The failure of the coalition that elected Biden to take ownership – by which I mean organizing practical actions on various levels – in support of the democratic and progressive aspects of Biden’s agenda – Build Back Better in the first place – has weakened its hand politically and ideologically in present circumstances. No doubt Democratic candidates at every level will have a much steeper climb when voters go to the polls this fall because of this failure.One would think that progressive minded leaders would have realized this danger and taken counter measures to turn the coalition that elected Biden into a powerful and active legislative force. But they didn’t.
This diverse coalition never became, to use the words of Frederick Douglass, “The Power behind the Throne” in the period following the election. As a result, BBB – a bill that would not only have made a tangible difference in the lives of tens of millions, but it would also have given Congressional Democrats a major accomplishment to run on – never received the the practical attention that it deserved. It was an object of conversation, instead of subject of struggle in the coalition that elected Biden. That’s not to say that everybody was sitting on their hands. They weren’t.
Their energies, however, were directed elsewhere. That’s understandable but only up to a point. Beyond that point such a posture turns into a self inflicted wound as voters register their displeasure at the failure of the Democrats in Washington to make a material difference in the day to day life of voters across the country. Let’s hope that the price paid for this mistake isn’t too high this fall for the stakes in this election have spiked in recent weeks, thanks to the immense damage done and decisions made by the Supreme Court, dominated, as it is, by a right wing authoritarian majority.