Within the Democratic caucus, Mr. Biden’s team avoided other pitfalls he witnessed during the Obama administration, when White House spokesmen dismissed activists as “the professional left” and banned intra-partisan criticism from administration circles of influence. Instead, Mr. Biden’s White House has hosted many such critics at virtual meetings, and Chief of Staff Ron Klain, encouraged progressive criticism on his Twitter feed.
The New Washington
Melissa Byrne, a progressive activist, found out when she wanted to push Mr. Biden to focus on student debt cancellation. To complement her constant stream of tweets, Ms. Byrne bought full page ads in The News Journal, a diary that was delivered daily to Mr. Biden’s home in Delaware during the presidential transition.
Ms Byrne expected Mr Biden’s team to bristle with their public protests. Instead, his efforts were encouraged. Mr. Klain told her to keep the pressure up, inviting her to further Zoom meetings with the transition team.
“We just continued to have people at the table,” she said. “It showed me that we can do cool things like sit-ins and banners, but we can also be warm and fuzzy.”
The close attention to the pandemic has allowed Mr Biden to align his central campaign promise – a more effective government response – with the priorities of party officials in battlefield states, who say voters expect Mr Biden to provide a competent vaccine distribution. with direct economic assistance. Already, there is a broad consensus within the party that the Democrats will be judged in mid-term 2022 and in the 2024 presidential election on their management of the two crises.
“Needles and checks – this has to be the focus,” said Thomas Nelson, director of Outagamie County in Wisconsin. Mr Nelson was a Sanders delegate in 2020 and is running in the 2022 election for the seat held by Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican. “The people of my riding, we need these checks.”
Mr. Biden also paid attention to other policy issues. He has signed around 45 decrees, memoranda or proclamations promulgating or at least initiating major changes on issues such as racial justice, immigration, climate change and transgender rights.