Is Biden's vision of unity possible? | FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast

The crew reacts to President Biden’s inauguration speech — particularly his goal to unite the country and whether it will be successful — and looks at the policy agenda for his first week in office.
37:21 | 01/20/21

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Transcript for Is Biden's vision of unity possible? | FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast
Or are going to be covering a lot of these questions and themes in the coming. Weeks months and years. Our interests uses. But back at it and I'd like added these the but I stood along for years is that along or yours. Hello and welcome to this inauguration. If Sen up at 530 politics podcast. I'm deal under it. Joseph Biden at Kabul Harris are officially president and vice president of the United States. Kabul Harris is of course the first woman and woman of color to be priced president. Joseph Biden he's the oldest person to ever teach the oath of office as president. The United States. This team of Biden's inaugural speech was largely unity he said quote. We must end this on civil war that pits read against the way and that quo without unity. There is no peace. Lee Britons and fury. There's a lot of talk about tradition and democracy and mentions of the attack on the capital that took place exactly where they were all standing just two weeks ago. In Biden's first week as president he said there's no time to waste and that he's heading to the Oval Office. He reportedly plans to teach seventeen executive actions and his first day. In office so today we're gonna discuss the messages that the new Biden administration sent at inauguration. And what the beginning of the Biden presidency is going toe. And accurately to do that he's editor in chief Nate Silver heat eight. And Galen. Also vigorous casino politics at a Perry bacon junior had Perry and Gail. And 530 contributor and political science professor at Marquette University Juliette as our major. Maintenance or having me. Things are being here at of course Juliet your focus is. The presidency. So inauguration day is update day in your field of study at a have a pretty basic question for you. It may be upset this team for everything ordered us switches. This in the middle of the pandemic and all of the security concerns there are some questions about whether or not they should even hold this inauguration on the steps of the capitol. What is the point of having an inauguration date symbolic event. That symbolizes the transfer of power. Big part of this is to secure way today new administration in history that really puts then. In the context of the idea that this is an office is an institution that transcends any particular amendment and transcend any particular. Individual and that even as you had to transfer across individuals and often have political parties. That this is part of that kind of longer tradition and it there some continuity in transcendence that has really. Importance of that symbol and a lot of talk as he said about peaceful transfer of power. And whether this should even be done. Whether she'd be done publicly given some of the security threats and I think one of the responses to that was that was really important to how this symbolic. Show of this kind of civic strength. Yet so. I did I mention that a lot of Brooke White and actually sat was our unity there was also senator Warren blunt of course. Who as a Republican talked about bipartisanship. The beginning. The proceedings Biden said that unity can quote sound to some like foolish fantasy these days. So what was he actually trying to do with this speech like catch you unify and Asian three to. I speech arbor specific actions behind this call to unity Perry. So you can tell in the run out even in the run up to this speech itself he was trying to do things that were unify you know he. By James Curtis that are ran a campaign on the idea that we need less partisanship that he was. He was a with the democratic candidate primary it was most for its focus to reject the Republicans. He's talked about unity in finding common Wrenham being bi partisan. You read out the campaign. To rout since he won. He even talk about bipartisanship after the you know the invasion of the capital you know in some ways he sees that is that is being the Rihanna bipartisanship. Of unity. This morning in this symbolic way he had Kevin McCartney McConnell. Speaker Pelosi. Chuck Schumer go with him to a Catholic Church service again to show. I'm trying to bring the two parties together. You know obviously Donald trauma did not go to the inauguration so it goes raise the question of what can you can get one side you don't buy it in his only wanted to unify but I think. Biden today in his speech from my count. Looks like account by accident box dot com had a speech. Transcript and I counted it's like they're hidden names into the word unity in the speech one of the most use words in the speech so again. Biden is certainly trying to say he wants to unify the country. But he's but I don't exactly know what he means in the since that. The Republicans the Democrats are just invited because of like personality views are because they don't like you know how into the addresses. They're like real fundamental differences in values in political ideology. In policy perspective. And Nixon's. He bolt gave a speech. About unity that also laid out a lot of priorities in terms of policy that I being moral line obviously with Democrats than Republicans so those of this so the question is like. Had you had unity. At the heels eternity he was that unity around the holes but now policies and that's going to be hard to. Yeah Nate and Julia editors it is here balls you weigh in on kind of the likelihood of unity and at what. A path towards unity might actually look like as Biden lead article speech. I mean I think actors Smart. And Biden is kind of trying to play. Kind of both sides of that both sides calling it if you will right revenue when Andy is right. Some distinctions between the parties man they're pretty muted relatives. Frankly what just happened in the last four years. But it worked well enough for him in getting the nomination and in winning the presidency I imagine. He'll start out with an a prearranged. In the wanna yes and we're than me. I I fifties. 51% approval during the transition was mid sixties and yes so Biden has an ABC poll 67% below his transition to like. Rooney transitions easier than running all the government and the time of the pandemic and this violent. Attack on the capital and everything else so. We'll see I mean what I think ours Biden is as likely as anybody else. To do is wells he can mean very partisan time things right but they're very partisan times and just like. The margin is you know there's not that much in March and I mean I don't know I Turk know kind of what. It would look like by the Summers today. If people feel like boat the country. And that kind of record dating back to normal right if not a democracy art and like their academic part feel like there's healing and the economy right. Then we'll see you know I mean obviously some people compared. Restatements 9/11. Bush got a big boost after 9/11 so I don't know many of the country to myself I think there's. I think there's an upside to bite in terms of public popularity. I don't think that'll translate though in the universe. Two Republicans falling over to pass all kind of immune them. Agenda right summit but with human stimulus or anything more. And bassist and that the stimulus is important experiences package but anything more than that I think is pretty unlikely. So it message gets through to the public in an environment where perhaps Biden talks a lot of our unity. But then also pursues an agenda that may get almost no Republican. Support. Is at the words that matter as far as public perception or is it the policy that matters. Austin kind of a disconnect between. How people perceive a policy as it's labeled and the provisions of that policy we saw that in the Affordable Care Act. Where people in the actual individually about that and this is not exceptional now are cards ethical about individual pieces of it. It was pretty popular ask people about their formal care act itself with unpopular and I do think that some of that conversation around that back in 2010. Around ideas it was. It was not bipartisan grants sped into the Kara process they care about they care about outcome but the way they understand and it's. Is shaped by what's sad about it. And so I think that's actually the the thing that bite and heard meets over kindness not fundamental disagreement. To kind of try and shape the frames that come out of that disagreement that makes cents. Bryce are in this sense of like he may be pursuing a policy that is popular say a fifteen dollar minimum wage war you know cash payments to Americans. Blight in a process from here to passing that what kinds. You know ideas or messages get attached to those policies that shape what people think of them once they are finally passed is that kind of where you're getting out. I thinks I mean I think it's it's complicated and currently is complicated because it we've sort of gone so far off the rails and does that that hours patiently experience it's worded in. And rhetoric and that's not to say that there are real disagreements about public policy disagreements become more anchoring the further out this for political tensions you go. And that. Yeah I think that. And it when we're talking about what do what you people in the electorate Percy. Like Damien Hurst and partisanship they have some viewpoints about kind of what goes on in their life and how government expects that. And then the rest is that translation assess how how those things. Go together instantly think that's it that's a big perk is not letting. Millionaires get an up and roll their eyes the were there but time I'm reclaiming. Let me ask you so there this. So you're saying and others this bait and literature about the schools and businesses and here's guessing that polarization is so driven top dia. Is in the elite sort of thread as opposed to politician may be because it isn't a minute that the public actually. Boot this sort of conservative base in the democratic base are actually. Mike if you think to think about June and July. Seems pretty clear to be democratic based on racial issues in the Republican base actually are different on the ground and it's not just that. The Fox News here's guessing it's a Fox News. The Republicans on Barrasso on polarize voters are Richard Fletcher. So I think you. We're ever totally serving king and so thanks but certainly I think the consensus and not about like the direction of polarization. Has has moved in the direction it is it is primarily top down. And I think you see evidence of that. And the trump Arab because there are some late late eighties on policy. And so that so it's a sort of partisan label and not necessarily policy radiology this writing it I say that people in the democratic and Republican base our people I would describe as fairly high up the political attention latter. Folks who are really listening to these partisan and only Q is there are not making up that. The bulk of that. I necessarily the whole country electorate. Which sort of put up quite apart and office. Is it the case that you cat unify a country with words. I think you can divide it more kids are divided more or less I think it's it's always a kind of spectrum and you have moments where you have a very large majority much larger than then by and I think anyone there could expect to command but even so that minority is in. Real angry. So that's the closest we get unity but I do you think you can move along. That spectrum. So let's talk a little bit about. But Biden actually plans to do you in its first you know setting aside disputes which as we've discussed there was a lot of our unity. But Perry what are odds at what's on his list executive actions and goals berg. The starters president. So says assets into ways that is this Ron explains and he Biden's chief of staff this minimal on like public released memo over the weekend. In which case you know used to raise their four crisis season we're gonna post up. Cope it nineteen. V related economic Pollack told in nineteen climate crisis in this and the systemic races congress and so. I don't remember like an activist CN looked out bush era Obama Clinton's what they did in the early days that I was FC fairly and usually specific to say hero for realism. For ideas and big issues and I think it was useful to say here look for things were going to be working on. If you listen to the speech you can sneak he came back to those weren't beings repeatedly I think it's one useful as a they've given you so there for big things. Get sick executive exits today you hit other things so. I'm so the thing is and they've done so far as I think we're you know we're getting back into the Paris climate agreements. Were rolling back the ban on people from majority Muslim countries from coming from coming here. As a I'm trying to those those the two ones that jumped out to me there's there's hasn't been a proposal from the administration to make should try to unify families whose children separated at the border they advocate a big priority. So there's a big long list of executive actions but a lot of them are what I would call somewhat symbolic. Stings that are sort of the things that hole well and things that strong did it a lot of people don't agreement like. The the abiding folks get these 1776. Commission. It's from created to sort of retreated this you know alternative history of American sort of like. That they were released Biden is getting rid of debt on. Lansing it's absolutely some of the most unpopular things trump it's done particularly the Muslim man and getting out of Paris climate change. How much. Of this it is anywhere turn to. Three trump. Vs Biden charting a path that would be significantly different from. That Obama went to you don't like for example a lot of truck focused on an office was just on doing what Obama kept on. Through executive actions and things like. So now bite and obviously can do the same because anything you can do it and executive action you can undo with an executive action or somethings may take more time and others. But it is easy charting it also are new and distinct path as you know that Biden and terrorists. The administration. But in addition to these more symbolic like undo the truck presidency kind of things. So in terms of these initial executive actions these are basically. Returned to Obama style policy that's not surprising because. You can't do much to root unit executive actions are somewhat limited so. The fact they they're using these mainly to overturn things and his return didn't do so sweet sixteen is not surprising. Big ol' big ticket items overall options and rhetoric. All indications are the ticket is gonna be a more populist. On economics to the left and not that that's not Bernie Sanders what is and he left the world Obama was an economics. I think I'm like racial as it is going to be to the left of where Obama wasn't racial issues and I think that's because of Kobe in nineteen. Kennedy expose a lot of deeper problems in the economy. And Colgate as well as the June July. Exposed in sort of amplified some of the racial challenges in the country's wealth right. I think he that you look at like what Biden's own staff has been saying. There's been much more explicit talk about fixing the economy for regular people in addressing racism like Obama never would have said. One of my first work things to talk about racial that would never happen for a variety of political reasons and also just you know where the country was at that point politically so I think those they give users and their decision is going to be. Like Joba and ray and it's sort of a modest candidate but if you look at this one point nine trillion dollar. Economic stimulus proposal and how he talked about refused BC like. Deficits blah is all he said it was Obama give never would instead like do you do that the party has move left in Biden is now we're burn unit warrant. They're gonna try to duo wore leopard administration into dozens NC. Yeah I mean what makes buying. Oddly effective is like Hughes gets portrayed as a moderate I think it's probably partisan Alter. What do you write it is never funny accent or anything racist and stereotyping goes on. And he doesn't this. Quite progressive. Agenda that Biden himself was personally likes to produce progress of I think he just kind of recently well delegates authority. And winds up reflecting an advocate since the democratic party's agenda which is a pretty Liberal Party. With that said like how much that kind of gets through. Congress first executive order means. I mean will seem like and I know how Julie would feel about like witnessing here that would put the word mediator in front of you feel about that right. It felt like in 2009. The meeting was really eager for this. Obama. Obviously the rise is covered in mostly fairly calling all the complicated term a strike I think you're really. Brady to see that kind of comment. Fall back to earth. A little bit right. Because sometimes it was a neat little trick that Republicans. Pulled off right there hey if we are opposing the stimulus for example the my definition. It's partisan and we'll get portrayed as partisan by the press and then got to become less popular and it I didn't we've worked I mean it isn't accurate might be harder to pull. This time around. You know more as assets and its. Because because people are are aware of what happened. Twelve years ago that it. And because there's a little bit less kind of both sides as a man. The media because. Also these you know Kuroda last and that Corel. In some ways like. Has the luxury. Of not having a large enough majority to do to the unpopular things pretty. So you know he can tell different constituencies like we're not getting a green new deal through. Joseph mansion right react getting. Probably not getting DC statehood of that when you could think about it for because stated that increasing. But he has more constraints as of hunt it's helpful to work with constraints. Looking back any of balmy years it's partly that that the Obama administration lost control and areas. With the media but also that there were that this creature their political upon its. Seasoning and shortly. Links that's. Backed this speech and to that question in unity if I can that struck me in the speech was Biden's reference to the emancipation proclamation in problem I mentioned the snow Nightline and probably. For most people that's the thing that happened during the war and it with witnesses or movement. For its. But it's a very specific piece of executive action. That acknowledged the limitations of the presidency while simultaneously. Lake confirming that the purpose of the civil war with and slavery. Which with sort of Lucy goose the on the union side. Up and sell up until that point. And I think really is connecting that was it. Deliberate choice by Biden are buying the speed traders to make that reference because it really does speak to kind of a modest and limited powers of of the presidency also even have legislation that pat still have this kind of transformative. Potential. And it also speaks to what unity is really code for. I just think it's a code for air for having act kind of broader purpose. And I think it's that's sort of what you're seeing with this sort of goes back to our previous discussion about. Establishing common ground with Republicans I think that's sort of what you'll see you with with by in this case. This conversation about what is the purpose of this country what is the purpose of all of that. The legislation and executive actions that'll be happening and can we at least agree on kind of brought him bro. A purpose and hand me you know if this is art we're using Pittsburgh unity. Can we then kind of carve out the people. Who are going to act in bad faith try to undermine. And I think that gets us into the nature of that polar station might seem because I am and hearing us talk of analysts legislation happen and thinking about why. You know some of these new rep representatives on the Republican side will say what will sort of the Tea Party crowd or whatever that's involved in Q what will they. Well they saying. And you know there are legitimate and real policy disagreements to be hat and a bad faith arguments based on false. Information and that. Segment of the electorate in that segment. Political system has ground and I think we need I can't talk about unity when you hear him talk about. The sellers historical references it really is that ballot. Finding it shared her parents and approaching it in good faith and telling you making kind of show that people who can't get on board that can't be part of the conversation at that Olson then becomes a decision that more mean street Republicans may. That's I think this all comes together and that's like allotted that's a lot of different threats but that's. My effort to pull together. Visitors and that you laid out there Juliet that Biden is trying to kind of excise bad faith arguments from. Political environment. An environment where. You know lies distortions things like that have played a very big role in public perception. Com your for a long time now of course preceding trump obviously during the Obama administration to. You know. How do you. How do you do that how do you change public opinion so that the actor is less interest in conspiracy theories and lies and may be extremism based on there's threatens. How do you create incentives for politicians. To not. Into all stars lies and distortions. Answered as briefly and American Juliet. I've been struck by obviously I am not here tonight he's got this and a bit uncomfortable with Twitter taking trump off of Twitter. Dixie ahead. I have realized that a lot of sort of this information was coming from his fees and I sort of viewed looking negative thing this. Oh like I'm uncomfortable with older you know obviously twitters a private company. I'm uncomfortable with the generally like you know silent scenes censorship whatever you would call. But I do wonder if part of life. Whatever Joseph Biden as they do would think that part of like the culture in America the company's good years. Asked the figure out what who gets a platform in wind and what is the line in which. Lies white nationalism. Rest of violence. Hinting at violence intolerance for religious or other minorities. Goes too far and so to will act as I think about today. I thought them you know whatever Joseph Biden sit still think you know he gave a unity speech next think the most important person is the person who spoke via 8 o'clock. In the end flew from Washington. Named Donald Trump so ice is so the certainty. The you know no matter what buy it and is down from 147%. Of the votes he leads the huge faction of the of the Republican Party I still think at this point. So it's not going to be what you did he looks like. We it is long is Donald Trump has a big platform. And uses this season. D.'s unified and to me BD's unified with false information. At times to him in May be charm is lost its platform. By leaving the presidency in with Twitter I don't know but. Deaths or where I start -- is like I don't know the Jill Biden has much to do with unity in America. Yeah I think it's possible that. Interest in front seats alive and pretty quickly now it's creating a lot from like he's really been notes. Attention commanding. We're demanding right most you know I received more attention from more people. Than anyone since like you know Roman emperor or something right. So it's full of look at very high high pedestal like. I know I I'm with you keep your eye kind of light and usually very wary of light. Technology platforms like minded. Trying to intervene too much right let you know I think clearly like. It had a big effect. Clearly he's inciting rebellion it's it's he's kind of or whatever but no matter how apartment one a draw a line I got pretty Africans are out. He cross that was me. But yeah I mean I don't know I think I think the notion of what's wanna move on from trumpeting. News and also like. There's so many said border. Like novelty. Unit mean they're suddenly sent percent when new Kynan. Gets you excited right. And now again I kind of have acted. Sarah Palin a little bit we're going to chief bill. Out of stature. Pretty quickly and when of the more complex figures I think pretrial. That somehow we got the kind of actual. Movement behind the kind his shtick doesn't. Work as well. And it just to seem like trump is felt theory. Like commuters in these last. Few days Hewitt's Twitter and the realization he's actually gonna not be president anymore he's not prisoners are taking its New York right. He's died off more quickly than I thought terms of kind of happening platform. Yes studiously avoided. A position on that platforms the class forming trump. To me it's been more important that he's been president of the United States and so whenever he says on these platforms or anywhere else has sort of that the force that. US government and of course that's that's not true anymore. I think I think about this or about ten Biden s.'s inspector and unity is. We think about unity as a code word for purpose we think about unity is decoder for this is our consensus and it is consensus doesn't work for you and you don't get to be part of it. Kind of debate over power sharing. That what that essentially what that does is I think you know when you put the power of the presidency behind that of the power of the presidency is naming. Disinformation. And naming a justice information they'll sue white Nationalists and break insurrection all of these sorts of things intolerance. Estates is naming then things and saying that just doesn't. You can't bring that into a democratic small. I think we've leaderless for years of presidential communication is is really powerful and so that's sort of what I'll be looking is this. Cannon and by. Very well positioned for this because he uses older white gang people assume it's very moderate. And because he has this reputation of being the sort of straight talker he doesn't use soaring rhetoric pretty it's a little bit. You know talking about are eager hammered if he identifies Malarkey and has Pinto Cooke and this that doesn't belong and and the political conversation. I do think that Hanson some potentially. He actually sat almost exactly this in his speech today he sat quote the recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies lies told for power and profit in each of us has a duty and a responsibility as citizens as Americans and especially as leaders. Leaders who have pledged to honor our constitution to protect our nation to defend the truth and defeat allies and so there you got these kind of drawing. The wide in the San relate. You are you know only for filling your responsibility as a citizen American leader if you reject these kind of tactic arguments as. So you'd as a is that we will see if the fourth the force of his power position personality. Whatever. Can achieve. Pick art art art both I do wanna wrap up here because we are going to be covering a lot of these questions and themes in the coming. Weeks months and years. Oh. It is Jesus. But that. I'd like these the but guys stood along for years you know it has been along for your and it's not partners its unions yes okay. I don't know its first meeting is boring is expected thank goodness. But epic Epoch but on the so an enemy productions one as the filibuster survive the yes. Yes Nate. Yes. Julian. Pressure that I should say no to citizens and boring bet I think. I think yes I think a lot of people have incentives to maintain that the lesser. And that my second question and just to get back to some like public opinion that weekend check that's against. Does passing. Popular policy meet a president. This is a theatre. Is passing them up to you daily in this case there's still time. Okay so so I. Winning the last time any high profile policy. Pulled out to be liked her but both parties drive down the popularity of policies by opposing them. It's an air forgo tax cut obamacare obamacare repeal Roland popular. I mean I think to. If any policy is bipartisan. In did not get covered -- it's in there or it's not. Doesn't mean much so. Yes if this is it Biden hits and and it will be fuel. Trillion dollars in its. 25 senators in 45. Republicans and house vote for it. I'll make you more yes I think I think popular policy would make him more. Popular. I don't see this happening to our question of yes the F does not sure. I've been covering you know government when he hears and I can't remember the last. Major policy that was bipartisan. May be important to get all those cogan bills are bipartisan and it'd make sure or the area. So what needs when he had three major bid bills that were bipartisan. Passed in. Tropical ready to go at all and we can there's obviously reason cabinet. But that's ahead OK. So can I get a can I get a I don't know. Yes let's look at all that said if there's very good cop it's very good contacts it is it is OK. And now. Sometimes. Need Juliet you wanted to Reza Yasser now on the big attack I think we'll fumbled yet. They do credential I guess and therefore it. I guess I'm closer to yes. I mean you know people talk all that crazy stuff in the trump wealth or like us. I tell him to pass unpopular policy making unpopular I think that's true. I think that's true and I'm also big. Median voter here a guy right you know it's gonna popular now threatening to people voters have. Some very complicated since it kind of went the middle is I think if you controversies seem far from that it. But things being equal to be qualifier that. You can hurt you a bit. Yeah that's. And anything bit that's it their certainly kind of school but that political science I want say and got a ratings Lester presidents a whole lot has happened and basically nothing changed them. I also think there's an asymmetry to popular an unpopular. But you electing instead of all things that happened over the course of the apartment proper administration. Really did not have it was like the passage fifth. Meter and opulent policy. And that could be and tested its act. You know just to get some variety. Presidential purple is has been incredibly static Alpert for well years and so. Well. Would change it. I just just reminded me and I hate you because I do one final question I have to get yours on the record for world I'd run for a second term. Can leave prison beginning here say these are now predicts incidents in Marmol to be formal but I don't I darting here but they don't know how Kevin has the question. I think yes I just think president's rubber bullets and I think yes and that's a weird music the diesel. Newly built yes. I was thinking. It. I mean he's there's kind of a two part question right really be. Well enough. To open for second currently 12 conditional on right. I was thinking that it data like I wonder if there's a part. Of Joseph Biden. Who doesn't feel like. Manager. Joseph Biden who Democrats would be like. Upset with me for saying this right back where there's a part of the government doesn't feel like. This transition and a little bit of an asterisk right as it's happening. I would called peaceful transition. And I wouldn't call it. It's probably not. As enjoyable. Transition when you're having all these social distancing rules yet be very careful about we have to travel here to talk with you would meet with right. So what are there's a part Joseph Biden it will feel like okay. The first couple of terms you're an office who weird because of Covert in this trump stuff. And now because like every year the getting to. Be present of always dreamed of doing it no I'm not about to stop right now right I want to have. Inauguration where we have a big party. And we don't have to remember it's not known as a big party or at all and he drinks right but like. I saw what is that US tiger. A local business that this is tiger rationalizing. Just like. What is most likely to be like an arch and desire for power is like I didn't get a big party during the first theaters and opera so you gotta run for a second. Have a big big party and other contact. He's probably vaccinated now so he can network regularly reported its. So. It's my reaction which is that Matt my head sense. Yes like old evidence that I can think suggests that he will. That's my. My heart says no like I feel lake that things that he has said and part of his role in the Democratic Party. Suggested that he's seen this as a caretaker presidency and that he's probably anticipating me know if they'll. Be in shape to to run for a second term warriors. Our ball with that we are current and our first podcast. The Biden presidency. Think unique Perry and Julia as a good conversation. He's thinking you think your real enemy go up about the emancipation proclamation. Anytime. My name is Gayle hundred Tony child is in the virtual control room you've yet to touch right emailing us at pod cast at 530 dot com. It also course greeted us with any questions or comments. If you're a fan of dish out beavers are reading or review in the apple part are store or tell someone about us thanks for listening and policies. And I know. I.

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