OPINION

Biden the risk-taker and Trump

biden-the-risk-taker-and-trump

There are a lot of interesting things going on in the United States right now. President Joe Biden has identified the causes that gave rise to the Trump phenomenon and is trying to root them out. He is doing everything in his power to win over voters who traditionally voted Democrat but were disillusioned by a sense of social stagnancy and political neglect. He is a politician who knows how to accomplish this, the kind of man the average American “could have a beer with.”

Biden is pushing the envelope, by American standards. His proposals for reaping more in taxes and the suspension of the Covid vaccine patents demonstrate his determination to take risks. Some believe that he has learned from the mistakes of Barack Obama, who took few risks apart from in the area of social security. Others believe that his age is a liberating factor, making him a president who cares more about his legacy than he does about his chances of re-election, even though it is not sure he would even be able to run. It is telling that Biden’s people love to compare him with Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president who took such an enormous risk after a major crisis and built an electoral alliance for the Democrats that stood the test of time.

It is interesting that much of what the White House is trying to accomplish now had been touted by Trump but never carried out. The overhaul of America’s infrastructure is one example; both administrations admit that much of the country’s infrastructure is unacceptably old. The projects outlined in the relevant legislation will give work to thousands of Americans and give the country a much-needed facelift. Trump had made similar promises but never carried them through.

The notion of strategic independence had also been adopted by Trump but did not get very far. The belief is that America needs to stop relying on other countries, and China in particular, for the production of certain basic goods and materials. Biden has elevated this issue to one of his top policies, relying on the same economic patriotism that Trump also sought to exploit. The overall approach to China bears similarities with the previous administration – though without Trump’s histrionics.

The Democratic Party had been stuck in a rut, as over-the-top political correctness alienated it culturally from a large part of the American population. Biden is trying to overcome this hurdle by providing solutions to the most vital problems faced by a working and middle class that has felt increasingly insecure for many years. Whether he will succeed is an entirely different matter.

American politics is a complex game where even the most well-intentioned efforts can be scuppered by powerful interests and lobbies.