CRONIN & LOEVY | So far, Biden has been low key | Notice
In his speech to both houses of Congress at the end of April, President Joe Biden made it clear that he wanted to become chief aggregator.
He called on Americans – including Republicans – to join him in implementing a long list of domestic and international improvements. On the list were such popular programs as equal pay for women, preschool for three and four year olds, two free years at a community college, expanded help to pay for child care and advocacy. free trade against Chinese incursions into the Pacific Ocean. Region.
Consider the theory of aggregation and disaggregation. This theory describes the traditional roles played by American institutions such as the President, Congress, political parties, and the news media.
The presidency has generally been described as a coming together – that is, bringing together people and organizations to find common ground and make effective political decisions. Political parties, which are striving to bring party members together and unify them to win the election, have joined the presidency to rally their support.
One of the things that made the Trump presidency different and disturbing to many voters was that it was disaggregating in nature when we generally expect aggregation. Trump’s many personal attacks and harsh political preferences have created rifts between various groups in American society rather than bringing them closer together.
Trump has even launched such attacks against members of his own Republican Party, such as George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and US Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. This made Trump a disaggregator within his own political party as well as the nation.
Under this aggregation-disaggregation theory, the US Congress is seen as disaggregating, but this is understandable. Senators and members of the House of Representatives are elected from various parts of the country, and it is a political reality that opinions differ from one section of the country to another. Under normal circumstances, we call on the President to use his aggregating powers to push through legislation in a normally disaggregated Congress.
The aggregation-disaggregation theory also qualifies the media as disaggregation. Many working politicians see the news media as promoters of the struggle. Their “Breaking News” philosophy is often to highlight partisan conflicts and divisions. Negative developments and political “brawls” attract disproportionate attention.
However, disaggregation is most desirable in the case of news media. Their job is to ensure that a wide range of conflicting ideas and opinions are presented to the American public for consideration.
The theory is easy to summarize: the president and political parties – Aggregation. Congress and News Media – Disaggregation.
Keep in mind that many Americans have not blamed Donald Trump for his ways of falling apart as president and leader of a political party. He was popular with the right wing and nativist Republican Party and came close to being reelected. If he had paid a little more attention to the nation’s overall support and his political party, Trump could still be in the White House.
President Joe Biden has had a total of first 100 days in office with peaceful and unifying attempts such as his recent speech. Still, he faces a dilemma as his presidency progresses. He is under pressure from the left side of the Democratic Party to take advantage of his status as the new president and move forward on his own with a major spending program on social reforms. Medicare-For-All, college loan debt cancellation, and a more radical Green New Deal come to mind.
Such a swerve to the left will be viewed by many as disaggregated.
It is in Biden’s and the country’s best interests that his administration does as much aggregation as possible. He enjoyed exceptionally strong support from Democrats and reasonable support from independent voters.
There are at least a few Republicans who will support Biden on infrastructure, voting rights, police reform, immigration reform, and even some aspects of a tax hike. But most Republicans won’t want Biden to succeed. Biden and his supporters will need to defend bipartisanship by staying close to the center rather than straying too far to the left. This will be President Biden’s biggest challenge and balance in the months to come.
We join others who have enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of presidential politics over the past three months or so. President Biden has done everything possible to keep the voice of his administration and other voices low and to minimize fractional and divisive statements. For those who spend their time closely monitoring US politics, this has been boring and a little remedial.
Biden’s speech to Congress was refreshingly clear. The expectations for him as a public speaker are not high. Still, he seemed to find his inner voice, as well as a better speechwriter.
President Donald Trump was loud. He was an activist celebrity who dominated the daily news, mainly with his frequent attacks on his many opponents on social networks. Trump challenged widely accepted domestic policies, such as the strong unqualified support of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), global collaboration on climate change, and globalized international trade. It added to a disturbing and repetitive account of America First.
Biden accepted Trump’s move in Afghanistan and adopted some of his fear-mongering about China. Biden also supported some of Trump’s “made in America” themes. Yet Biden primarily restored internationalist visions of the nation.
Biden has been comparatively underrated since starting his campaign for the presidency. He goes to great lengths and at least partially succeeds in presenting himself as a moderate.
Once Biden locked down the Democratic nomination, he offered himself as an experienced, straightforward, and reliable alternative to Donald Trump, and not much more. But Biden’s means of regrouping led him to be elected president, and they could serve him well in the months to come.
Tom Cronin and Bob Loevy were longtime political science professors at Colorado College who wrote regularly on national and Colorado politics.