Thursday, December 9

“We need you to deliver”: Biden faces ire from disappointed fans | Joe biden


WWhen Joe Biden met with a group of historians in March, the conversation turned to thinking big like one of his predecessors, Franklin Roosevelt, architect of the New Deal. Biden, it seems, wanted to join him in the first rank of transformative American presidents.

Six months later, a very different meeting took place outside the gates of the White House this week. Five young climate activists, holding signs and sitting on folding chairs, went on an indefinite hunger strike. It was a visceral expression of disgust at what they see as Biden’s willingness to think small and break his promises.

“Young people flocked in record numbers to elect him in their climate commitments,” he said. Nikayla Jefferson, 24, an activist helping quiet and determined strikers outside Lafayette Park. “But during this last month he almost gave up. You are not being a leader right now in the way that we need you to deliver.. “

Activists share a growing sense of betrayal over everything from gun rights to immigration reform, from racial justice to right to vote, who saw the ruling majority of Democrats as a once in a generation opportunity. Instead, infighting between parties has jeopardized Biden’s agenda and could result in voter disappointment in next year’s midterm elections.

The 46th president took office promising to attack four crises: coronavirus, climate, economy and racial justice, but he has seen his approval rating sinks to 42% after colliding with some harsh political and economic realities.

These include tepid job growth, labor strikes, rising inflation and gasoline prices, bottlenecks in the global supply chain, a record number of arrests at the US-Mexico border, and a failed pullout of forces. Americans from Afghanistan that raised unexpected questions about their competition.

Even routine matters, like appointing an ambassador to Japan, seem to have gone jinx: Biden’s pick for Tokyo, Rahm Emanuel, caused a backlash of the Liberals because of his record in racial justice as mayor of Chicago.

Concerns that Biden has lost his way have been intensified by his inability to hold a press conference open to all since taking office in January. In that time he has done only 10 individual interviews – much less than Barack Obama or Donald Trump at the same stage.

But the greatest sense of a stagnant presidency stems from seemingly endless bickering among Congressional Democrats over Biden’s $ 1 trillion physical infrastructure bill and a $ 3.5 trillion social and environmental package.

Environmental activists march to the United States Capitol earlier this month.
Environmental activists march to the United States Capitol earlier this month. Photography: Bryan Olin Dozier / NurPhoto / Rex / Shutterstock

Two senators in particular, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, demanded cuts to the reconciliation package, sparking public acrimony with Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives who have come to dominate Washington and displace other pressing causes.

Biden’s proud march into the history books seems to have descended into internal party turmoil.

Jeff Merkley, Democratic Senator from Oregon, told Meet the Press Daily MSNBC network show: “He’s completely blowing the air out of the balloon for Biden’s presidency. He’s hurting Biden. It is hurting the Democrats. It is undermining the view that all the accomplishments we will have will be highly significant. “

With his legislative agenda in limbo, if not in jeopardy, Biden was forced this week to step in, house both factions in the White House and take a more aggressive role. This gave some Democrats new hope for a breakthrough, but indicated that he will cut the $ 3.5 trillion package in favor of a more modest proposal, which threatens a clean electricity program that was the centerpiece of his climate strategy.

He also underscored concerns that Biden is ceding to corporate interests over fossil fuels, prescription drug prices and tax increases. Critics say he has become so consumed with the routine of political sausage-making that he has lost sight of the general problems that his followers cherish.

Among them is the fate of democracy itself.

Last week, Senate Republicans implemented a procedural rule known as filibuster to block, for the second time, debate on radical reforms that would protect the right to vote. Activists knocking on doors and raising money for Biden warn that his inability to prioritize the issue above all others could be his biggest regret.

LaTosha Brown, Co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said: “Do I think you are against voter suppression? Absolutely. Do I think you support the right to vote? Absolutely. Do I think he is willing to use the full power of his office and his administration to ensure that the voters who voted for him are not punished for voting for him? That remains to be seen. “

At a CNN town hall Thursday night, Biden signaled his support for filibuster reform. But I should have pushed the cause before and with more force, Brown argues.

Voting rights activists hold a brief rally ahead of a civil disobedience action at the White House this week.
Voting rights activists hold a brief rally ahead of a civil disobedience action at the White House this week. Photograph: Allison Bailey / NurPhoto / Rex / Shutterstock

“When you fight for those who fight for you, you enter the midterm elections with an advantage. I think they wasted it by choosing the wrong strategy. They miscalculated. Blacks may not have another real viable party option, but we always have options,she said.

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, a leading civic organization, described the White House’s passivity in safeguarding democracy as “appalling.” He told the Washington Post: “I have heard from many of my colleagues and members that a lack of priority around voting rights will ruin the legacy of this presidency.”

Disenchantment was evident again last weekend when dozens of immigration reform advocates organized a virtual strike about administration officials during a video meeting. They criticize Biden’s continuation of Trump-era border policies, such as forcing migrants to wait in Mexico awaiting asylum hearings and deploying a public health order known as Title 42 to expel migrants at the border over concerns. about Covid-19.

Ariana Greetings, An advocate for the New Mexico-based community organization Colores United, which participated in the strike, said: Title 42 is a sham. Politicians, including the current administration, use it to explain that those who cross borders have higher rates of infection. We have the numbers of our shelters along the borders to show that this is absolutely false. “

Speaking by phone from Puerto Palomas, a small border town in Mexico suffering from water shortages, Saludares asked: Where is Joe Biden? Where is Kamala Harris? Where are all these things that they said they could provide us after such a ‘horrible period’? And now that? Many people wonder what they are really doing. “

Disappointment from grassroots activists poses a problem for Democrats ahead of the House and Senate midterm elections, who historically tend to favor the non-White House party. However, seven House Democrats have announced that they will retire rather than run for re-election, and another five will seek another elected office.

Democrats fear a repeat of 2010, when the tortuous but ultimately successful passage of Obama’s Affordable Care Act did not prevent a landslide defeat in the midterm elections. And looming in the distance is Trump, who seems Likely to run for president again in 2024, a prospect that fills many observers with fear for the future of American democracy.

Joe Biden delivers a speech at the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington DC.
Joe Biden delivers a speech at the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington DC. Photograph: Rex / Shutterstock

Bill Galston, A senior member of the think tank at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, said: “This is obviously a delicate moment in the Biden presidency. Right now, Biden’s schedule is the equivalent of planes in a crush of sorts, circling over an airport that doesn’t have enough runways to accommodate them all simultaneously.

“Things will look different once some of the planes start landing and I hope the infrastructure bill and a reduced reconciliation bill will be signed into law long before the end of the year. That will change the mood to some degree. The situation is not as bad as it seems, but it is bad enough. “

But not everyone is pessimistic and pessimistic. Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist based in Columbia, South Carolina, was more optimistic. “I am cautiously optimistic,” he said. “Joe Biden has proven his ability to lick and keep ticking over time. He has also shown that when people dismiss him, he always teaches them that they can’t count.

“When the ink on the story dries for this part of the story, you’ll see it as the ongoing theme when it comes to Joe Biden. I think we are right where we need to be. Mike Tyson has a quote: ‘The key to being successful is reaching your peak at the right time,’ and I think Joe Biden will eventually do it. “




www.theguardian.com

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