Liberals Usher in the Return of Civil Disagreement
The country’s political divide and uncivil disagreement has deepened considerably in the last two decades. Under the Trump administration, things reached a boiling point. Trump supporters were intolerant of any criticism of their president, while liberals were quick to criticize his every move.
Things seem to be headed in a different direction in 2021. In Biden’s early days, conservatives and liberals both have been quick to criticize the new president. After four years of emphasis on party unity, Democrats are now re-engaging in civil disagreement and potentially setting the country on a new path.
Partisan loyalty in the Trump years
Like the Obama and Bush presidencies, Trump’s presidency was marked by strongly partisan politics. While moderate conservatives were relatively quiet while Trump was in office, many might say Trump supporters were loyal to a fault. Trump supporters’ admiration for their president bordered on worship.
Liberals, meanwhile, were united in their disapproval of Trump. Both moderates and progressives were quick to criticize Trump’s policy decisions and public behaviors. Disagreement between the parties was often heated and uncivil.
Open criticism in Biden’s early days
Biden’s first weeks in office have been marked by several broken promises. Among those are the promise to raise the minimum wage to $15, which seems unlikely to pass Congress as part of the COVID relief bill. Liberals have criticized Biden’s willingness to back down from his progressive campaign promises.
Biden also promised bipartisanship and said he’d reach across the aisle to form legislation. According to Congressional Republicans, his efforts to do that have been weak, token efforts. Republicans are thus criticizing his leadership, as well as several of his Executive Orders and legislative pushes.
Loosening party loyalty
While the negative feelings toward Biden could signal nothing more than a disgruntled electorate, they could also signal brighter days ahead for the country. As party loyalty loosens, more alliances can be made and more robust legislation can be passed.
Liberals’ willingness to criticize their president indicates that a party driven by ideals, rather than personalities, can succeed. And their willingness to engage in civil disagreement redirects the country toward its democratic roots.