A Democratic Sweep Would Finally Redeem Obama’s Promise of Hope and Change. Even Bigger Change

5 min readOct 6, 2020

By Joe Rothstein

Before Covid-19 became a serial killer, before quarantines created a recession, resulting in tens of millions of lost jobs and incalculable financial hardship, before George Floyd was murdered, sparking nationwide outrage, before President Trump began his campaign to destroy confidence in the election, before any of the other monumental events of the past six months (yes, it’s only been six months!) a dozen Democrats competed for the party’s nomination for president.

And during the debates that highlighted the Democratic primary competition, most candidates proposed significant economic and social change to improve the lives and opportunities for the 90% of Americans who have been on the losing end of government policies for the past 40 years.

Well, those past debates may seem like long-ago history, but they are likely to preview the next era of America’s future.

There could be more October surprises, of course. But at this moment it appears that three months from now, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States to head a government in which Democrats control both the U.S. House and Senate.

Twelve years ago, Barrack Obama was sworn in under similar circumstances, with Democratic majorities in both houses and confronting a huge economic disaster, the legacy of the prior Republican administration. At the time, Obama assumed that the Republican congressional minorities would respect the will of the voters and find common ground with him to restore the economy and attack longstanding unmet national needs.

Joe Biden is not likely to make that same mistake. And neither is the new Democratic Congress.

We already know what a Democratic House looks like. Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, the House has sent hundreds of important bills to the Senate for approval, dealing with most top-level issues facing the country. Nearly all have died ignominious deaths on Mitch McConnell’s desk. That’s not likely to happen in a Chuck Schumer-led Senate, not with Bernie Sanders in line to be both chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and the Subcommittee on Health, Retirement and Security; Sherrod Brown the designated new chairman of Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Ron Wyden heading up Finance, and Elizabeth Warren chairing the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection.

The composition of a new Democratic Senate would be significantly more activist than the Harry Reid-led Senate of 2008–2009. The…