Summary of Four Ways of Looking at the Radicalism of Joe Biden

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Four Ways of Looking at the Radicalism of Joe Biden summary
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President Joe Biden’s first Congressional address in April 2021 – and his proposal of the $4 trillion American Rescue Plan – highlighted a leftward shift in his politics, which began almost from the moment he hit the presidential campaign trail. In this brief, eye-opening piece for The New York Times, political analyst Ezra Klein unpacks four main reasons for Biden’s unexpected embrace of progressivism. Though many find the change surprising, overall, Klein argues, it makes a lot of sense.

About the Author

Journalist and political analyst Ezra Klein writes for The New York Times and hosts the podcast The Ezra Klein Show.



The first reason for president Joe Biden’s shift is that Democrats now want to win over Republican voters rather than Republican legislators.

Historically, Democratic presidents have sought bipartisan support for policies, programs and budgets. Biden, too, embraced bipartisanship during his career as a senator and as vice president. But starting around 2011, Republican members of Congress became increasingly resistant to working across the aisle.

After then-Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s moved to block Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination and fast-track a conservative justice to fill Ruth Bader ...

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