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Democrats Prevent Biden's Plan From Working

Divisions have presidency nearing failure, Jonathan Chait writes
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2021 4:40 PM CST
Democrats Prevent Biden's Plan From Working
President Biden talks to reporters Friday in Nantucket, Mass.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Joe Biden came into office with a plan. The president would concentrate on practical issues to win back the working-class voters who had supported Donald Trump. He'd avoid getting caught up in the causes of the Democrats' progressive wing. Polls provided the evidence that child care, community college, expanding Medicare and Medicaid were winners with voters, who liked the idea of taxing the rich to pay for it all. But it's gone wrong, Jonathan Chait writes in the New Yorker, putting Biden's presidency—and possibly democracy—on the edge of failure.

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Some reasons for the plunge in Biden's approval ratings seem clear, but overall, Chait writes: "Nobody can ascertain exactly why the public has turned so sour so fast. Biden is like a patient wasting away from some undiagnosable disease." It didn't help that his Build Back Better plan kept shrinking, as lobbyists for businesses exerted pressure to remove portions of it. Neither did the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Or the toll the delta variant took. But Biden's poll numbers kept dropping even when negative stories faded. At this point, it's not clear that Biden and Democrats can turn this around, Chait says.

Much of the problem is what's happening around Biden: It's not that the Democratic Party is swinging too far left or right, it's just splitting in two. It's not that Biden shifted from the center, either. On one side of him is the left wing, which has alienated many of the party's past supporters. On the other, Chait writes, are "centrists unable to conceive of their job in any terms save as valets for the business elite." If the election were held now, he says, Trump would be favored over Biden. Unless Democrats start compromising with each other quickly, Chait writes, the clock will run out on their plan. You can read the full piece here. (Read more President Biden stories.)

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