Democrats Begin to Splinter as Urban Violence Soars
Author: Greg Valliere
April 19, 2021
IT GETS MORE DIFFICULT for Joe Biden, who was repudiated by his own party on immigration last week, and now faces anger from the left on everything from infrastructure to gun control.
A MOOD OF TENSION GRIPS WASHINGTON and many other cities, bracing for violent protests if the George Floyd verdict is innocent or a hung jury. Storefronts were boarded up in this city over the weekend.
BIDEN IS UNDER TREMENDOUS PRESSURE to accept some curbs on police power, which the party’s left is demanding. But Biden realizes that he could give the Republicans an issue in 2022. He also will have to fight for background checks and other gun curbs in the wake of mass shootings throughout the country.
BUT BIDEN CAN’T SATISFY THE PROGRESSIVES, who forced the president to expand immigration goals (another issue the GOP will exploit in 2022). The left will loudly push to pack the Supreme Court, kill filibuster rules, grant financial reparations for slavery, and make the District of Columbia a state. Biden has limited political capital — and those issues, unlikely to pass, aren’t part of his plan.
GRAB WHAT YOU CAN GET, moderate Democrats told us this weekend. They know that an infrastructure bill can pass, spending nearly $2 trillion on highways, bridges, broadband, water infrastructure, etc. Biden could claim, by summer, two huge victories — the Covid bill and an infrastructure package.
BUT THERE’S LITTLE SUPPORT for a major tax hike, or a bill to boost the safety net, both of which face a long, uphill slog.
EVENTS OFTEN OVERWHELM the best of plans, and that’s a threat to the Biden agenda, which could be disrupted this spring on two fronts: First, the surging economy and the rapidly tightening labor market, which have lessened any sense of urgency to spend more money on stimulus; second, the threat of more urban violence.
THERE’S LITTLE MARGIN FOR ERROR as Biden seeks to push his agenda through the Senate and House, both of which are virtually tied. Democrats may balk at Biden bills unless their demands are met (restoring state and local tax breaks is a prime example).
BIDEN ENJOYS GOOD POLLING NUMBERS, and the public strongly backs his $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, which passed last month. But new issues are emerging; the country is about to confront guns and the police, and that’s not what Biden was planning to address this spring.
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