As all of you should remember, one of the many campaign promises that Joe Biden made while running for office was a return to the spirit of bipartisanship and “unity” in the country. In that fanciful land, everyone would chat politely and either come together or at least recognize that a majority of people support some given policy and agree to go along with it. Biden promised to “break the fever” among Republicans, presumably a symptom of a disease brought on by Donald Trump. But with Joe in charge, everyone would come back to the table and act in a civil fashion like adults. So how’s that been working out so far? As Amie Parnes describes it in an opinion piece at The Hill… not so well. In fact, the situation in Washington may actually be worse than it was last year and the same goes for conditions out on the streets in most places. If anything, we’re more divided than ever. So what went wrong?
“You’re going to be surprised,” he said on a call with grassroots supporters in December just weeks before taking office, going so far as to predict a Republican “epiphany.” He said GOP behavior would change without Donald Trump in office, but that it would take six to eight months to change.
But little has changed inside the Beltway as Biden approaches the nine-month mark without a major piece of bipartisan legislation signed into law. While the president secured an infrastructure deal after intense rounds of negotiations with Republicans, the bill remains in limbo in the House more than two months after it passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support.
Outside Washington, the country remains deeply divided on social and cultural issues including wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Republican “epiphany” that Biden predicted would take place after Trump left office never happened. There wasn’t even a hint of it. And that’s because Joe Biden was making the same mistake that so many other analysts and media talking heads made for the entirety of Trump’s presidency. They thought Donald Trump was the cause of all of the divisiveness and that he had magically summoned up some sort of undead army of Trump zombies that had never walked the land before. But that was never the case.
I wrote about this more times than I can count during Donald Trump’s time in office. He was never the cause of anything in terms of our divided nation. Donald Trump was a symptom. He was just the guy who came around at the right time and “said the quiet part out loud.” Do you honestly think that Trump would have won if there wasn’t already a national appetite among conservatives for someone to step up and very publicly take on some of the worst liberal lunacy on the left? Would thousands of people around the country have spent the kind of money it takes to repaint their vehicles with his name and likeness on them and fix them with huge flags if they weren’t craving precisely that sort of combative attitude? Nobody ever did that for Obama or Bush or Clinton. Trump wasn’t the monster. Trump awoke the monster.
And it wasn’t a phenomenon exclusive to conservatives and Republicans. The moment Trump was sworn in, the left dove into the deep end of the pool as well. Tens of thousands of women wearing vagina hats flooded the streets of the Capital in furious anger before the man had even been sworn in, to say nothing of actually issuing any orders or signing any bills. Massive protests, demonstrations, and… yes… riots broke out on a weekly basis all across the country. (Although the Democratic stenographers in the mainstream media never wanted to describe them that way.) And when the two highly activated sides met up in the same spaces, trouble followed. But the participants didn’t suddenly cook up those ideas out of the blue when Trump came to town. The sentiments were already out there waiting below the surface. The fuse only needed a spark.
Parnes’ article takes a valiant stab at giving Joe Biden credit for at least “trying” to bring about unity while admitting that it was probably impossible from the beginning. But before closing, I would just point out one other thing. All of Joe Biden’s major agenda items that are causing so much heartburn by remaining tied up in Congress could already have been passed by now without any GOP support. The reason that they still haven’t gotten anywhere is that there is now a very vocal civil war taking place in his own party between the moderates and the far left. At the same time, there are remnants of the Never Trumpers and even some supporters who are hoping Trump stays out of the 2024 race and fades into the background, perhaps believing that things will get back to something resembling “normal.” At the same time, his loyal army remains on the march.
We don’t just have a red/blue divide in the country under Joe Biden. We have that plus a red vs. “not red enough” gap and a blue vs. “not crazy blue enough” fight taking place. The country hasn’t become more unified under Joe Biden’s leadership. If anything, it’s only fractured further with a thankfully small number of people on both sides now suggesting that we need to split up the nation. So do us all a favor and don’t blame Trump for this. Nor should you blame Joe Biden. The two or four armies in this battle were always waiting out there. We just happen to live in the era when they decided to get out on the field.