Biden’s bipartisan fantasy will collapse.
The question is, how will he adapt when it does?
Joe Biden continues to cling to the deluded hope that the GOP will come around. That congress isn’t broken, that the country isn’t hopelessly polarised, and that there really is such a thing as good faith negotiation with modern day Republicans. Biden thinks he can get stuff done, and further his administration’s priorities best, through bipartisan cooperation and deal-making, offending no one in the process. This is deluded, and will fall apart quicker than Biden would ever anticipate upon contact with reality.
The question isn’t if Biden’s outdated and naïve approach will work, it’s very much how will Biden adapt (or not) when it falls to pieces. Upon contact with obstructionism, bad faith demagoguery, and relentless attack from Republicans that a President Biden considered his friends, he has two options.
The first, and most likely option is as follows. Biden clings to the lies he’s told himself, and proceeds to embrace toxic bargains, something we saw plenty in the Obama administration, where Biden was admonished for giving away TOO MUCH to the Republicans. That same guy is now the de-facto leader of the Democratic party. So we could see huge immigration planks, tax cuts, oil deals, all handed to the GOP, the Democratic platform sold out and given a way, and something resembling a moderate Republican administration more than anything else.
The second option, the one we hope against hope for, is the one where Biden adapts, after 40 years in public service, and, egged on by the younger, energised elements of his party, governs as a Democratic President should, and Republican Presidents always have. In short, he fights tooth and nail to trample the opposition, and further his base’s political priorities. This doesn’t need to be nasty and hostile like the Trump-era, it’s just a President delivering what his base wants, and locking in 2022 and 2024 coalition of energised voters. Biden can both heal in tone, and deliver in action.
The question of which path Biden takes will define his legacy, and the future prospects of his party.