Managing a Divided Democratic Party is a Test for Joe Biden


first_imgAfter supporting Mr. Biden as a means of defeating Mr. Trump, younger and more progressive Democrats who have gained a foothold in Congress and among party activists are skeptical about his future administration. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, setting policy terms in a statement after Mr. Biden was declared victorious, said: “A Band-Aid approach won’t get the job done. We have a mandate for action on bold plans to meet these twin health and economic crises.” But for some on the left, the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis were reasons to push the administration further — not to back off. They cited mistakes made as Mr. Obama began his administration in 2009, when many believed the party’s progressive wing was too deferential to the new president in a moment of economic crisis.“I don’t think there will be a grace period for Biden, because the country doesn’t have time for a grace period,” said Heather McGhee, a former president of Demos, a progressive policy and research organization. “A million more people in poverty don’t have time for a grace period. A racial epidemic and the coronavirus pandemic isn’t taking a grace period. As he is declared the winner, he needs to be putting a team in place that can really change Washington.”Nina Turner, a co-chair of Mr. Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, said she expected progressives to pressure Mr. Biden’s transition team and administration from the outset. When asked how open she thought Mr. Biden would be to the left, she said, “If the rhetoric that’s being used on the campaign trail is any indication, not very open.”Still, she said, “things have an amazing way of changing once you’re in the office and you get that pressure.” It is unclear what kind of audience progressives will find with Mr. Biden and his administration. Throughout the year, his campaign sought to project unity through measures like a joint task force with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, which led a campaign to adopt some of the left wing’s policy proposals, including plans around college debt. But Mr. Biden stopped short of the biggest ideas, like eliminating the Electoral College or embracing statehood for Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.Some leading Democratic Party moderates said they supported many of the ideological goals on the left but, reflecting what has long been a divide between the two wings, urged caution, particularly because of Democratic losses in other races.“We all have to take a deep breath,” said Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, a state that Mr. Trump snatched from Democrats in 2016 but that Mr. Biden won back this year. “I know there are going to be people who are pushing for change. I’m one of those people who want Medicare for all.”She argued that Democrats needed to be careful not to push away voters whom Mr. Trump won in 2016, or else risk another, similar candidate.“I also know we can’t afford to have Donald Trump as president,” she said.But Stanley Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who advised President Bill Clinton when he successfully pushed the party to the center in the 1990s, said Mr. Biden would be able to delay divisive party fights because of the enormity of the crises he faces.“The nature of the pandemic and the economic and health crisis is so deep, he will inherit a mandate of urgency,” he said. “Unity within the party and unity within the country.” Representative Conor Lamb, a moderate from Pennsylvania who survived a difficult Republican challenge, said the results should be a wake-up call to the left.“What we heard from a lot of our constituents was that they do not like the Democratic message when it comes to police in Western Pennsylvania, and when it comes to jobs and energy,” he said. “And that we need to do a lot of work to fix that.”But after four years of pent-up frustration and energy, that may prove unlikely. By every early indication, Mr. Biden’s election has emboldened progressive energy, no matter the setbacks in the congressional races. There is an up-and-coming generation of elected Democratic officials who have been waiting in the wings, eager to take the lead in formulating a platform for the party.- Advertisement – Mr. Biden has made clear he intends for his administration’s cabinet to be diverse in race, gender and sexual orientation — but a left wing that has become disenchanted with the inherent idea of representation as progress will be looking for concessions of power.Grass-roots political groups on the left had a dual message for the president-elect: Congratulations — and here’s a list of demands. Several signaled that they expected Mr. Biden to defer to some demands of progressives, not only by selecting people from that wing of the party for key cabinet positions but also by excluding people with a Wall Street or lobbying background from the administration’s hiring process. However, Mr. Biden’s flexibility in making cabinet appointments sought by the left will be constrained if the Senate remains in Republican hands.Jamaal Bowman, a progressive New York Democrat who will be sworn into the next Congress, took the view that Mr. Biden’s victory was not an affirmation of moderate ideology, but a testament to a diverse Democratic Party that had embraced the shared goal of defeating an unpopular president. He cited the work during the general election of progressive groups and candidates who opposed Mr. Biden during the Democratic primary, including young climate organizers like the Sunrise Movement — and said they should be rewarded. “We have to move past the moderate-versus-liberal conversations and start speaking and moving together as a strong party,” Mr. Bowman said. “We have organizations like the Sunrise Movement and candidates like Jamaal Bowman who have gone out of our way to get Joe Biden elected.”Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she expected a long-term fight, particularly given the setbacks for Democrats in the congressional contests. She also cited cabinet appointments as a way to measure Mr. Biden’s ideological core.She said some people, including Mr. Emanuel, should not play a role in the party’s future. The former mayor has been floated by some in Mr. Biden’s inner circle to lead a department like housing or transportation. “Someone like Rahm Emanuel would be a pretty divisive pick,” she said, citing his record as mayor on racial justice and his opposition to teachers’ unions. “And it would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party.” Updated Nov. 9, 2020, 10:58 a.m. ETcenter_img After a fiery call among members of the House Democratic caucus, in which some argued that progressives who have entertained ideas like defunding the police or “Medicare for all” had cost the party congressional seats, some Democratic leaders pushed further away from the left wing.- Advertisement – Ever since President Trump won the White House in 2016, a shocked Democratic Party had been united behind the mission of defeating him. Four years later, with the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the divides that have long simmered among Democrats are now beginning to burst into the open, as the president-elect confronts deep generational and ideological differences among congressional lawmakers, activists and the party’s grass-roots base.The fault lines began to emerge within hours of Mr. Biden’s victory. Moderates argued that his success, particularly in industrial Midwestern states that Mr. Trump seized from the Democrats in 2016, was proof that a candidate who resisted progressive litmus tests was best positioned to win back voters who had abandoned the Democratic Party. Those tests included single-payer health care, aggressive measures to combat climate change and expanding the Supreme Court.- Advertisement – “I think that’s what people are keeping an eye out for: Is this administration going to be actively hostile and try to put in appointments that are going to just squash progressives and organizing?” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. “I don’t envy the Biden team. It’s a very delicate balance. But I think it’s really important to strike a good one. Because it sends a very, very powerful message on the intention to govern.”The fault lines crystallize the task ahead for Mr. Biden, who has long seen himself as a pragmatic consensus builder rather than a strict ideologue. In addition to the fractures within his party, Mr. Biden’s administration will also have to navigate a Republican Senate, unless Democrats wrest two seats in Georgia during closely watched runoff elections in January.If the party doesn’t win those seats, an already divided Washington looks likely to endure.Some moderate Democratic leaders urged the president-elect to head off any internal conflict by embracing policies both sides can agree on and reaching out to the left.“The first thing I would do if I were Joe Biden is I’d propose a $15-an-hour minimum wage,” said Edward G. Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “That’s something that both sides agree on. That would be the first action on behalf of President Biden to show there are significant parts of the progressive agenda that need to be acted on.”Given the two Senate runoffs taking place in Georgia — contests that will determine whether Mr. Biden will, like Mr. Obama, begin his first term with a unified Washington — Mr. Biden might be initially reluctant to embrace positions that could make it easier for Republicans in Georgia to paint Democrats as out-of-touch, radical socialists. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a leading voice of the party’s left wing, said in a phone interview that the next few weeks would set the tone for how the incoming administration will be received by liberal activists. “The progressives said we need a base candidate,” said Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama, referring to a nominee who appeals to the left wing of the party. “No we didn’t. We needed someone to get swing voters. If you campaign appropriately, you can make that a governing transformation.”Moderate Democrats said they were hopeful the urgency of the problems confronting the nation would delay the inevitable reckoning the party faces between its ideological wings. Beyond that, they said that a disappointing showing by Democrats in congressional races — the party lost seats in the House and faces a struggle for even narrow control of the Senate — would give liberal Democrats less of a platform to push Mr. Biden to the left. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Wayde van Niekerk cruises to another 400 metres gold


first_imgBy Mitch PhillipsLONDON, England (Reuters) – Wayde van Niekerk retained his world 400 metres title in dominant fashion yesterday as he stormed to victory in 43.98 seconds, but there was almost as much interest in the empty lane alongside him where Botswana’s Isaac Makwala should have been.South African van Niekerk, the Olympic and defending champion and world record holder, ran a controlled race and was even able to ease down over the final strides as he secured the first half of what he hopes will be a 400/200m double.Steven Gardiner, 21, of the Bahamas was a clear second in 44.41 and 20-year-old world junior champion Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar blasted through at the end to snatch bronze in 44.48.Makwala, third-fastest in the year this season, was scratched from the race earlier yesterday having also been withdrawn from Monday’s 200m heats after vomiting before he got on to the track.He insisted he wanted to run but IAAF officials ruled him out and refused him entry to the stadium amid a swathe of nanovirus and gastroenteritis cases that have affected about 30 athletes from a selection of countries.In his absence, van Nierkerk looked an even shorter-odds favourite and duly delivered, barely seeming out of breath when he crossed the line with his thoughts already turning to the 200m.“I’ve got a good team to help me recover and it’s back to work tomorrow (today),” he said.Long-striding Gardiner, who set a national record 43.89 in the semis, could not quite reproduce that on a cold London night but looks equipped to challenge van Niekerk in the future.Haroun, who switched nationality from Sudan to Qatar two years ago, edged past Baboloki Thebe of Botswana and Jamaica’s Nathon Allen in the final metres.Fred Kerley had scraped into the final as a fast loser but finished last as the United States failed to medal in the event for only the second time since the championships began in 1983.last_img read more

UW looks for rare road win at Purdue


first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)If there’s any place the Badgers would probably prefer not to go once a year, it would be Mackey Arena, a place Wisconsin has won just three times since it opened in 1968.At one point, UW went to West Lafayette, Ind., 29 times in 32 years and returned home with a loss in each of those 29 trips before winning in 2005.During the Bo Ryan era, Wisconsin is just 1-5 in games played in Mackey Arena. While the Badgers are better against Purdue in Madison, the Boilermakers, at 7-6, are the only team with a winning record against UW in Ryan’s eight-plus years at the helm.Still, Ryan is not one to focus on the location of the game. All the UW head coach cares about is his team playing its game, regardless of the opponent or the location.“I don’t ever think about the place,” Ryan said. “I never let that muddy anything I ever think about to prepare for a game. I let other people do that. I don’t get into that.”Considering the Badgers’ last road win over the Boilermakers came five years ago on Jan. 5, 2005, it would be hard not to think about the location of tonight’s game.None of the current players on the UW roster have experienced a victory at Mackey Arena, and none of the current Boilermakers has ever lost at home to the Badgers.It could be the elevated court or the wide sideline, but they have that in Minnesota, too. Maybe it’s the darkness of the arena, or the crowd noise. Whatever it is, the Badgers clearly have struggled to find success at Mackey.“Anytime going into their place it changes the game,” junior guard/forward Tim Jarmusz said. “Their atmosphere is a lot different than ours. That place gets loud — they have great fan support.“They can really disrupt some players.”One thing in the Badgers’ favor is the fact they’ve already beaten Purdue this season.In that win, however, junior forward Jon Leuer crashed hard to the floor and fractured a bone in his left wrist.Leuer had surgery the following week and remains out indefinitely.Though he was ineffective offensively because of his injured wrist, Leuer pulled down 10 rebounds against the Boilermakers — all on the defensive end — in the winning effort.Now, without the 6-foot-10 native of Long Lake, Minn., the Badgers will likely have a difficult time inside against forward/center JaJuan Johnson, who also stands at 6-foot-10.While UW faced similar difficulty against Ohio State and Dallas Lauderdale, tonight’s game will likely be the strongest challenge for Wisconsin during Leuer’s absence.“I think it will; it will be one of the toughest tests we face without Jon,” Jarmusz said. “They do have some good bigs who can do some good things, but I think we’ve got some guys that can make some plays and take them out of their game, too.”When the Badgers beat the Boilermakers on Jan. 9, it was their guard play that made the difference as seniors Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes had 20 and 14 points, respectively, while sophomore Jordan Taylor led the team with a career-high 23 points.Bohannon, Hughes and Taylor will need to perform as well or better this time around, especially with the Badgers’ newfound lack of size.Looking at the way Wisconsin has played in the last two weeks, the Badgers’ guard trio will need to connect on more than the 27.5 percent of 3-point attempts UW has made in the past four games.Bohannon agreed, noting that shooting 30-for-109 over the last four games and 10-of-33 in the last game against Northwestern was not getting the job done, despite going 3-1 in the same stretch.“I hope that’s not where we’re at because we’re shooting — in that last game from three — well below 33 percent,” he said. “I think we’re a much better team than that. I think our numbers show that, too.“We’ve had stretches in a game where all of us are not hitting, and then all of a sudden one person will hit and hit four or five in a row,” Bohannon continued. “It’s good that we have players that have the confidence and the grit to keep shooting the ball and know that the percentages play in our favor and we’re a good shooting team.”If you ask Taylor, he’ll tell you the Badgers do not need to change much to get a win at Purdue, something they were unable to do at Ohio State on Jan. 16.One thing he thought they did need to do, though, was avoid firing up so many threes.“Just stick to what we do,” he said. “Maybe play a little better defense. … Move the ball, be aggressive and not start settling for too many outside shots.”last_img read more