There’s been a lot of discussions about how progressives are trying to figure out which policies they can push Joe Biden on fully embracing and campaigning on. But Osita Nwanevu at The New Republic makes the argument that instead of pushing Biden more to the left on policy, they should be pushing him more into embracing real structural reforms that would benefit a progressive agenda. Nwanevu lists four areas that Biden could give support to making serious structural reforms:
- Abolishing the Electoral College:
In an interview with the New York Times Editorial Board, Biden suggested that moving to a popular vote would require a constitutional amendment. This is incorrect. Since 2007, 14 states and the District of Columbia have moved to award their Electoral College votes to the national popular vote winner as part of an effort called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Once the electoral votes of the states signing on reach 270, the compact will take effect and the Electoral College will be functionally eliminated. Eighty-three more votes are needed, and Biden should lend his public support to getting NPVIC legislation passed in the remaining states.
- Getting rid of the filibuster:
A Democratic Senate could solve this problem with the nuclear option—eliminating the legislative filibuster and moving to a simple majority vote. Biden opposes this. In fairness, Bernie Sanders also did. But Sanders proposed an alternative: having the Vice President, who is constitutionally the president of the Senate, approve the passage of major bills by reconciliation’s simple majority rule.
- Expanding Statehood:
Biden supports D.C. statehood. But unlike those presidents, Biden should also commit to making statehood a priority for the first few weeks of his administration, given the boost two Senate seats for D.C. would grant his legislative efforts. He should also support new, fully representative statehood referendums in Puerto Rico and the other American territories.
- Adding more judges onto the Supreme Court:
A Democratic Senate could address this problem and protect Biden’s agenda by adding liberal justices to the Supreme Court bench. Biden, however, opposes this. He also hasn’t backed the more moderate court reforms proposed by figures like Pete Buttigieg. He should either offer a plan to overcome the conservative judiciary or explain why he believes Democratic legislation should continue to face the same challenges that have hobbled the Affordable Care Act.
If progressives want to have long lasting influence on the federal government, these are the areas they should focus on betting Biden on board with. Id Biden wants to set his administration up for future Democratic rising stars to be successful, these are the areas the Left needs to push him on.
Of course, the first step to all of this is to help Biden beat Trump. Click here to donate and get involved with Biden’s campaign.