Biden sets defining course for Democratic Party: The Note

RICK KLEIN, AVERI HARPER and ALISA WIERSEMA
·6 min read

The TAKE with Rick Klein

His agenda is as wide and deep as his congressional margins are narrow. His plans have gotten bolder as the opposition to those proposals has settled in.

This is what it looks like to have a party own an identity. President Joe Biden may be an unlikely figure to usher in a sweeping progressive era for the Democratic Party, but it's happening -- whether or not his bills become laws.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021, in Washington. (Melina Mara/Pool via Getty Images)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress on April 28, 2021, in Washington. (Melina Mara/Pool via Getty Images)

Biden on Thursday called his proposal "the biggest jobs plan in this country since World War II" -- another reference to the FDR era from a president thinking in historical terms.

Historians may argue whether the party moved Biden or Biden moved his party. Armchair analysts can dissect whether going bold reflects Democratic confidence or a realization that power can only be held temporarily -- or some combination of the two.

But the staggering spending and redefinition of government's role outlined by Biden this week, combined with the confidence he's bringing to selling his plans on the road, amount to a big play that is almost certain to have long-lasting implications.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden attends the Democratic National Committee's 'Back on Track' drive-in car rally to celebrate the president's 100th day in office at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Ga., April 29, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden attends the Democratic National Committee's 'Back on Track' drive-in car rally to celebrate the president's 100th day in office at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Ga., April 29, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

Perhaps the bipartisan rumblings on a range of issues -- including infrastructure and police reform -- will meet Biden in a middle that doesn't seem to exist some days. Biden's own party could still desert him, on either ideological end.

Biden's choice, though, is clear -- and it's not certain how much other Democrats will be empowered to do anything to change that.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Family members of Black men killed by police visited Capitol Hill the day after Biden called for the passage of police reform legislation before the anniversary of George Floyd's murder on May 25.

Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd, Eric Garner's mother Gwen Carr, Terence Crutcher's sister Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, Botham Jean's sister Allisa Findley and lawyers Bakari Sellers and Ben Crump met with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

"This legislation has my brother blood on it and all the other families' blood on it," said Philonise Floyd of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act -- stalled in the Senate after passing the House last month. "We're here today because we need to let everybody know how we feel about our brothers and our families and family members who have been killed for anything that they shouldn't have been killed for."

PHOTO: Keeta Floyd, Philonise Floyd, Gwen Carr and civil rights attorney Ben Crump talk to reporters following a meeting with Sen. Tim Scott, who is working on a police reform bill in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, April 29, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
PHOTO: Keeta Floyd, Philonise Floyd, Gwen Carr and civil rights attorney Ben Crump talk to reporters following a meeting with Sen. Tim Scott, who is working on a police reform bill in the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, April 29, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The families shared their stories in hopes it will push lawmakers to pass the legislation. For some of these family members, it isn't their first time visiting Washington with the aim of preventing others from experiencing the grief and loss they've endured. This time, the families have the momentum of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict and the aftermath of national civil unrest.

Attorneys said the families are insisting on lowering the standards to prosecute individual officers, which has been an obstacle in negotiations. While there are active negotiations on the Hill, Republican opposition still stands in the way of reform.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Nearly two dozen candidates will face off on Saturday in the race to succeed the late Rep. Ron Wright of Texas, who died in February from COVID-19 and complications from cancer.

For Democrats, the race for the state's 6th Congressional District will test just how tossup-friendly the Republican-leaning area has become since November. Meanwhile, the field of Republicans will echo the national trend of competing under the specter of former President Donald Trump.

PHOTO: A sign points potential voters to an official polling location in Dallas, Feb. 26, 2020. (Lm Otero/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: A sign points potential voters to an official polling location in Dallas, Feb. 26, 2020. (Lm Otero/AP, FILE)

Trump had stayed out of the race until this week when he issued his "Complete and Total Endorsement" to the late congressman's widow, Susan Wright. The move bypassed two former members of his own administration who are also in the running -- Brian Harrison of the Health and Human Services Department and Sery Kim, who worked at the Small Business Administration -- as well as Wright's former GOP rival, state Rep. Mike Ellzey.

The crowded contest is likely to go into a runoff, but it remains to be seen whether Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez -- who lost to the late congressman in 2018 -- will be able to capitalize on the gains her party made across the state in the fall to break through as one of the top two contenders.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News congressional correspondent Rachel Scott, who tells us how families of Black men killed by police are pushing Washington lawmakers for reform legislation. Boston Children's Hospital Chief Innovation Officer and ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein explains why many people aren't even aware they need a second COVID vaccine dose and what can be done about it. And D'Arcy Maine from our partners at ESPN examines the latest Tokyo Olympics COVID handbook. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight's Politics Podcast. President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in office with his first address to a joint session of Congress. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Galen Druke speaks with senior writer Perry Bacon Jr. and FiveThirtyEight contributor Julia Azari about the goals Biden outlined in his speech, his governing strategy so far and how the public is responding. https://53eig.ht/330g63B

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND

President Joe Biden receives the president's daily brief at 10 a.m. The president and first lady Jill Biden travel to Philadelphia, where he delivers remarks at an event for Amtrak's 50th anniversary Vice President Kamala Harris travels to Cincinnati. At 12:20 p.m., she participates in a roundtable discussion on how the administration's investments in public transit will create jobs and grow the economy. The first lady participates in the planting of a new tree on the White House north grounds by the National Park Service for Arbor Day at 10:30 a.m. The White House COVID-19 Response Team and public health officials hold a briefing at 11 a.m. The Democratic National Committee's Executive Committee holds a virtual meeting at 2 p.m. Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, to promote the administration's infrastructure proposal. The California Democratic Party continues its 2021 state convention through the weekend. Saturday's speakers include the vice president, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Alex Padilla. Texas' 6th Congressional District special election to replace Rep. Ron Wright, who died in February, will be held Saturday. Sunday on ABC's "This Week": Co-anchor Martha Raddatz goes one-on-one with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen. Plus, New York Times South Asia Bureau Chief Jeffrey Gettleman, and Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health Dr. Ashish Jha join "This Week" Sunday. And the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week's politics with former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago Mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott and co-host of "All Things Considered" Audie Cornish.

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

Biden sets defining course for Democratic Party: The Note originally appeared on abcnews.go.com