That the Democratic Party is not united behind a single overarching agenda -regardless of special interest groups and tendencies within such an agenda that would imply, on the one hand to collect more taxes, and on the other, to tilt policies toward their own vision- is good news for the United States for only one reason.
Today, the most influential agenda of the blue party is openly socialist. And even if it’s more or less moderate, it would be a socialist agenda alone that would have achieved consensus in such a group.
Presidents and their parties
Outside the United States, political parties are very different from those familiar to Americans. It would serve no purpose to explain those differences here. I mention it only because if American political parties functioned like those in other Western democracies, the situation facing the United States today would be worse. And within the Democratic Party, the ultra-left radicals will, sooner or later, demand this other form of party organization.
But in the United States, being what they are, a president needs to have natural leadership over his own party. And that leadership is not guaranteed by the office -although the power of the presidency increases it- but by the prestige that, as a political leader, he has before arriving at the White House.
The personal addition of each president to that leadership, through the speech and actions of his administration, is also important, especially in the first 100 days. Whether the agenda of the administration and his party will be a single unified one, will depend on how they will negotiate -or impose if possible- with, or on, the opposition and within the country’s system of institutional checks and balances.
But the Democratic Party today is not unified behind an agenda for its new administration. And Biden is further from being a natural leader of his own party than almost any other president.
The Divided Era
Thomas Del Beccaro, in his book The Divided Era, explains that, from the mid-1990s to the present, there are growing divisions in the United States, not only by ideology, but by economic incentives.
Politics is increasingly income-seeking on the part of interest groups. And it grows with every increase in government spending. The federal government spent almost US$2 trillion more in 2020 than in 2019. Those who can -in one way or another- will compete intensely for those dollars. The election is, in large part, about how those dollars would be divvied up. And about who would pay those dollars in taxes. So, Del Beccaro explains, the more money spent the greater the divide.
And the bulk of Democrats in Congress, starting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have gigantic spending plans. The ultra-left of the Democratic Party -now its most influential wing- is demanding wholly socialist policies.
Biden doesn’t object, but Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders want it all, and they want it fast. And Biden would need to slow it down, but Sanders is already in charge of the Senate Budget Committee.
The White House’s puppet
Biden would need a united interregnum to achieve his first 100-day honeymoon. At least with his own party’s voters and most independents. Non-partisans matter.
But his candidacy did not reflect a leadership of his own, it was a figurehead admitted by radicals to unify, behind the least radical appearance possible, every last anti-Trump vote, behind someone with no leadership of his own to threaten or favor agendas vying for control of the party. And now of the administration.
Besides, half the country remains convinced of alleged voter fraud. And a 100-day honeymoon would imply achieving with them a “cease fire” at the very least.
For those who voted for Trump, Biden’s presidency began in the most divisive way possible. With a record number of executive orders on day one, whose sole purpose was to erase the entire Trump legacy -to the extent possible- with the stroke of a pen.
Biden (in this senator Ted Cruz got it right) speaks as a centrist and governs as an ultra-leftist. That, and no other, is the direction his words and initial actions point in, for his own ultra-left it is not enough. There is the unforgivable sin – for Antifa and Black Lives Matter worshipping Democrats – of trying to disguise the growing witch-hunt by their Silicon Valley cartel allies by sacrificing secondary scapegoats of that ultra-left, in the great virtual purge.
Everyone in his own party sees Biden as a puppet. But no one is clear about who is ultimately pulling the strings. Is it only one person or are they several? It could be anyone: from Biden’s wife, Jill. Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff. Susan Rice, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, and of course, Kamala Harris, the ultra-left’s 2024 candidate.
If, for the puppet’s sake, whoever really pulls his strings should fail to stop Trump’s impeachment in the Senate – which Biden would do if he could- Biden will lose every last conservative forever. He will win the distrust of independents. And of all those who want Washington to focus on real issues and put partisan hatreds aside.
But, for the bulk of Democrats in Congress that impeachment is vital. They fear both Trump’s return to the White House and his entry into the Senate. And they hate him too much.
Unity will be limited to speeches, but it will be off the agenda. And regaining unity is what more than half of those who actually voted for Biden-Harris actually wanted.
Maybe they will begin to understand that the division was already there. That it wasn’t started by Trump. And that it will not be cured by a socialism, whose influence on political culture, legislation and public policy, is at the root of what started, deepened and will continue to worsen divisions. And feeding hatreds. No more, no less.