By Ivan Pentchoukov
President Donald Trump and conservative pundits warned for months during the 2020 campaign that behind then-candidate Joe Biden’s centrist, bipartisan façade lay a radical liberal agenda to transform the United States. Biden has proven them right in less than 100 days, earning praise from liberal observers who are drawing historical comparisons to the tenure of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, written along the outline of Biden’s proposal, dwarfs FDR’s New Deal in terms of total cost to the American taxpayer. Democrats rammed the measure through Congress without any Republican support, proving Biden was the partisan that critics had warned about.
The Democratic president’s proposed infrastructure measures—the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan—would bring the total price tag to an estimated $5.4 trillion, while ushering in a wave of welfare programs unseen since the introduction of Medicare and food stamps. The cost splits up to more than $43,000 per household and more than the combined wealth of all the billionaires in America. Democrats could enact both plans without any Republican support, by using, for the first time ever, the reconciliation process more than once in a budget year.
The fiscal scale and radical nature of the agenda, coupled with the razor-thin House and Senate majorities the Democrats are using to implement it, are exerting pressure on an American system of governance that has historically demanded a measure of bipartisanship in order to enact transformative change.
“A Senate evenly split between both parties and a bare Democratic House majority are hardly a mandate to ‘go it alone,’” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a Trump critic and one of the few Republicans seeking a bipartisan solution on infrastructure, wrote on Twitter.
Democrats argue that pushing the pandemic stimulus through without Republican support was necessary to help Americans struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic. They say that some provisions of the bill, including the expansion of Obamacare, were long overdue. Democrats predict that the child tax credit, which will amount to a monthly cash payment for most families beginning in July, could cut child poverty in half.
“The story of the first 100 days is about shots going into arms, checks going into pockets, and seeing hope on the horizon,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter on April 27.
While testing the system’s limits, Biden has thrown the weight of the presidency behind the radical transformation of the system itself. He backed the long-shot bid for D.C. statehood, which would hand the Democrats two seats in the Senate in the foreseeable future, expressed support for weakening or undoing the legislative filibuster, ordered a commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court around the time fellow Democrats introduced legislation to pack the bench, and said he would sign H.R. 1, a vast election reform bill that would, among other provisions, make mail voting universal in perpetuity.
“Mr. Biden knows his agenda is so radical, so extreme, that he cannot hope to pass it and keep it intact without first fundamentally changing the rules of the political game,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, wrote in a recent op-ed. “Consequently, he’s moving on all fronts to do just that.”
To the Democrats, the wave of change is just what the doctor ordered. Former President Bill Clinton called Biden’s performance so far “almost pitch-perfect” in word and deed.
“If we can produce positive results that cross those divides by lifting everybody, giving everybody a chance, then we have a chance to psychologically change,” Clinton told Deadline.
‘I Want to Change the Paradigm’
While ushering along a wave of social change via legislation, Biden has churned out a steady stream of paradigm-shifting executive orders and actions on matters ranging from critical race theory training for federal employees to rejoining the World Health Organization.
Some of the common themes among the five dozen executive actions during the president’s first 100 days in office were the reversals and revocations of Trump-era orders and the introduction of the quasi-Marxist “equity” ideology into virtually every aspect of government operations. “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” the title of Biden’s very first order, set the tone for the many that followed.
“I want to change the paradigm. We start to reward work, not just wealth. I want to change the paradigm,” Biden said during his first press conference.
What a president says is sometimes as consequential as what a president does. During Biden’s symbolic 100 days, this was exemplified by his comments on the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Biden spoke in favor of convicting Chauvin before the jury rendered its verdict and—after the jury decision was announced—indicted America itself as guilty of “systemic racism.”
Highs and Lows
Though his cabinet wouldn’t admit it, Biden inherited a successful vaccine development and distribution program from Trump. This meant that Biden’s campaign promise of injecting 100 million Americans with the vaccine against the CCP virus in his first 100 days was on track to being fulfilled even before he took office on Jan. 20. After eluding questions about raising the target to a more ambitious figure, Biden doubled the goal to 200 million. The administration is now on pace to triple the initial goal by April 29, his 100th day in office.
That tangible highlight is offset by the crisis on the southern border, which some experts say was triggered by Biden’s revocation of Trump-era immigration policies. Illegal aliens are crossing the border in numbers unseen in decades, forcing immigration authorities to overload shelters for housing detained minors. After weeks of avoidance, Biden finally called the situation a crisis earlier this month.
The White House has signaled that it intends to solve the crisis by investing in the countries the illegal aliens are fleeing from. Over the past two decades, the United States has spent billions in foreign aid to the nations in question.
Biden’s approval ratings have fluctuated between the high-40s and mid-50s during his first three months in office, according to Rasmussen, the only pollster conducting daily presidential approval surveys. The media may be contributing to that outcome. A recent Media Research Center study showed that evening news coverage of Biden was 59 percent positive during his first three months in office, compared to just 11 percent positive coverage during the same period in Trump’s presidency.