The new Democratic president has a massive agenda on domestic policy, powered by the party’s progressive wing, which is more ascendent than it was the last time a Democrat was in the White House.
Many of his policy goals must be somewhat deferred as the Oval Office occupant deals with a clear-and-present crisis that has to be addressed and tamed if his presidency has any chance to succeed.
While the Democrat would like to deal with the national emergency in a bipartisan manner (to fulfill a campaign promise and establish a fresh governing template after years of bitter, tribal warfare), it quickly becomes clear that the need for speed and the political realities of the base demands that come from unified majority control of Congress mean that the first big legislative action will be propelled by Democratic votes.
The White House basically decides to bet that Republicans will be punished politically for voting against the popular agenda of a newly installed Democratic president who is aggressively working to help the American people out of an historic hole.
As the administration makes it clear that Republicans in Congress won’t have meaningful input in the legislation, the opposition party, led by Mitch McConnell, makes a political bet (with an eye on the midterms) that is much different. The GOP believes that what polls suggest are popular policies will be seen by November the following year as both too far left and ineffective – leading to a midterm shellacking and a return to Republican control of Capitol Hill.
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