“It may be too much to hope that Biden,” Michelle Goldberg wrote, “could equal the achievements of Roosevelt or Johnson. But should he become president, he will, like both of them, inherit a country deep in crisis, where once inconceivable political interventions suddenly appear possible. We can’t know whether he will rise to the opportunity — only that presidencies are shaped by far more than the ideology of the person who achieves the office.” How true!

And yet, the go to position of too many people is to evaluate Biden statically and disconnected from the flow and flux of everyday life, the exigencies of interlocking crises, and the larger political shifts crisscrossing and shaping our politics and culture. Neither Biden nor any politician for that matter live a hermetic existence. They reflect and absorb the wider environment in different and contradictory ways.