No one should feel comfortable or complacent for this is a moment when the balance of power could easily move in an unfavorable direction, landing us in the morass of white nationalist, plutocratic authoritarian rule, maybe not fascism as we have come to think of it, but clearly sharing some of its features. It would only take Democrats coming up short next year in the elections and then again two years later to throw the country on such a trajectory. Whether we escape the latter and ascend to higher ground will rest in large measure on the success of the Biden administration in practically addressing the main crises – covid, climate, racial inequality, and economic fairness – facing the country.
But with a razor-thread advantage in both legislative chambers, a handful of vacillating Democrats in the House and Senate, and a Republican Party and much wider right wing extremist authoritarian bloc determined to crush Biden and his legislative agenda, it won’t be easy. Much will depend on the readiness of the diverse coalition that elected Biden to shift into a higher gear and engage – beginning now – in these immediate legislative battles.
Neither Biden nor the Democratic Party can go back to voters next year and expect to win their votes unless tens of millions of people can say that Biden and Congressional Democrats made a material difference in their lives. It won’t be promises for the future that will convince people across the country to vote Democratic, but practical political and legislative results in the present moment that will.