President Joe Biden has inherited a tense, fractured, and broken America. Issues are highly politicized, polarization is at an all-time high, and his own party is struggling with growing pains as it tries to reconcile its identity being wedged between progressive ideals and moderate ones. During his campaign, it seemed as though he couldn’t quite catch a grasp on whether he wanted to be a progressive candidate or a moderate candidate. Because of that, he decided which one to be: both.
Though frustrating to some, President Biden has stuck to what made him a popular candidate in the first place while embracing the newer ideals of the progressive movement that is unfolding within the Democratic party. The only issue is this: how long can he cater to both sides before they want him to give them more? How long can he balance this metaphorical tightrope?
The progressives and more moderate Democrats often find themselves agreeing on the same principles when it comes to issues that affect the American people, but never the action plan for it. One of these issues is climate change. When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey introduced the Green New Deal (an all-encompassing climate change plan) in 2019, it was met with applause from their supporters, dismissal from their critics, and skepticism from the public. The Green New Deal focused on creating greener jobs, greener infrastructure, and initiating a complete overhaul of unsustainable infrastructure and transportation practices. Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the plan by insinuating that it was a “dream,” while then-candidate Joe Biden attempted to distance himself from it during debates with Former President Donald Trump. This signaled a divide within the Democratic party that was becoming more pronounced with each passing day.
When President Biden’s climate plan was released, it was eerily resembling the Green New Deal. It focused on greener infrastructure, green jobs, and greener transportation. Additionally, it also focused on funding training for people who could get into the “green” industry of work, along with funding schools to rebuild with more sustainable materials. President Biden’s plan is a comprehensive climate change plan…only it isn’t called a climate change plan. President Biden has made this into an infrastructure plan with climate change initiatives sewn into the threading of it. President Biden is aware of this divide in his party. Because of this, he knows that he can’t pick one side over the other and “throw in the towel.” Instead, President Biden is continuing to play both fields, appease both factions as much as he can, and continue walking the tightrope that he’s on when it comes to appeasing both sides of his party. While others might criticize him for continuing to walk this tightrope, he seems to be okay with staying on it a bit longer. All we can do is see how well he can continue to balance on it.