Biden can win, but can he deliver on expectations?

October 14, 2020

It’s looking more and more like Biden will pull it off. He’ll beat Trump resoundingly with a pretty deadbeat appeal – a return to some semblance of pre-Trumpian “normalcy.”

God knows we’re all desperate to be done with the constant disruption of our lives – done with the virus, done with gridlocked government, done with the insane Mussolini-wannabe Oval Office interloper.

But the normalcy people want and need won’t come as easy as dumping The Donald. It’ll take meeting a number of newly amped-up expectations. It’ll take beating back, pretty quickly, the pandemic with rational health science. It’ll take a rapid recovery of an economy on life support, with decently paying jobs returning in big numbers. It’ll take incorporating a “public option” into the Affordable Care Act, an achievement that eluded Obama. It’ll take relieving the crushing immediate financial crises facing everyone from out-of-work renters and underwater homeowners, to public universities and city and state governments. It’ll take confronting the systemic inequities of race and wealth disparity roiling the nation. It’ll take a level of emotional reassurance to a traumatized citizenry that we haven’t needed since the 1930s and ’40s.

Can Biden deliver? Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to suggest he can, or even that he really wants to. He’s been a corporate handmaiden for the length of his long public career, and in pursuing the nomination reassured Wall Street and other members of America’s power elite that little will change for them under a Biden administration. He – and the entire Democratic Party establishment – is addicted to a “moderate centrism” that crows about “beating the socialist Sanders.” No matter that the proposals put forward by Sanders and the progressives that supported him are wildly popular.

It’s hard to believe that a Biden presidency could be worse than a continuation of Trump. But if rising expectations are not met, it most certainly can be. We desperately need another New Deal and another FDR. Unfortunately, Biden offers neither.

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