In His First 100 Days, ‘Uncle Joe’ Biden Combines Progressive Goals and a Reassuring MannerHistorians in the News
tags: Sean Wilentz, presidential history, Joe Biden
Throughout the 2020 campaign, pollsters in both parties said Joe Biden was well known, but not known well: Voters knew him as a former vice president and longtime senator but had only a rough sense of what he stood for.
As his presidency nears its 100th day, the blank spots are filling in. The resulting image is one most observers did not expect based on Biden’s largely centrist, four-decade record.
“A couple of months before the election ... did I think he would be a transformational president? I would have laughed at that idea,” said Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher.
“I would have been mistaken.”
Biden has governed in these opening months as a progressive — significantly to the left of his three Democratic predecessors on the issue of government’s role in society. With proposals such as expanded aid to families to cut child poverty nearly in half, a sharp cut in U.S. emissions of gases that warm the climate, and a major increase in spending on domestic programs, he’s gone well beyond what prior Democratic administrations backed.
“Government doing something for people ... that was an idea that was disabled,” said Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. “He’s trying to bring it back.”
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