The Biden team is making gains, and it’s only the ‘second quarter’
As we close in on Super Bowl Sunday, I can’t help but to think about my two great loves: sports and politics.
To the casual observer, that may seem a little odd. After all, politics isn’t a game. But the truth is that politics and professional football actually have a lot in common. Both are steeped in strategy and teamwork. Both require unique talent and dedication. And both can hold the nation’s attention, drawing adoration or ridicule.
There’s more, of course, but today let’s focus on the ticking clock. As the talking heads and armchair quarterbacks fill the 24-hour news cycle gauging President Biden’s first year in office, I can’t help but point out that, just like the four quarters of a football game, there are four years in a presidential term, not one.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d be a fool to argue that the past 12 months haven’t presented challenges for the Biden administration. But Democrats also had successes. To follow the analogy, it’s been a good “first quarter.” We didn’t win every snap, but we scored some touchdowns.
I know there are people out there with differing opinions about how we define success — particularly when it comes to America’s Black voters. A recent NBC poll found Biden’s support among Black voters fell from 83 percent to 64 percent over the past year.
And there’s significant frustration among many voters because Senate Democrats could not pass their voting rights legislation. But let’s look at the broader picture. After all, so far Biden has been able to:
- Expand the child tax credit, helping to cut child poverty in half. This could substantially cut child hunger and poverty;
- Authorize the Minority Business Development Agency for the first time since its inception, and set a goal of providing $100 billion in federal contracts to small, disadvantaged and Black-owned businesses;
- Invest $2.9 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, the first of five allocations to total nearly $15 billion, to replace lead water lines;
- Implement efforts to aggressively combat housing discrimination and protect Black-owned home values;
- Provide $130 billion to help schools safely reopen during the pandemic, ensure that high-poverty school districts and schools are protected in the event of future funding cuts, and invest $5.8 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
- Nominate eight black women to 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, with a promise to appoint the first Black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court; and
- End the practice of contracting with private prisons. His Department of Justice has prohibited chokeholds and no-knock warrants by federal law enforcement, and launched investigations into four municipal police departments.
Let’s also talk about reducing health insurance premiums for millions of lower- and middle-income Black families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces, expanding postpartum Medicaid benefits, and ensuring that Black families weren’t left behind in the COVID-19 fight by standing up 500 vaccination sites in underserved communities. People of color comprised half of those vaccinated at federally-run sites and 75 percent of those vaccinated at Community Health Centers.
So, there has been real, historical gain. But we haven’t heard about much of it because the work is ongoing. After all, we’re only in the first quarter.
It’s really pretty simple. You won’t find me excusing the Senate from its responsibility. Senators need to pass voting rights, the Build Back Better Act, and real justice reform — and get these bills and more to the president’s desk for his signature.
I won’t deny that this administration has work to do when it comes to getting out of D.C. and telling Americans about the political wins that can change our lives for the better.
The Biden team has moved the ball down the field, and many of us are proud of the plays they’re running. The players on the field are beginning to look like America.
So, please, be patient. Let’s not tackle those wearing the same jersey that we are. Biden’s team has three more quarters to play, and the second quarter has just started.
Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.