Biden is freezing out the left.
His recent appointments and manoeuvrings are a statement of values; the pushback starts now.
Remember when we were hearing about a new FDR and “the most progressive administration in history”? Well, how’d that turn out?
It’s been published in Politico that Democrats privately have effectively ruled out Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for a Biden cabinet. The argument there is that it isn’t about the left, it’s just to keep a hold on the Senate. One thing, Senator Chris Coons and other moderates ARE being looked at for roles, so that just doesn’t hold up.
And yes, a Republican senate (and indeed some moderate Democrats) would move heaven and Earth to obstruct the appointments of people like Sanders and Warren who oppose the damaging status quo and take on the moneyed interests; but there are plenty of procedural tricks (previously deployed by the Trump administration) that would let Biden get his way if he really wanted them; and of course he doesn’t.
My view has been, that it is almost inconceivable the Democrats would appoint a progressive as Secretary Of State, and that offices like Labor and the Treasury are a good place to make concentrated demands for. Progressive organising groups like Justice Democrats are piling on the pressure and releasing comprehensive, multi-faceted, and fabulous lists of potential candidates for each position, but I believe those two are key. That, and a new climate position.
Even if Elizabeth Warren (eminently qualified) to head the Treasury is too much for moderates to bare, placing someone like Senator Sanders as Labor Secretary would in of itself be a strong statement of values from President-Elect Biden. A small concession of ground to the junior partners in the governing coalition.
The radical right is currently celebrating the likes of Sanders and Warren being frozen out of contention for two reasons: 1. It means that their view of the world won’t be challenged whatsoever and Biden will capitulate to the right, and 2. It locks in the grievances that fuelled their rise, and as was said “nothing will fundamentally change”, and if that includes people’s living standards and jobs, Democrats are in trouble going forward, because they won’t bother leaving the house and voting next time.
The left must concentrate demands on offices like a climate position, like the Treasury, like Labor. We need one of our own around the table, and we make up enough of the House to worry Pelosi-Biden if they don’t give some ground. We have to keep organising, this is just the beginning.