Joe Biden campaigned as a moderate, pledged to unify the nation in his inaugural address and has governed as a far-left progressive. If present trends continue, the president and his party face a reckoning in November 2022.
Newly elected presidents often mistake the breadth of their “mandate,” assuming they have one. Bill Clinton, elected in 1992 as a minority president with 43% of the popular vote, thought he was Lyndon Johnson. His early executive order addressing gays in the military, followed by his cumbersome health care reform efforts, cost Democrats the House and Senate in 1994.
LBJ’s 1964 landslide saw huge majorities in the popular vote, the Electoral College and in both Congressional chambers. Ronald Reagan’s 1980 landslide flipped the Senate to the GOP, and his 1984 re-election saw Republicans keep the Senate and gain 16 House seats. Former Vice President Walter Mondale won 13 electoral votes. Those elections were mandates.
By contrast, Biden’s 2020 victory was primarily a vote against Donald Trump’s toxic personality and his flawed pandemic responses. While Biden received almost 7,000,000 more votes than Trump and won the Electoral College by 306 to 232 (the same margin by which Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016), the Senate