It’s Up to Biden

Re “The Next Fight,” by John Nichols and Joan Walsh [Nov. 30/Dec. 7, 2020]: The Georgia runoff election is both a challenge and an opportunity for Biden. Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, and Stacey Abrams can’t do what he needs to do.

Like an off-year election, a runoff is an election without a presidential candidate on the ballot, and voter turnout is normally reduced. But at this crucial moment, motivating everybody who voted on November 3 to return and vote again in January is Biden’s responsibility. That’s because the Republicans, without Trump in the picture, will likely spread fear that an unrestrained Biden, together with a Democratic Senate, is a potential disaster. And as the Democrats can’t use an anti-Trump message in the runoff (because Trump is gone), they need substantive ideas and policies.

So it’s up to Biden. Still, let’s face a few facts. Biden ran for president before in 1988 and 2008, during which time he never won a single primary. In contrast, Bernie Sanders—less well-known, without corporate funding, and scorned by the Democratic National Committee—won 23 states in 2016.

Biden was on course to continue his losing streak in 2020 when he received the mother of all endorsements, from James Clyburn in South Carolina, and the rest was Covid history. It’s not as if the American people have been beating the drums for decades for Biden; he still needs to prove himself.

Moreover, of the top three Democrats in the House—Speaker Nancy Pelosi, majority leader Steny Hoyer, and majority whip Clyburn, who at 80 is the youngest (a few months younger than Pelosi)—none is particularly inspiring. And it’s hard to recall what passions the lackluster Senator Charles Schumer ignites.

Victor Sciamarelli

Doing the Work

 Re “Why the Left Should Ally With Small Business,” by Stacy Mitchell and Susan R. Holmberg [Nov. 30/Dec. 7, 2020]: All the Democratic bashing aside, it is important the link between small businesses and workers gets reestablished. We can also look overseas to certain countries that have even been able to organize domestic workers into unions. Progressives trying to get leadership positions on committees that address monopoly power will also be helpful. Rural broadband, PBMs [pharmacy benefit managers], and breaking up agricultural monopolies are areas ripe for bipartisan legislation and are worth pursuing. Ultimately, progressives need to do the work to make legislation that can be voted on and enacted. This is a crucial area of growth that is consistent with Democratic principles.
Michael Sleet

Correction

Fort Everywhere,” by Daniel Immerwahr [Dec. 14/21, 2020], misspelled the name of a New Mexico military base to which thousands of Navajos were forcibly moved in 1864. It was Fort Sumner, not Fort Sumter.