Biden's Hidden Weaponry.

AuthorGlastris, Paul
PositionEditor's Note

At first glance, the November election results look like a recipe for gridlock. With a new Democratic president facing a Republican-controlled Senate--or, perhaps, one only barely in Democratic hands--the prospect of Washington passing sweeping, FDR-style legislation is remote.

That doesn't mean, however, that big things can't happen. Indeed, if Joe Biden wants to fulfill the demands of voters--his own, but also the many who chose Trump--for systematic reform, he will have to be more creative and take bigger risks than he might otherwise be inclined to. That will mean challenging the power of oligarchic corporations, using executive authority recent administrations have not tapped, and crafting daring legislation that has a chance of shaking loose at least a few Republican votes in the Senate.

Meanwhile, liberals and progressives have an opportunity over the next four years to engage in some soul searching about why their hopes for a broader victory in 2020 came up short. Specifically, they need to develop a revamped policy agenda that stands a better chance of widening their circle of support--especially among less-educated working- and middle-class voters, both white and minority, whom they are losing. (Conservatives will certainly be doing the same.)

If you are a longtime reader of this magazine, you will not be shocked to learn that we have thoughts on how this can be done. In fact, this issue is devoted to stories that advance an alternative agenda for the president-elect, congressional Democrats, and persuadable Republicans--though, in truth, Biden doesn't even need Congress to implement much of what we're suggesting.

At the top of the list, Barry Lynn argues, are a suite of antimonopoly statutes already on the books that Biden can deploy to reshape the American economy. These laws have gone largely unused by every president since Ronald Reagan, with disastrous results. Markets in everything from agriculture to health care to digital technology have been cornered by monopolies that jack up prices, drive down wages, and suppress innovation and entrepreneurship. Biden can start reversing the damage on day one. And with recent antitrust actions by Trump's Justice Department and the FTC, he may have bipartisan support to do so.

He can also use federal power to enhance the freedom of local communities. As Daniel Block notes, Donald Trump's most despicable attacks on American democracy in 2020 were directed, in part, at municipalities--like...

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