As the U.S. gets ready to ring in 2022, one thing has become clear: Joe Biden hasn’t made good on the lion’s share of his promises to the country. Despite the Democrats reigning over the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate, we can say that they have failed to bring America up to scratch. Disputes between the mainstream Centrist wing of the Democratic Party, the “Progressives” and more Leftist groups played a large role in their lack of success.
The Dems need 67 votes to get bills approved by the Senate. In the 100-member Senate, it’s tied right down the middle, with both Democrats and Republicans having 50 seats each. Hence, the Dems are forced to find middle ground with the Republicans. While Republicans are willing to cooperate on some issues, they differ on key obes. Trumpist Republicans are making sure to apply maximum pressure to mainstream Republicans in the House and Senate so that they can make life as difficult as possible for the Biden administration.
However, the Republicans are not Biden’s only problem. Many Democratic senators, led by Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, have the power to thwart significant promises Biden made to the country during his campaign. These senators have been branded as the “Republicans within the Democratic Party.” So much so that the Republicans have invited them to join their ranks.
In a Senate equally divided, Sinema and Manchin’s votes are worth gold to the Democrats. In situations where 50 votes are needed, the Democrats fail to unite even then. As a matter of fact, the 1.75 trillion-dollar bill titled “Build Back Better” was blocked in the Senate even though it was passed by the House of Representatives. The reason being that Manchin has declared that he will not vote for its enforcement. The aforementioned bill is pivotal for both Biden and the Party’s Progressive group. So much so that Progressive Democrats accuse Manchin of treason.
The Build Back Better bill includes social assistance and infrastructure investments, as well as expenditures necessary to combat the climate crisis. Biden had made certain commitments on this matter during the Climate Summit in Scotland’s Glasgow. Joe Manchin, who is known for his close ties to sectors that will suffer from the battle against climate change, basically killed the bill. Progressive Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing for Biden to enforce the law via presidential decree. If the U.S., which is among the world’s leading carbon emitters, fails to make good on its promises, not only will the climate crisis deepen but its already fraught relationship with the EU will have taken another hit it can’t afford.
Another pickle the Biden administration has to deal with is the fact that it failed to enact the Voting Rights Act. This legislation, which the Republicans fiercely oppose, entails the democratization of American electoral democracy. This bill’s fate will now be decided in 2022. It carries vital significance to Democrats as the November 2022 elections loom. Democrats want to alter voting rules in the Senate. However, they face Manchin and Sinema’s blockade here as well.
Selling itself as the pioneer of global liberal democracy, the U.S. doesn’t even have a healthy election mechanism in its own country. Senate Democrats represent 40 million Americans more than the Republicans do. However, this ratio does not give Democrats sufficient power in the Senate. It is not even certain that the candidate with the most votes in the U.S. is elected President. In the final hurdle, state delegates in the Electoral College decide which candidate wins. Even if the Democrats garner the majority of the votes in the most populous states, the underpopulated states that the Republicans win can tip the balance. Lobbies and the “personal interests” they represent are among the most critical shortcomings of American democracy. It is not in vain that the American author Greg Palast titled his book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.”
There is one more thing we haven’t discussed. First and foremost, the spell of the American dream has now been broken. Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci said that “No society can be dissolved and replaced by another until all forms of social relations have completely disappeared.” The United States is at the forefront of the world in terms of inequality in wealth and income distribution. Accompanied by culture wars, American society is increasingly becoming polarized and disintegrating. This situation, which led to the loss of the consent of its nationals, shows that America’s claim to global leadership is also based on puny foundations.