How a Democratic sweep on Nov. 3 could restore Congress’s power

Still, in a month’s time, if the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden, who spent 36 years in the Senate, will win the presidential election. His ascent to power could offer Congress a way out of its downward spiral.

Biden, should he defeat Donald Trump, will face a choice of three paths. He can follow the lead of Barack Obama and Trump in seeking to implement his agenda by executive action, further expanding presidential power. He can join progressives who see the only route to tackle the country’s biggest problems, on climate change, health care, immigration and racial justice, through ending the Senate filibuster, and offer Congress a chance at restoration. Or he can attempt to work across the aisle as he once did as a senator, the most fraught of the three.

The middle option, of course, depends on Democrats winning both the presidency, and the Senate, while retaining House control. In an era when bipartisan cooperation on major legislation is all but dead, it may be the only way to act on the issues the Democratic base believes a President Biden must address.

But in so doing, Biden may well shift the balance of power in Washington, away from the executive, where it now resides, back to Congress.