EJ Dionne has an excellent column out about the Biden paradox--running as a moderate but espousing a very progressive, in some ways radical, program.
"Joe Biden may be running a safe and centrist campaign, but beneath the methodical calm is a genuinely innovative ideological appeal. The former vice president is updating and bringing back the long-dormant Democratic tradition of labor liberalism.
He is doing so rhetorically and with union hall visits, but also through an agenda that seeks to spark economic growth through substantial public investments. He would build infrastructure, fight climate change, raise wages, guarantee health insurance coverage and expand child-care and pre-K programs.
And he is creating the sort of multiracial electoral coalition that has always been the only workable path to progressive governance."
This is a very important point. A Biden administration may ultimately fall short under predictable pressures but the coalition he is bringing into being and the tradition he is reviving is really the only way that progressive governance at scale even has a chance. In other words, much of what bothers left critics about Biden's approach and that of his campaign is a feature not a bug. It's the way to power and meaningful change, even if it does not guarantee it.
"Understanding how the pieces of Biden’s strategy interact is the best way to square two seemingly contradictory facts: That Biden is running as a moderate, and that he has put forward the most progressive platform a Democrat has offered in years.
Biden is indeed a moderate to his bones and prides himself on working with Republicans. He knows that President Trump’s irresponsible and divisive presidency is encouraging relatively conservative voters to break ranks and back a Democrat — often, for the first time in their lives.
At the same time, he and his advisers recognize that rising economic inequality, the decline in well-paying manufacturing jobs, the weakening of unions and growing regional disparities require robust government intervention to create a more just form of capitalism. They also see how economic and racial injustices aggravate each other.
What allows Biden to be both a moderate and an economic reformer is that it is no longer radical to acknowledge the high costs of inequality, and Biden’s objectives are thoroughly mainstream."
Exactly. Joe Biden, mainstream revolutionary.