22 votes

Biden is planning an FDR-size Presidency

26 comments

  1. nacho
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm so glad you shared this. I'd really recommend reading it, especially if you're left of Biden politically. This is a sensible take on the realities and actual latitude a coming Democratic...

    I'm so glad you shared this. I'd really recommend reading it, especially if you're left of Biden politically.

    This is a sensible take on the realities and actual latitude a coming Democratic president would have if they are elected.

    I won't snip out quotes because it's really worth reading in its entirety:

    • What sweeping legislation can a Democratic president possibly prioritize that doesn't require bipartisanship in either the House or Senate?
    • What sweeping post-corona legislation does Biden think the Republicans will be in on with a hard-hit economy?
    • How do you run a campaign to win not just the highest office in the land, but the parliamentary chambers too, in the time of corona?

    (Edit: post-corona twice in the same sentence)

    19 votes
  2. dubteedub
    Link
    I have seen a lot of discussions on Tildes and elsewhere asking what Joe Biden's policy stances are, and some even arguing that a Biden Presidency policy-wise would be no different than Trump. I...

    I have seen a lot of discussions on Tildes and elsewhere asking what Joe Biden's policy stances are, and some even arguing that a Biden Presidency policy-wise would be no different than Trump. I think that this helps lay out Biden's policy vision for his administration in a better way than has been communicated before and should hopefully help flesh out people's views on this.

    Long before the pandemic, he described a range of actions he’d take on day one, from rejoining the Paris climate agreement to signing executive orders on ethics, and he cited other matters, like passing the Equality Act for LGBTQ protections, as top priorities. Already his recovery ambitions have grown to include plans that would flex the muscles of big government harder than any program in recent history. To date, the federal government has spent more than $2 trillion on the coronavirus stimulus — nearly three times what it approved in 2009. Biden wants more spending. “A hell of a lot bigger,” he’s said, “whatever it takes.” He has argued that, even if you’re inclined to worry about the deficit, massive public investment is the only thing capable of growing the economy enough “so the deficit doesn’t eat you alive.”

    ...

    Biden’s long platform has grown in recent months as the crisis has deepened. In early May, for example, his campaign detailed a long list of reforms specifically aimed at helping black Americans, like expanding tax credits used by African-American small-business owners and establishing a $100 billion affordable-housing fund, noting that “the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 have shined a light on — and cruelly exacerbated — the disparities long faced by African-Americans.” And in the weeks before the lockdowns set in, Biden was closing out the Democratic primary in part by shifting left. He embraced Elizabeth Warren’s bankruptcy proposal, long a contentious subject between the two of them. And though he hasn’t signed up for Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All or free-college plans, he moved toward Sanders on some student-loan-debt and health-care-funding policies and arranged six working groups of advisers to both camps to tackle issues like immigration. Once he began talking about a coronavirus recovery, he also started signaling more immediate ambitions on climate, including in his multiple conversations with Washington governor Jay Inslee. “He’s totally understood the centrality of a clean-energy plan,” said Inslee.

    ...

    But Biden is also a lifelong Democrat who likes the view from the center of the party, enough to move rapidly to accommodate when it shifts, as it is doing now very quickly. He may look like a milquetoast moderate to the activist left and maybe even to you, but the party — and world — has changed so fast that even his primary platform puts him well to the left of Obama in 2008 and, in many ways, left of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Those close to him say he sees in the crisis an obvious window for action. “There is no denying that the challenges a President Biden would face in 2021 are different than anyone could have imagined six months ago given the economic and health consequences of the coronavirus,” Feldman, who has worked with Biden for nearly a decade, told me. “What I’ve heard the vice-president say over and over again is this crisis is shining a bright, bright light on so many systemic problems in our country, and so many inequities. It is exacerbating and shining a light on environmental-justice issues, racial inequalities, so many other problems.”

    I am still interested to see what further policy proposals come out from his campaign and who he picks for his VP, but I find these comments, particularly this last one that I bolded, to be a good indicators and helps me support a Biden presidency with more enthusiasm than just not being Trump.

    9 votes
  3. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Biden supports automatic voter registration, DC statehood and voting rights for released felons. which is really important, fundamental stuff. As for his plans on COVID-19, they're also really...

    Biden supports automatic voter registration, DC statehood and voting rights for released felons. which is really important, fundamental stuff.

    As for his plans on COVID-19, they're also really thorough and, like every or nearly every other Democratic candidate also supports more unionization rights, criminal justice reform, Healthcare reform (a public option) and some level of action against climate change. For all it's worth, most Democratic candidates want to push substantial (though nowhere near FDR-level) changes through Congress.

    However this bit is worth pointing out though:

    Biden, he said, “has a very considerable grasp of what a realistic future holds.” He paused. “It is not rose colored.”

    And while 2009 shows that spending unprecedented amounts of money alone doesn’t necessarily make a presidency transformational, the pandemic and the economic collapse it has produced have expanded Biden’s sense of not just how much relief will be required but what will be possible to accomplish as part of that recovery. Presidential campaigns typically produce many more policy proposals than they ever expect they’ll have the political capital to execute — that’s why the more pressing question is often not what a candidate wishes but what he or she will prioritize in the window of opportunity that usually slams permanently shut in the first midterm elections. Trump accomplished one big-ticket priority: tax cuts. Obama managed two: the stimulus, with a filibusterproof 60-vote Senate majority, and, barely, Obama-care. While it’s impossible to tell where the country is headed, Biden’s camp is in the disorienting position of scaling up its laundry list of proposals to match the ambition, and the political appetite, he thinks the American people — desperate for relief — will have in January.

    And he’s been bracing to face a stubborn Congress that may feel it has already done enough. Biden has long touted his ability to work with Republicans, frequently to the exasperation of younger Democrats who see the last decade-plus as a tale of nonstop GOP obstruction. He’s still talking with allies about how to win Republicans over on emergency economic and public-health legislation. “He does have to be closely attentive to: How can we put together a bipartisan coalition to work toward recovery?” said Delaware senator Chris Coons, a close Biden ally. But based on his experience in 2009, Coons said, “he is concerned about the willingness of Republicans to work in a bipartisan way to power the public out of this.”

    Recently, friends have noticed that Biden is talking less about this and more about policies that Mitch McConnell’s Senate GOP would be unlikely to go for no matter what — like new environmental investments and oversight. The crisis, Biden believes, has expanded “the state of what is possible, now that the American people have seen both the role of government and the role of frontline workers,” said Sullivan. “He believes he has a more compelling case to make that this is the agenda that needs to get passed.”

    Biden hasn’t suddenly abandoned his traditionalist view of the Senate’s role or the filibuster and doesn’t yet seem to have an obviously persuasive answer about how to pass legislation on the scale he believes is necessary given the effective veto power McConnell is likely to hold because of it. But while conventional wisdom holds that spectacular achievements require a politics of spectacle, a different dynamic may well apply in a crisis. In 2009, far more green investment was included in the stimulus than Republicans would have found acceptable in a stand-alone climate bill, and Democrats have managed to so significantly expand unemployment insurance that, in most states, many workers on unemployment are eligible to receive more money than they made when working — mostly because, in both cases, nobody was paying such close attention to details, focusing instead on the top-line spending numbers they hoped to deliver.

    This isn’t the confrontational politics preferred by party activists, but it may not be as dead in the water as they assume, either.

    I'm still terribly skeptical it can happen again and it feels like the CARES act was the end of it but at least I can trust it has happened before.

    7 votes
  4. [2]
    envy
    Link
    Great article. Assuming Democrats get 50-60 seats in the senate... does anyone know where the senate will land in terms of the filibuster in regards to Bidens ability to pass new laws? Can most of...

    Great article.

    Assuming Democrats get 50-60 seats in the senate... does anyone know where the senate will land in terms of the filibuster in regards to Bidens ability to pass new laws?

    Can most of these laws be passed via reconciliation, or will some of these laws require 60 senate votes?

    3 votes
    1. dubteedub
      Link Parent
      Here is the relevant bit from the article on that. It boils down to being virtually impossible the Dems win the Senate in 2020 and so they will likely be required to do some compromising unless...

      Here is the relevant bit from the article on that. It boils down to being virtually impossible the Dems win the Senate in 2020 and so they will likely be required to do some compromising unless Biden decides to change his mind on abandoning the filibuster.

      Biden hasn’t suddenly abandoned his traditionalist view of the Senate’s role or the filibuster and doesn’t yet seem to have an obviously persuasive answer about how to pass legislation on the scale he believes is necessary given the effective veto power McConnell is likely to hold because of it. But while conventional wisdom holds that spectacular achievements require a politics of spectacle, a different dynamic may well apply in a crisis. In 2009, far more green investment was included in the stimulus than Republicans would have found acceptable in a stand-alone climate bill, and Democrats have managed to so significantly expand unemployment insurance that, in most states, many workers on unemployment are eligible to receive more money than they made when working — mostly because, in both cases, nobody was paying such close attention to details, focusing instead on the top-line spending numbers they hoped to deliver.

      This isn’t the confrontational politics preferred by party activists, but it may not be as dead in the water as they assume, either. And when Biden has talked to senator friends recently, he has asked about the prospects of taking the chamber back. Sometimes he goes into detail: When he caught up with Alabama’s Doug Jones late on a Saturday night in mid-April, Biden asked for an update on the senator’s race, which everyone thinks will be extremely difficult to win, suggesting that he thinks Jones could plausibly hold his seat. If that happens, Democrats would be a safe bet to take the Senate. Still, they won’t get to 60 seats, which means anything close to a New Deal–size presidency would require some negotiation with (and concessions from) Republicans.

      3 votes
  5. [21]
    arghdos
    Link
    Really? The guy who a month ago was opposing a single-payer healthcare during a health crisis is planning a new deal "as big as FDR's"? I mean, I guess people have the ability to change their...

    Really? The guy who a month ago was opposing a single-payer healthcare during a health crisis is planning a new deal "as big as FDR's"?

    I mean, I guess people have the ability to change their minds, but I'm real fucking skeptical...

    14 votes
    1. [3]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      This is a pretty low effort comment and I’m a little confused why it’s at the top of the page here. Yes, Biden is to the right of Bernie Sanders, and yes, he has a different health care plan....

      This is a pretty low effort comment and I’m a little confused why it’s at the top of the page here. Yes, Biden is to the right of Bernie Sanders, and yes, he has a different health care plan. Healthcare is an important issue, but there is more to a platform than a candidates stance on one particular solution to one particular problem.

      I thought the article did a pretty good job of at the least showing how Biden’s presidency could implement expansive changes, especially considering the uncertainty around who will be controlling what chambers, and what will have political support with a cratered economy and sick nation.

      I’m a little discouraged by the fact that Tildes’ standards of discussion apparently go out the window when it comes to discussing Biden.

      17 votes
      1. [2]
        precise
        Link Parent
        I disagree with your opinion on their comment. @arghdos made an observation, formed an opinion, and even linked an article to explain how they formed their opinion. It's up to the community to...

        I disagree with your opinion on their comment. @arghdos made an observation, formed an opinion, and even linked an article to explain how they formed their opinion. It's up to the community to ascribe a common set of quality standards to itself, and that should be done by voting and labeling. While their comment is not an essay, I have no problem with similar comments on Tildes. It started a discussion that you yourself engaged in. I'm not saying that you're trying to set the wrong standard, but if we set the bar too high, it hurts community engagement, there's a fine line.

        Also, you point out yourself that in your view the discourse on Tildes degrades when Biden is being discussed. I question why you see it in that way, perhaps it's because you don't agree with people who don't like Biden? We all can be reactionary and we all have biases (I don't like Biden, fwiw), but we can't let that skew the standard on Tildes 'less we want an echo chamber.

        7 votes
        1. gpl
          Link Parent
          I'm not super inclined to get into the weeds here, especially considering the comment in question is no longer prominent on the comments page (when I commented it was the top ranked comment, with...

          I'm not super inclined to get into the weeds here, especially considering the comment in question is no longer prominent on the comments page (when I commented it was the top ranked comment, with other more substantial ones ranked below it).

          Nonetheless, I think the above comment was particularly low effort because it did not meaningfully engage at all with the linked article. I obviously agree that requiring an essay of a comment does nothing but discourage participation (not all of my comments meet that standard, for starters). I also don't think issuing a blanket dismissal of an article by linking to a tangentially related article really contributes much, and I don't think it should be encouraged. The topic article even admits that Biden is not as expansive on healthcare as many on the left would like:

          And though he hasn’t signed up for Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All or free-college plans, he moved toward Sanders on some student-loan-debt and health-care-funding policies and arranged six working groups of advisers to both camps to tackle issues like immigration.

          So at the minimum it would have been nice to hear why they thought that single policy stance somehow outweighs literally everything else in the article as to render its thesis moot. Again, an essay of an answer isn't and shouldn't be the standard. But unless it is clear you aren't commenting on the substance of the article ("This comment is offtopic, but"), I don't think its unreasonable to want a bit more effort if your contention is one that is conceded in the article. Why wasn't the article's analysis of this point enough, for example?

          I question why you see it in that way, perhaps it's because you don't agree with people who don't like Biden?

          I don't particularly like Biden either. I had supported Warren, and I agree with a lot of Sanders's positions even if I disagree with his proposed implementations (or lack thereof). I don't think my view is influenced out of some affinity for Biden, but rather what seems like a repeated pattern of low-effort yet highly voted comments on similar articles.

          In any case, it's all a bit moot since the comment is no longer highly sorted (which I suppose is a testament to the efficacy of Tildes' label system).

          9 votes
    2. [9]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      I think single-payer healthcare would be tremendously good. But I think it's a very demanding issue in terms of political capital. What path is there to the required majorities for single-payer...

      I think single-payer healthcare would be tremendously good. But I think it's a very demanding issue in terms of political capital.

      What path is there to the required majorities for single-payer healthcare to pass congress?

      I'm not sure that in a post-corona world that this is the right issue make capstone policy. Expected high unemployment in the medium-to-long term opens other options that otherwise simply aren't there.

      • Worker rights (wages, vacation, maternity/paternity leave, worker protection etc.)
      • Education reform
      • Financial business legislation
      • Environmental projects/investments/regulation
      • Tax reform

      When people are struggling economically, the time isn't right for electoral reform, judicial reform or other ideological reforms.

      For the Democrats the time is right for showing people that a social safety net is a good thing they benefit from, that small-state fiscal conservatism to the extent prevalent in the US isn't the right way to distribute the resources in society fairly.

      7 votes
      1. [6]
        The_Fad
        Link Parent
        Something I've noticed among US Dems specifically (and to a significantly lesser degree, US Reps) is the tendency to use variants of this argument in literally every election. At the bare minimum...

        the time isn't right for electoral reform

        Something I've noticed among US Dems specifically (and to a significantly lesser degree, US Reps) is the tendency to use variants of this argument in literally every election. At the bare minimum i've seen it used in every election I've been part of (2008 would've been the first election cycle, and I've voted in every federal since and most of my locals). It's getting to the point where I'm kind of wondering when, exactly, the time will be right for the progressive left in the Dems' eyes?

        Obviously you can't speak for a party comprised of millions of people, but I'd like your opinion since you seem pretty all-in on the Dem train.

        9 votes
        1. [4]
          nacho
          Link Parent
          That's what frustrates me the most about 2016. With the weakest candidate the Republicans have fielded in decades, the Democratic party still bungled things so bad they lost. That's mostly on the...

          That's what frustrates me the most about 2016. With the weakest candidate the Republicans have fielded in decades, the Democratic party still bungled things so bad they lost. That's mostly on the party itself, but also individual contenders (Clinton and Sanders, mostly imo).

          At that point in time, 8 years after the 2008-crash, with a strong recovery and strong economic outlooks, winning the 2016 elections would have been as good a time as any we could expect. It'd also be timed reasonably well with the 2020 census. Also a strong outlook for a clear shift in the Supreme Court during the four years.

          With the benefit of hindsight and seeing how well the economy has been, this presidential term would have been the perfect term for electoral reform. But the party that wants this reform didn't manage the prerequisite: getting its house in order and winning the elections needed to make that happen.

          Guessing at the future is hard. But post-corona, and looking at how long it historically takes to recover after serious crashes, this term isn't right. Possibly at the tail end of the term after, but probably not until at least after 2028 is what we're looking at in terms of electoral reform being something to prioritize.

          Getting at reforms to voter registration and voter marginalization, districting and gerrymandering? That bar is way lower since the issue is much simpler politically and therefore in terms of time. You can do many other things simultaneously. I'd just randomly guess political normalcy will come in a couple of years, so that's when it'd be back on the table?

          (With the current alternatives, who can afford not to be all-in on the Dem train for all federal elections?)

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            SantalBlush
            Link Parent
            As far as I recall, the last time Democrats held the presidency for more than 8 consecutive years was in 1953, following FDR/Truman. Their collective 20-year stretch began with FDR signing New...

            As far as I recall, the last time Democrats held the presidency for more than 8 consecutive years was in 1953, following FDR/Truman. Their collective 20-year stretch began with FDR signing New Deal policies into law during his first term, in the middle of the Great Depression.

            5 votes
            1. Kuromantis
              Link Parent
              Damn. Given that was before the Civil rights movement and the Southern strategy I don't think we've never gotten a progressive leftist elected (and if we did, their party either lost a majority 2...

              Damn. Given that was before the Civil rights movement and the Southern strategy I don't think we've never gotten a progressive leftist elected (and if we did, their party either lost a majority 2 years later in the midterms like Obama & Bill Clinton and they're only vaguely left or it was Teddy Roosevelt, but he was a Republican thanks to the weird party switch of the 20th century and calling him culturally progressive is being relative.)

          2. The_Fad
            Link Parent
            Interesting. Thanks for offering your insight.

            Interesting. Thanks for offering your insight.

            2 votes
        2. Parliament
          Link Parent
          Defeatism is part of our political culture, and it's very hard to overcome. I'm guilty of it, especially before formally joining the Democratic Party in 2015/2016. Many are used to disappointment,...

          Defeatism is part of our political culture, and it's very hard to overcome. I'm guilty of it, especially before formally joining the Democratic Party in 2015/2016. Many are used to disappointment, so they keep expectations as low as possible. I eventually came to the realization that we have to dream big to get people excited and motivated for a lifetime of political activism even if the legislative reality is incremental and slow. The fight won't be won by the time we die, but the alternative is defeatism from the sidelines.

          5 votes
      2. [2]
        wycy
        Link Parent
        Centrists' greatest hits

        the time isn't right for <insert good policy>

        Centrists' greatest hits

        2 votes
        1. nacho
          Link Parent
          Politics is about prioritizing things away. Anyone can write a never-ending wish list. What's the most important thing to fix/improve right here, right now? Which things that I don't want to wait...

          Politics is about prioritizing things away. Anyone can write a never-ending wish list.

          What's the most important thing to fix/improve right here, right now?

          Which things that I don't want to wait with will have to wait so government can improve as many things as possible?


          I'd argue the list of those five bullet points suggests that the time is extremely right for a lot of things the Democrats wouldn't have dreamed was in the Overton window six months ago. Especially the left side of the party.

          An economic downturn is when people realize society needs a safety net. Get that legislation passed.

          Politicians of all views will the current situation at any time to further their political aims if they are to be effective.

          9 votes
    3. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I mean as much as I prefer single payer, his point is correct in that article.

      I mean as much as I prefer single payer, his point is correct in that article.

      4 votes
    4. [7]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      From your article, he said that a single player health system would not solve the COVID-19 pandemic and a need for other types of federal response.

      From your article, he said that a single player health system would not solve the COVID-19 pandemic and a need for other types of federal response.

      "Single payer will not solve that at all," the Democratic presidential front-runner told MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian in a TV interview.

      "We have a whole number of hospitals that are being stretched, including rural hospitals, that are going to need more financing. That doesn’t come from a single-payer system. That comes from the federal government stepping up and dealing with the concerns that they have," he said from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

      3 votes
      1. [6]
        wycy
        Link Parent
        Well sure, but single payer would solve one of the major problems caused by the pandemic: tens of millions of Americans losing their employer-tied private health insurance plans that Democrats...

        he said that a single player health system would not solve the COVID-19 pandemic

        Well sure, but single payer would solve one of the major problems caused by the pandemic: tens of millions of Americans losing their employer-tied private health insurance plans that Democrats claim Americans so love.

        7 votes
        1. [5]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          It can only solve it if it also builds out additional capacity to meet the increased demand for services, including somehow magicking a bunch of new qualified Doctors and Nurses and techs in the...

          Well sure, but single payer would solve one of the major problems caused by the pandemic: tens of millions of Americans losing their employer-tied private health insurance plans that Democrats claim Americans so love.

          It can only solve it if it also builds out additional capacity to meet the increased demand for services, including somehow magicking a bunch of new qualified Doctors and Nurses and techs in the world. As it stands, we are only capable of adding about 35k new doctors a year max, assuming nobody burns out and quits their residency programs (which lots of people do).

          This is actually where most of the controversy around Single Payer comes from. Healthcare workers are worried about taking big pay cuts as everything gets slashed down to Medicare rates while also being stretched to the limit on workloads.

          5 votes
          1. [4]
            wycy
            Link Parent
            This is a solved problem in every other country. We can solve it too.

            It can only solve it if it also builds out additional capacity to meet the increased demand for services, including somehow magicking a bunch of new qualified Doctors and Nurses and techs in the world.

            This is a solved problem in every other country. We can solve it too.

            3 votes
            1. [3]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              This is a glib non-answer. The point is that it takes time to build out capacity. Anywhere from 5 to 10 years if you commit to doing it at breakneck speed. Massive policy changes don’t just happen...

              This is a glib non-answer. The point is that it takes time to build out capacity. Anywhere from 5 to 10 years if you commit to doing it at breakneck speed. Massive policy changes don’t just happen because you will it hard enough.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                wycy
                Link Parent
                Hence why single payer plans are also phased in over years.

                Hence why single payer plans are also phased in over years.

                3 votes
                1. NaraVara
                  Link Parent
                  This doesn't address the main point about a transition period.

                  This doesn't address the main point about a transition period.

                  This is actually where most of the controversy around Single Payer comes from. Healthcare workers are worried about taking big pay cuts as everything gets slashed down to Medicare rates while also being stretched to the limit on workloads.

                  1 vote