What Joe Biden could realistically do to win over the left

Lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 won't shore up his left flank. But Medicare-for-kids might.

Joe Biden.

Joe Biden's campaign is reportedly looking into ways to shore up its left flank. As Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman write at The Washington Post, he is proposing lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 and a means-tested program of student debt forgiveness. Unsurprisingly, these timid ideas were greeted with derisive jeers on the left.

But there are other steps Biden could take if he wanted to seriously demonstrate he is not as bad as the left says he is. Bernie Sanders did endorse Biden in a joint conference call on Monday, but that is unlikely to sway many lefties on its own. Organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America refuse to endorse Biden because he was neck-deep in most of the neoliberal policy disasters of the last 40 years, like corporate-biased trade agreements, bankruptcy reform, and the Iraq War. Biden is not a democratic socialist, but he does say he is a committed liberal who wants to help working people. If he is really serious about left outreach, some more aggressive and thoughtful policy, and bringing on some new staffers, would demonstrate he really has pivoted away from his previous politics and towards a more genuine progressivism.

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