Questions? +1 (202) 335-3939 Login
Trusted News Since 1995
A service for political professionals · Thursday, February 29, 2024 · 692,261,155 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

A Democratic Sweep Would Finally Redeem Obama's Promise of Hope and Change. Even Bigger Change

October 5, 2020

By Joe Rothstein

Before Covid-19 became a serial killer, before quarantines created a recession, resulting in tens of millions of lost jobs and incalculable financial hardship, before George Floyd was murdered, sparking nationwide outrage, before President Trump began his campaign to destroy confidence in the election, before any of the other monumental events of the past six months (yes, it’s only been six months!) a dozen Democrats competed for the party’s nomination for president.

And during the debates that highlighted the Democratic primary competition, most candidates proposed significant economic and social change to improve the lives and opportunities for the 90% of Americans who have been on the losing end of government policies for the past 40 years.

Well, those past debates may seem like long-ago history, but they are likely to preview the next era of America’s future.

There could be more October surprises, of course. But at this moment it appears that three months from now, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States to head a government in which Democrats control both the U.S. House and Senate.

Twelve years ago, Barrack Obama was sworn in under similar circumstances, with Democratic majorities in both houses and confronting a huge economic disaster, the legacy of the prior Republican administration. At the time, Obama assumed that the Republican congressional minorities would respect the will of the voters and find common ground with him to restore the economy and attack longstanding unmet national needs.

Joe Biden is not likely to make that same mistake. And neither is the new Democratic Congress.

We already know what a Democratic House looks like. Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the House has sent hundreds of important bills to the Senate for approval, dealing with most top-level issues facing the country. Nearly all have died ignominious deaths on Mitch McConnell’s desk. That’s not likely to happen in a Chuck Schumer-led Senate, not with Bernie Sanders in line to be both chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and the Subcommittee on Health, Retirement and Security; Sherrod Brown the designated new chairman of Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Ron Wyden heading up Finance, and Elizabeth Warren chairing the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection.

The composition of a new Democratic Senate would be significantly more activist than the Harry Reid-led Senate of 2008-2009. The intervening years have been so lacking in progress that the needs are far greater and the solutions far more obvious. Also, the stonewalling of congressional Republicans has been an unmistakable object lesson for Democrats. Negotiations do not work if one party has no interest in compromise and whose stated goal is to see that you fail. Lessons learned.

In fact, most observers believe the real negotiations will be between a progressive Democratic Congress and a politically moderate Democratic President. That may be the case, but the result will hardly be gridlock. Just check out Biden’s program on his web site and listen to his campaign speeches. Here’s a sampling of what Biden proposes:

--Health Care: Everyone who can’t buy private health insurance, or find it too expensive, will be able to buy government health insurance, and at rates considerably lower than under the Affordable Care Act.
--Environment: The U.S. will do what it should have done 30 years ago, go all-out for a carbon-free environment and become a world leader in combating climate change.
--Jobs: Between millions of jobs his environmental program will create and the extensive “buy and build American” plan he’s outlined, the U.S. should accelerate out of the recession, and with living wage jobs. And unlike 2009, the Democrats will focus on immediate job creation.
--Education: Tuition-free two years of community college; halving existing student debt; government-paid tuition for students from families making less than $125,000 a year. These are just the highlights.
--Child care: Affordable, universal pre-school; construction of safe child care facilities; reasonable pay and benefits for child care givers.
--Immigration: Passage of the bi-partisan immigration bill the Senate approved in 2013, but which the Republican House failed to consider.
--Paying for all this: The ultrarich would pay nearly $4 trillion more in taxes over the next 10 years through a combination of tax increases starting with those making $400,000 a year, and shutting down specific loopholes in the tax laws Biden lists on his web site.

These are just some of the most likely course corrections we can expect from a Biden White House and a Democratic-majority Congress. There are many others, of course. Such as competent people in key appointed jobs, a Justice Department that takes justice seriously, civil discourse rather than rants, honesty replacing corruption.

Donald Trump has so consumed the news cycles that the sea change promise of a Biden presidency hardly has been addressed. Biden didn’t even have a chance to do it for himself in the first debate. But the impact on the nation of a Democratic sweep would be profound.

Let that cut through the gloom and doom of these last few campaign weeks and inspire everyone to give more and work harder to make it happen.

(Joe Rothstein can be contacted at Rothstein’s is an author whose award-winning political thrillers, “The Latina President” and “The Salvation Project” are available from all on-line political book sellers and most independent book stores).

Joe Rothstein is a political strategist and media producer who worked in more than 200 campaigns for political office and political causes. He also has served as editor of the Anchorage Daily News and as an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. He has a master's degree in journalism from UCLA. Mr. Rothstein is the author of award-winning political thrillers, The Latina President and the Conspiracy to Destroy Her, The Salvation Project, and The Moment of Menace. For more information, please visit his website at