After assuming the presidency on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden had high ambitions as Democrats managed to win the White House alongside both chambers of Congress simultaneously for the first time in over a decade.
However, as time passed by, it turned out that many expectations were too high to be materialized in the equally divided Senate, which became the major roadblock in Biden’s agenda.
Starting with the highly touted voting rights bill, the Democrats failed to pass it, while at the same time, Republicans were passing too many vote suppression bills in the same year.
The immigration reforms which Biden preached all over his election campaign never materialized. The Democrats were stopped by only one man on most fronts, the moderate Senator Joe Manchin, who became the kingmaker of Democrats in the year 2021.
Thus, for Democrats, the whole year was completely opposite of what they thought could be achieved after assuming power earlier in the year.
The only major agenda item which they managed to pass in the entire year was the infrastructure bill. Even for that, rigorous bipartisan talks managed to kill the true spirit of the bill.
Now, as Democrats go into the election year with little achievements to show, the stakes are high for them; otherwise, they can bite the dust in the midterm elections if they fail to turn the tides in their favor.
Promoting Immigration Rights: Expectations vs. Reality
The Democrats had no way to pass any immigration-related bill through the US Senate since Republicans’ views are completely opposite in this domain, and they would never support a Democrat-led bill.
This has led to many problems for Democrats, who are trying to find alternate approaches to pass such bills.
For instance, Democrats are burning the midnight oil to include immigration measures in the social spending bill, hoping that they would be able to pass it through the Senate.
However, as the spending bill is moved forward with the help of the budget reconciliation process, everything included in the bill must have something to do with the budget, or the provision will be thrown out of the bill.
This issue is worrying many Democrats, who were trying to utilize the social spending bill to carry forward their immigration agenda. Thus, the reality of immigration reforms is much different than what Democrats envisioned earlier, and it is likely to give them a tough time regarding any potential reform.
All of this is happening when Democrats are struggling with record-breaking numbers of illegal immigrants coming to the United States in the fiscal year 2021.
Defending Voting Rights: Democrats Failing to Defend Their Supporters
Democrats had high hopes that they would federalize US elections to curb Republicans’ efforts of voter suppression.
However, despite the fact that Republicans managed to pass voter suppression bills in multiple states, Democrats continued watching the drama by standing still.
Once again, Joe Manchin was their only roadblock in federalizing elections. Now, this measure is likely to haunt them going into the election year, as they failed to protect the rights of voters who brought them to power.
Social Spending Bill: Joe Manchin Stalling the Whole Party’s Ambitions
For Democrats, the biggest loss going into the election year is their inability to pass the social spending bill.
The two landmark legislations, the infrastructure bill, and the Build Back Better agenda, were announced together by Joe Biden; however, the latter is stalled in the Senate for a long period.
And the most worrisome part for the government is that Joe Manchin has already announced that he would not vote for the bill in any case.
This has intensified their struggle, as 222 House Democrats and 49 Senators are watching Joe Manchin’s drama, which is likely to continue into next year.
Democrats’ Failed Police Reform Efforts in 2021
Police training and bringing justice to people of color were on the top of the agenda list for the presidential-candidate Biden. He was too vocal about bringing police on track and often passed statements whenever any police brutality happened.
However, once again, it was all hoax, as none of it materialized, and Biden’s team failed to reform police in 2021.
Democrats had high expectations from the year 2021; however, the reality was different from what they wished for.
Moving forward in the year 2022, their top priority should be to eliminate the filibuster so that they can advance all of their agendas.
What they can do is to start passing Joe Manchin’s version of bills so that they can pass at least something instead of doing nothing. Only then can they hope to survive the red wave which might come in 2022.