U.S. President Biden attends the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the U.S. Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in New London, Connecticut, U.S., May 19, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Biden Breaks His Promises

Black people have nothing to show for a Biden presidency despite turning out in droves to put him in office.

Joe Biden has yet to make good on any campaign promise he made to voters. The $2,000 stimulus became just $1,400. There is no minimum wage increase. He promised a public option for the Affordable Care Act but now says that isn’t going to happen. He is cutting back on his infrastructure   initiative, the American Jobs Plan, from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion in order to placate Republicans and right wing Democrats. Biden said he supported a paltry $10,000 in student loan relief  only to back away from that too.

So far his only positive policies are in regard to temporary tax benefits for families with children and additional unemployment payments. But that help is in danger as 22 states have said they will no longer accept this federal money. In typical fashion, Biden says his hands are tied and there is nothing he can do to help millions of desperate people. Apparently the federal government can’t figure out how to write checks anymore.

Biden supporters advocated the need for harm reduction in the campaign against Donald Trump. They knew that Biden was always on the right wing of the putative left party and made their case by raising the specter of another Trump term. But no one was honest about the true nature of the political system in the U.S. The sad fact is that dependence upon either wing of the duopoly is a losing proposition. 

The absence of a strong and well organized movement means that harm reduction is always a fantasy. The Democratic Party establishment chose Biden to be the nominee and didn’t get the pushback that was needed against their backroom deal making. Unscrupulous Black operatives derided anything other than obedience to their bosses. We were told to go along and be quiet and that any other response meant the return of Trump. The lack of demands set us up for failure, propaganda about cutting poverty, and phony progressives taking a dive instead of standing up for the people. Black people have nothing to show for a Biden presidency despite turning out in droves to put him in office.

The moment is ripe to acknowledge that this system is a complete sham and exists only to help the 1% do as much as they can to oppress the 99%. We will live with a cycle of Republicans and Democrats who use different methods but always end up working against our needs.  

Black politics will have to be recreated by people acting independently from the class of political misleaders. If not, we face a cycle of Democrats losing after they fail to make good on their promises, who are then followed by Republicans who sneak into office using voter suppression tactics which work when there is a lack of enthusiasm for the do nothing Democrats. It is time to get away from this vicious cycle.

This is not the moment for timidity. The faux progressives have to be called out as much as the Democrats most conservative members. They work together after all, each one willingly going along with their role which allows all of them to fool the rank and file into thinking that one side is good while the other is bad. If the Republicans are seen as the only enemy then we have already lost. They all must be seen as our adversaries whom we must oppose strongly and publicly. 

This obvious fact is not lost on Nancy Pelosi or the rest of the leadership. They keep the Capitol building off limits and use the Trump supporters’ January 6 riot as their excuse. What they really fear is that the left may learn a lesson about bringing their demands directly to Washington. The House of Representatives recently approved $1.9 billion for the Capitol police  force, an unnecessary sum of money that will be used to keep out the left and not Trump dead enders.

If history is any guide, the Democrats will lose their razor thin margins in the 2022 midterm elections. Should that be the case, Biden’s obfuscations will be the cause. The Trump trauma will have diminished and millions of people who made great efforts to vote for Biden will instead ask what he has done for them lately.

Regardless of the outcome, the tired notion of harm reduction must be thrown into the trash can of history along with the democratic party. No one should be shocked when the only promises kept are those made to the donor class. Biden’s only truthful statement was saying that nothing would fundamentally change.

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Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.