During a call with House Democrats on Wednesday, President Joe Biden used data from a three-year-old progressive think tank to argue his case for a massive Covid-relief plan.
The think tank, Data for Progress, may not have been in existence when Biden was vice president, but it’s become a mainstay for activists and lawmakers on the left. That its work product was shown love by the most establishment of Democrats did not go unnoticed among those who heard it. Indeed, news of the name-check quickly made its way to the group’s co-founder Sean McElwee.
“I was glad to see that we’re in their news diet,” said McElwee. “It’s evidence that Biden is hearing the stuff that progressives are doing and really engaging with it.”
Two weeks into his presidency, Biden has collaborated with the left, co-opted it and, for the time being, won it over. Progressives in Congress and across different policy organizations say Biden and his team aggressively reached out to them from the moment it became clear he’d be the Democratic nominee through his time in office. It could fall apart as Biden’s attention drifts toward more complicated issues that may require Republican buy-in. But, so far, what was once seen as a vulnerable flank for his presidency has been surprisingly secure.
“They’ve been very good at tending the garden,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “I don’t know if that’s because the president is a creature of the Senate or that their team needs a lot from congressional Democrats, but they have been super responsive and done their politics with precision.” [Continue reading…]