During the primaries, Biden took A LOT of flack for statements about how he would work with Republicans as president.
Many people were outraged. Is Biden so out of touch that he really thinks that they will work with him? Does he not really understand what has happened to the Republican party?
That certainly seems like a reasonable interpretation of what Biden thought *except* that it doesn’t fit with what we know. In fact, former White House staffers report that Biden was the voice of reason (and pessimism) on getting Republican votes for anything important during the Obama administration. Other people would be counting possible Republican votes for things like ACA and the Recovery Act and BIDEN was the one that pointed out, even back then, that they should drop the “happy talk” of having Republicans cross over and help them pass important legislation. It simply wasn’t going to happen.
So what gives? If Biden knew exactly what the Republican party is about **even back then**, why go forward with this kind of talk during the primaries?
Why? Because Biden is smart. He knew very well that that there was a core group of never-trump republicans who hated trump as much as we do and felt like he was ruining their party. Biden knew that this group has a noble (if incorrect) idea about what the Republican party used to be. Biden wasn’t talking to the Republicans in congress when he said he knows they would work with him. When he said he will be able to work with "at least some" Republicans if he's elected president” he was talking to the never-trumpers. He was letting them know that he saw them and that if they shared his views (for example, on limiting presidential power and corruption) he would work with them. He gave them licence to come to his side and help us (without actually promising them anything specific).
And they are. The Lincoln Project (just one of those groups) is one of our best allies. Not just for getting Trump out, but for getting Biden in.
Biden knew that one good path to the White House is through the small but powerful part of the Republican party that hates Trump. He knows that having groups like the Lincoln Project on his side is very helpful. So he was strategic in how he talked about Republicans. He was talking directly to those few people who hate Trump within their party and letting them know that he saw THEM.
How do I know this? Well for one thing I know that Joe Biden is not naive about the Republican party. HIstory tells us that. Biden knows exactly who he is dealing with.
Also, if Biden wanted to court Republicans because he is a closet republican (like some people argued) then he would have done that AFTER the primary. He would have wooed the left before the primary (like every other democratic candidate for president ever) and then moved right after he secured the nod to get the people in the mushy middle (like every other democratic candidate for president ever). But he didn’t. Instead he has done THE OPPOSITE. He spoke to Republicans while securing the nomination and since then his policies have moved further and further left.
Joe Biden isn’t a closet republican and he isn’t naive about who the republicans are.
Biden knows how to get things done. Biden knows that progressive policies are what we actually need to govern and he knows that never-Trumpers are who we need to get there. He played this very well.
And it worked.
Because Joe Biden is not only a good, decent man who believes in our values, he is a smart one who knows how to get things done.
Joe Biden will be a great president.
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This is day 9 in my series 100 Days of Loving Joe Biden
Did you miss any of the 100 days? Here they are:
Day 1: Biden’s Tax Plan
Day 2: Gay Marriage
Day 3: Biden’s FDR Sized presidency
Day 4: Biden is a mensch
Day 5: Biden has a Covid-19 plan
Day 6: Biden ran the Obama economic recovery
Day 7: Biden’s Housing Plan
Day 8: Biden knows love and commitment