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With the support of the left, Biden can deliver progressive gains

23 10 17

Days after the 2020 presidential race was finally called for Joe Biden, there is still cause for progressive Americans who voted against Trump and Trumpism to be concerned.

Support for Trump has increased in real terms – from nearly 63 million votes in 2016 to well over 73 million this year. Trump’s refusal to concede to his Democratic rival and his attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the election results with false allegations of voter fraud are increasing anxiety among those eager to see the demagogue leave the White House. Moreover, post-election tensions are emerging between progressive and centrist factions of the Democratic Party who had not long ago joined forces to run a disciplined and unifying electoral campaign.

Centrists such as James Clyburn and Abigail Spanberger are holding the progressive wing of the party responsible for what they view as Democratic underperformance in the election, and casting doubt on the viability of running on a progressive platform in the two Senate runoffs in Georgia in January – which might end Republican control of the Senate.

Prominent left-wing intellectuals, meanwhile, are warning the Biden-Harris victory could end up being just a progressive “mirage”.

In the immediate aftermath of the election, Judith Butler issued a powerful rebuttal of Trump and Trumpism but also distanced herself from the centrism of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Naomi Klein also voiced her pessimism about the progressive prospects of this ticket. In a recent opinion piece, she criticised the Democratic Party’s inability to gain widespread popular support, and echoing Butler, stressed that “a great many people did not vote for Joe Biden, they voted against Trump”.

Is the left’s lukewarm reception of the Biden-Harris victory justified? Do we really have reason to be sceptical of the progressive prospects of the incoming Democratic administration?

As the vote count reaches the final stages, Biden’s win is looking much more decisive than it did in the early post-election days. He is now leading with nearly six million votes nationally and has........

© Al Jazeera

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