In a twist that months of 2020 campaign coverage did not anticipate, Joe Biden has emerged as the progressive national leader Bernie Sanders always hoped he himself could become. Six months ago, heck, even six weeks ago, that statement might have triggered disbelief or even derisive laughter. Biden? Joe Biden? D.C. establishment guy? A progressive?
But with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Biden’s first major piece of legislation, he is proving that not only is he an effective champion for America’s disenfranchised and most vulnerable, but that he has something that has long eluded the most progressive voices in the Democratic Party—the ability to translate big ideas into action.
He is president; they are not. He has the support of the entire party; they do not. And he has learned the lessons of his nearly 50 years in Washington in ways that make him more effective than others who aspire to be progressive champions.