Comment: Joe Biden has grim prospects for the new year

Joe Biden

It will be lonely for the US President.

(Foto: imago images/UPI Photo)

Joe Biden was let down by his party when he needed it most. A single Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, canceled negotiations on the “Build Back Better” trillion package at the end of the year.

In the US Senate, the powerful Congress Chamber, the majority of Democrats are so scarce that the US President cannot afford to deviate. Without Manchin’s approval, “Build Back Better” has no chance. Now Biden is as good as incapacitated.

It is easy to blame Manchin for the misery alone, and parts of the Democratic Party are doing just that. The temporary failure of reform is only one symptom of the dysfunctional politics in Washington, which reflects polarization across the country.

In truth, Biden never had a real majority in Congress, the Democratic harmony only lasted until the election campaign against Donald Trump was over. Biden can hardly count on the support of the Republicans anyway. The few Republican Congressmen who voted for infrastructure reform received death threats from their supporters. Nobody risks re-election for a bit of consensus on Capitol Hill – that is the sad reality of US politics.

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In the end, both sides were just able to pull themselves together when it came to averting a national bankruptcy or a shutdown. But major reforms that are long overdue – whether on immigration, gun law or the competition against China – are falling by the wayside.

Too left for one side, too right for the other

With “Build Back Better”, Biden wanted to show his followers and the world that the US has learned from the pandemic that it can invest in a sustainable, fair and future-oriented manner. It will probably not come to that any more.

From Manchin’s point of view, the rebellion against the package is understandable, for him there is almost nothing to gain: Trump won in Manchin’s homeland of West Virginia by almost 40 percent, the senator is a Democrat in a republican state.

Now the 74-year-old is getting offers to change parties, which would be a huge triumph for the Republicans. But basically he’s too right for the Democrats and too left for the Republicans. His person stands for a political center that is dissolving. Both American parties have not yet found an answer as to how they can regain larger, resilient majorities. That is the real problem in America. Not a lone fighter’s no.

More: Joe Biden wants to run again in 2024 – but many things speak against it

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