Progressives, give him a chance


Evan Vucci

President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks about efforts to combat COVID-19, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Nick Sack, World News Editor

Like 81,268,923 other people, I was thrilled to see Joe Biden win the election and be sworn in as president. The thought of a Democrat running the nation after four years of disastrous policies, divisive rhetoric and the denial of science eased my mind. 

As a progressive myself, I was sad to see Biden win the Democratic primary, but nonetheless I have supported him all the way through his inauguration. Though I would have preferred a different candidate, I am ecstatic that a Democrat beat President Donald Trump.

On social media, progressives critique every aspect of the Biden administration, from the minimum wage to deportations to student debt. I understand their position, and I hope that Biden will enact the policies that I and so many other progressives support. 

However, progressives can be aggressive in their remarks. I want the same policies, but the tone of some progressives towards Biden frustrates me. 

I’m not saying that we should follow Biden blindly like a cult, and I encourage people to find faults in the current administration to petition for better policies. For example, I want Biden to find a better solution to the geopolitical issues in Syria. I don’t think another airstrike is going to change their minds after the last 87. But we’re only 41 days in, and the circumstances aren’t allowing these policies to pass with ease. 

Additionally, the minimum wage increase was originally attached to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the Senate. Democrats are trying to pass this bill through a process known as budget reconciliation, which can happen only twice a year and requires 51 yea votes, as opposed to the usual 60 votes needed to break a filibuster. 

Because all the Democrats were on board with it, and Vice President Kamala Harris could have broken the tie, the minimum wage increase would have passed. Instead, the Senate parliamentarian, a nonpartisan figure, ruled that the minimum wage increase could not be attached to a bill in the budget reconciliation process. 

Many progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders are upset with the ruling and have urged Harris to overrule the parliamentarian. This unfortunately requires 60 votes to pass, and there’s not a chance in the world that will happen. 

Yet progressives on social media will tweet over and over again that “Biden isn’t doing all he can to get a $15 minimum wage,” or “Biden isn’t fulfilling his campaign promises,” or even “Biden is showing his true priorities by retreating on a minimum wage increase.” 

If the parliamentarian wasn’t enough, Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin stands in the way of a minimum wage increase as well. “No, I’m not [supportive of the minimum wage increase]. I’m supportive of basically having something that’s responsible and reasonable,” Manchin told The Hill, when asked how he planned to vote on the minimum wage. 

This is just one example of roadblocks to Biden’s progressive agenda. I believe that many progressives simply aren’t giving him the chance to prove that he will fulfill his promises. 

In addition, while I hesitate to say this, my fellow progressives are being ungrateful for the victories we have achieved. For example, Biden has reversed Trump’s family separation policies, re-entered the Paris Climate Accords, reversed the transgender military ban and rejoined the World Health Organization. The U.S. is also on track to vaccinate 50 million people in the first 100 days. 

Over the past four years, I’ve woken up to horrifying statements, awful policies and harmful rhetoric. Now, I’m waking up to life-changing policies and reversals of Trump administration disasters. While I concede that the changes are happening slowly, I applaud the Biden administration for their work so far, and I encourage my fellow progressives to do the same.