This story raises a profound question: is America ready for a radical shift in its political stance? On the one hand, the polls show that Mr. Biden has a huge lead over Mr. Sanders and all the other candidates of the farther left. On the other hand, polls also show that a big majority of Americans are in favor of Medicare for all and serious action on climate change. On the third hand, the polls also show that popular support for action on climate change fades when people are asked whether they’re willing to pay $4 for a gallon of gasoline to fight climate change.
The younger members of the Democratic Party are quite certain that America is ready for a big change, but they tend to be parochial in their views, not appreciating the amount of voting power that the Trump advocates possess. I myself would prefer such a dramatic change, but I have serious doubts that there’s enough voting oomph to make such changes happen. Even if we were to elect Mr. Sanders to the White House, there might still be enough Republicans in the Senate to obstruct any progress.
Two subsidiary questions:
- Are Republicans truly willing to compromise? Mr. Obama learned the hard way that the Republicans would never compromise on anything; that’s why he had to resort to Executive Orders to get anything done. Even his nominee for the Supreme Court, Mr. Garland, a moderate by any measure, was stonewalled by the Senate. There’s no reason to believe that Republicans will have an epiphany and work with Mr. Biden.
- For the long term, Mr. Biden is right. Sure, we’re likely to enjoy a Blue Tsunami in 2020, and have strong enough majorities in Congress to get a lot of things done. But what happens in 2022, when the blue lead will fade? Even in the best of circumstances, in which the Democrats retain control of the government for, say, eight years, the time will come when the Republicans are back in power. Won’t they simply reverse all the progress we’ve made? Mr. Biden’s strategy ensures that the compromises he hammers out will have staying power. Do we really want to descend into a seesaw political environment?