Joe Biden and the Possibility of a Remarkable Presidency

Bill McKibben in The New Yorker:

There’s really nothing in Joe Biden’s character or his record to suggest that he would be anything more than a sound, capable, regular President, which would obviously be both a great advance and a relief. If we could return to the days when we could forget that the White House even existed for days at a time, that in itself would be worth waiting in line for hours to vote. That said, there’s at least an outside chance that the stars are aligning in a way that might let Biden make remarkable change, if that is what he wants to do. America clearly has pressing problems that must be addressed, the coronavirus pandemic being the most obvious. But it also has deep structural tensions that are threatening to tear it apart, and which no President in many years has dared to address. And here’s where Biden could have an opening.

For one thing, it seems possible (not that I have let up on my phone-banking for a single evening) that he could win by a large margin—the polls currently show him further ahead than any candidate was on Election Day since Ronald Reagan, when he crushed Walter Mondale, in 1984. A nine-point win, if the margins hold through Election Day, would not be entirely a reflection on him—there’s no evidence that he unduly animates the electorate. But the body politic seems ready to reject, decisively, Donald Trump. People’s eagerness to see him gone from our public life has them voting early, amid a pandemic, in numbers that we’ve never witnessed before. That determination could presage a real groundswell that temporarily breaks the blue-red ice jam that has been frozen in place for so long; right now it also seems plausible that the Democrats could not just flip the Senate but emerge with a working majority that could get things done.

More here.