MyÂ most enduring worry is that Biden is sincere about ‘compromise’ and will not recognize fast enough that Republicans are committed to his failure.
As one of the many progressives who was dismissive about Joe Biden and his chances of being elected president in 2020, Iâ€™m glad to report that I could not have been more wrong.
Defeating President Donald Trump at the polls (and then 50 times in court) was an imperative to save our democracy. It’s is so shaky at this point that weâ€™re about three swing state Republican governors and a Republican House away from this president being able to easily steal an election he lost by dozens of electoral votes and 7 million real votes.Â But I want to believe that Biden will be able to achieve far more than just detoxing our body politic from Trump while minimizing the unpardonable harm that this wannabe dictator and his GOP co-conspirators did to this country.
Having any president who is actually opposed to spreading COVID-19 is an instant upgrade. But the thought of Ronald Klain â€” the Ebola Czar who successfully managed the containment of that hideous virus at home and abroad â€” in the White House as Bidenâ€™s chief of staff summons a feeling that the year 2020 had previously canceled: hope.Â
What to look forward to under Biden
We have tens of millions doses of a vaccine that needs to be distributed immediately, despite the current administrationâ€™s bumbling.Â And if the rest of the administration operates with Klainâ€™s proven efficiency and belief that government must deliver for people, itâ€™s possible that we can emerge from the deadliest period for Americans since World War II in a few months.
And thereâ€™s much more to look forward to.
A Democratic president inevitably brings more reproductive freedom, beginning with the immediate end if the so-called â€œMexico Cityâ€ rule. Our nation will soon rejoin the Paris Climate Accords with America’s first special envoy to lead the fight against global warming. And having a president who will not only defend the Affordable Care ActÂ but actively seek to expand Medicaid in all 50 states and enroll every eligible family will save countless lives.Â
Of course, I still have my worries.Â
Signs that the administration will not quickly unwind the Trump administrationâ€™s attacks on immigrants and refugees are already surfacing. And though Bidenâ€™s appointments have been as historic as his pickÂ of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, some nominees â€” especially Pete Buttigieg as Transportation secretary â€” suggest the president-elect may favor symbolic representation and rewarding allies over actual policy and experience. Still,Â his â€œMandela-likeâ€Â choice of Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland, who would be the first Native American confirmed to the Cabinet, Biden has shown he is capable of delivering historic representation that also aims to deliver long overdue justice.
MyÂ most enduring worry is that the former vice president is sincere about his â€œcompromiseâ€ rhetoric and will not recognize quickly enough how committed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans are to his (and our) failure. McConnell withheldÂ desperately needed state and local aid all year in hopes of nosediving the economy just in time for Bidenâ€™s inauguration.Â
And even if Democrats win both Georgia Senate seats in Jan. 5 runoffs, the new president will need to take nearly unprecedented executive actionÂ to overcome the multipleÂ interlocking crises â€” COVID,Â climate change, racial injusticeÂ and wealth inequality â€” that heâ€™s inheriting.
Believe me, I know Biden will never morph into Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Sen. Bernie Sanders, the unabashedly progressive candidates I supported in the primary. Yet I have hope I will continually be wrong about our new president for one big reason: He seems to have the ability to admit and learn from his mistakes.
Biden’sÂ superpower of self-correction
With some hedging, the former senior senator from Delaware expressed remorse about parts of the so-called â€œCrime Billâ€ of 1994 and after his support for the Iraq War, his eagerness for wars of choice has all but dissipated.Â
For an American president, the ability to self-correct is practically a superpower. And it pairs well with Bidenâ€™s other superpower â€” an almost preternatural ability to find what the media considers â€œthe centerâ€ of the Democratic Party.Â
Bidenâ€™s decades of skillful political navigation make the left and its ability to shift the party toward its goals more essential than ever. Biden ended up with what everyone agrees was the most progressive platform in the partyâ€™s history in large part because progressives have proven their policies are popular from Scranton to San Antonio. And progressive champions like Warren, Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and their supporters deserve immense credit for popularizing ideas like education loan forgiveness andÂ fighting to get Biden on board.
Unlike Trump,Â who recognized Biden as such a fierce competitor that he got impeached trying to destroy Biden’sis candidacy,Â I didnâ€™t quite grasp the appeal of the soon-to-be 46thÂ president. But Iâ€™m glad to be among the 81,281,888 Americans who proved Trump right.Â
And I look forward to Joe Biden continuing to prove me wrong for at least the next four years.
Jason Sattler, a writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a member of USA TODAYâ€™s Board of Contributors and host of “The GOTMFV Show” podcast. Follow him on Twitter:Â @LOLGOP
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