Four years ago, like the majority of people, I was horror struck by the election of Donald Trump. But I was not surprised. I had recognized the strong anti-establishment fervor in the country and realized that, in spite of her eminent qualifications, Hillary Clinton was the wrong choice for the moment. In large part, the dissatisfaction was the Democrats' failure to successfully deliver on many of the needs of ordinary Americans. There were many reasons for this.
Barack Obama was extremely cautious as President. I believe he recognized the historic nature of the first Black presidency and wanted to make sure his administration was free of scandal and avoidable failures. But this resulted in choosing safer, less risky alternatives when choosing among options. For all the Republicans tried to find even a whiff of scandal in his administration, the greatest problem they ever found was that he wore a tan suit one time.
Obama expended a huge amount of his political capital trying to reach out to Republicans. He genuinely believed he could be a transformative figure in American politics and tried to bridge the divide between Democrats and Republicans. They ruthlessly exploited his overtures and unified against him to minimize his accomplishments. But he wasted a lot of time and made a lot of concessions and got nothing in return.
There was a point where a lot of people were disappointed with Obama's lack of accomplishments and some joked, "Where are my rainbows and unicorns?" But this was always projection with Obama. He was always a center-right technocrat. He was never a populist or leftist. We got Obamacare which, for all its flaws, was a huge accomplishment and which the Republicans have spent 10 years fruitlessly trying to overturn. But we also got a huge increase in the drone wars and deportations. The post recession stimulus was nowhere near large enough and in his second term, he was paralyzed by Congress and limited to what he could accomplish by executive order. All of which could be quickly undone when Trump took over.
Now that the long national nightmare of Trump is over, I'm looking at Biden and trying to make sense of what he's likely to do. On the one hand, he's also presenting himself as the unity candidate, seeking to unify both parties. But, at the same time, he has several things Obama did not. For one thing, he has 36 years of experience in the Senate. This is undoubtedly going to give him a leg up. He's also been inside the White House before, which will help him hit the ground running. Finally — to be blunt — he's white. As we've all learned, this might make a significant difference — especially with the racist Republican scumbags he has to work with.
- Steven D. Brewer's blog
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