Behold My Daring Prediction for 2021

Ken Cedeno - Pool Via Cnp/CNP via ZUMA

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I have been browsing many articles over the past few days that ponder the question of whether Joe Biden will be able to get his legislative agenda through Congress. They are all nuanced and carefully written, which means they are all wrong. Here is the answer:

No. Republicans in the Senate will block just about everything and Democrats don’t have the votes to end the filibuster.

I don’t know how much clearer Republicans need to be about this. They are not going to vote to convict Donald Trump.¹ They are not going to pass a huge coronavirus bill. They are not going to raise the minimum wage to $15. They are going to do exactly what they did in 2009: oppose everything.

Nor is there anything really unusual about this. Historically, Democratic presidents can pass significant legislation only if they come to office with big majorities in Congress. Obama had that for a little while. LBJ had it for a couple of years. FDR had it for his entire first term. Ditto for Woodrow Wilson. Bill Clinton didn’t have it and he struggled. Obama got little done after 2010. And Biden has both the thinnest possible majority and a Republican Party more opposed to passing Democratic legislation than any we’ve ever seen.

So that’s that. Biden might be able to pass a few things via reconciliation. He might be able to swing a few modest deals in the annual appropriations bill. But that’s it.

Any other questions?

¹I’m almost inclined to weasel on this since we don’t know what further outrages we will discover over the next few weeks about Trump’s actions to overturn the election results. But no. I suspect we could have video evidence of Trump trying to personally deliver a bag of cash to the Georgia attorney general and that still wouldn’t garner 17 Republican votes for conviction in the Senate.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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