The unhappy truth is that anything even close to the agenda Biden ran on — let alone the agenda of the party’s left — stands no chance of enactment. Even if Democrats win the Georgia runoffs and gain a 50th Senate seat, securing all 50 Democratic Senate votes for anything will present a forbidding obstacle.

Left-wing activists have devoted so much of their strategy to a struggle to wrest control of the Democratic Party away from its centrist wing that they’ve hardly planned for a world in which Democratic centrists themselves lack the means to advance their preferred agenda. One knock-on effect of this reality is that Republicans for Biden won’t, and probably can’t, hold back his ambitions in any meaningful way.

The left would like to imagine that Democrats could move sharply to the left and mobilize a new trove of progressive votes among young people or members of the white working class who haven’t voted before or supported Trump out of a desire to strike a blow against neoliberalism. But the 2020 Bernie Sanders campaign, despite its ample funding and high name recognition, demonstrated fairly conclusively that there is no sizable latent left-wing vote. In the world we live in now, gaining majorities means expanding the Democratic coalition to the center.