In reality, the project implemented by President Joe Biden is in the same vein as some of the most radical proposals for change ever made by Democrats: the plans proposed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
His decisions, however, have not triggered the virulent reactions that were caused by Sanders’ and Warren’s proposals. In fact, Biden’s decisions have elicited strong public support and agreement, or at least not war, from those threatened with tax increases.
How has Biden been able to advance this revolutionary government project without polarizing the country? Ben Mathis-Lilley’s take in Slate is insightful and convincing.
Biden has been able to paint his proposal as a “class warfare without the war” by using intelligent and moderate language. Where Sanders and Warren declared hostilities and pointed out enemies, Biden speaks gently, does not single out people or groups and proposes agreements instead of battles.
Sanders and Warren exhausted themselves by calling out enemies: “private health insurance companies,” “the pharmaceutical industry,” “Walmart,” “the fast food industry,” “Corporate America,” “the fossil fuel industry,” “the top 1%” and “Wall Street.”
Sanders’ and Warren’s rhetoric when referring to that world often included the words “destroy,” “greed,” “hatred” and “lies,” in the context of a battle to be fought on every front.
Mathis-Lilley says that Biden “has adopted the descriptive language of the left in many ways, making frequent reference to the portion of the Donald Trump tax cuts that benefited the top 1% of earners,” but highlighting the idea of “rewarding work, not wealth.” Biden expresses his concern for those who have been “left behind” by those “at the top.”
Biden, however, has not taken on a confrontational tone. He has not used the words “cheat,” “corruption,” “greed” or “trap” since he became president. “Twelve of the 14 times he’s said Wall Street, it’s been to suggest that its analysts support his economic vision.”
This paradigm shift has not come in the midst of a bitter battle, but a “class warfare without the war.” The moral of the story for those who want to bring about transformation: you can change things without yelling at history.