wins from the Civil Rights Movement never truly materialized how we all may have hoped. Moreover, LBJ still did the bidding of the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC), most notably in Vietnam.
It needs to be understood that Biden will not have a Presidency like this through osmosis. If we want Biden to be like LBJ or even FDR, it’ll take massive grassroots organizing and constant pressure. We must also acknowledge that even with the progress made under those administrations, that they weren’t perfect. Along with LBJ’s Great Society's previously mentioned failings, FDR’s New Deal left Black workers out during the worst economic crash in the nations’ history. Are we willing to allow shortcomings like this again?
2. The “more of the same” scenario: The Obama model.
No matter who you blame, you must admit that not enough was done during the Obama years to address working Americans' needs. Obama rode into the White House promising hope and change, but we were given more of the same. Democrats controlled every lever of government in 2009, much as they will in 2021. However, the lack of bold action lead to losing a thousand seats nationwide, and ultimately Donald Trump coming to power in 2016.
If the Democratic Party does not learn from their own failed example, America may very well sink into fascism, after a newer, more competent Trump plays on working peoples’ pain for his own personal gain. We cannot settle for half measures and procrastination. Americans are in dire need of aid right now. From evictions to a lack of usable, comprehensive healthcare coverage, ‘times is hard.’ This new Democratic government that Biden is spearheading must be pushed into rising to the occasion, and that starts with all of us.
3. The hellscape scenario: The George W. Bush model.
George W. Bush was a terrible President by any metric. He and his cronies stole the 2000 election, then immediately manufactured our consent for an illegal invasion of Iraq. After somehow securing reelection, he then proceeded to crash the entire economy and left office in disgrace. Biden aided him in a lot of those disasters. From drumming up support for the Invasion of Iraq in the Senate to helping draft the Patriot Act, and even championing the Bankruptcy Bill, Biden’s fingerprints are all over Bush’s greatest failures.
The Military-Industrial Complex is always a threat to hijack a Presidency, but given Biden’s pro-war past, it is extremely concerning at this moment. As Dr. King told us nearly 60 years ago, we’ll be told that there is no money to address racial and economic justice here at home because all of our resources were sent overseas to bomb and destroy developing countries. We must remember this regardless of any concessions that we win in domestic policy. We must oppose American imperialism no matter what.
Biden has already shown signs of not being interested in governing for the people. From berating Civil Rights ‘Leaders’ on a recent Zoom call, to reneging on his promise of $2,000 checks and his corporate cozy cabinet, he has shown very little interest in governing for us. As a result, we must force him to. We need to remake our society in the image of Dr. King’s vision. We must demand that racism, poverty, and U.S. imperialism all be eradicated.
We must not succumb to GOP deficit hawkery, and we must call it out for the hypocrisy that it is. The GOP has never seen a tax cut for the wealthy or a defense budget increase that they didn’t like, so they don’t give a damn about the deficit. We must vehemently oppose austerity politics and organize for restorative justice. If the Biden Administration delivers, it’ll be because they were forced to by regular everyday Americans. Join that cause, and treat Biden and the rest of these government officials as what they are, our employees.