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A 'transition candidate': Where is America headed next?46:56
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U.S. President Joe Biden listens to leaders from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) after seeing the first image from the new Webb Space Telescope in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium on July 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. According to NASA, the telescope images are the highest-resolution images of the infrared universe ever captured. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Joe Biden listens to leaders from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) after seeing the first image from the new Webb Space Telescope in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's South Court Auditorium on July 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. According to NASA, the telescope images are the highest-resolution images of the infrared universe ever captured. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

During the 2020 Presidential campaign, Joe Biden called himself a "transition candidate." With 18 months on the job, where has President Joe Biden taken the country, if anywhere new?

"I think he's trying to move us back to some version of what he thought we were or what folks thought we were," political activist Angela Peoples says. "And the reality is, there is no going back. There's only an ability to go forward."

But with so much gridlock in Washington, "How do we transition to a government that actually functions on behalf of the American people?" Democratic political strategist Mike Lux says.

Today, On Point: the "transition candidate," where he's brought the nation and where his party wants to go next.

Guests

Mike Lux, Democratic political strategist. Co-founder of Democracy Partners and Mike Lux Media. (@ProgressiveLux)

Jonathan Lemire, White House Bureau Chief at Politico. Host of "Way Too Early" on MSNBC. Author of the upcoming book "The Big Lie: Election Chaos, Political Opportunism, and the State of American Politics after 2020." (@JonLemire)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

Also Featured

Angela Peoples, organizer, activist and political strategist. Co-founder and CEO of The South. (@MsPeoples)

Show Transcript: Activist Angela Peoples on President Biden's 18 months in the Oval Office

Kimberly Atkins Stohr: So, we’ve been talking a lot about how Biden’s been doing so far. Let’s hear now from someone who voted for him in 2020 – but reluctantly. Angela Peoples is 35-years-old and a political activist and organizer based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She is co-founder of The South, which describes itself as a lifestyle brand where unapologetic Black culture defines political power. She actively supported Elizabeth Warren in 2020, but after she dropped out in March, Angela said voting for Biden was her only option.

Angela Peoples: But I don't at all think that me casting that vote for him in November 2020 was the thing that was going to enact the vision of the country that I wanted, right? That was basically — how do you say — harm reduction, for lack of a better word, at the very least. Voting for Biden would prevent some of the harm that I knew was going to happen if Donald Trump was the President. But it certainly was not a vote in favor of the future that I think this country deserves.

Atkins Stohr: Now Biden’s been in office for 18 months, Angela isn’t too impressed. She thinks he’s stuck in the past.

Peoples: I think that there's just this nostalgia for a a bygone time of, you know, when people came together in these different situations, and you could put your politics aside on particular issues. It's just not happening. In fact, the country, as well as the political leaders, are more and more partisan. And I think he's trying to move us back to some version of what he thought we were or what folks thought we were. And the reality is, there is no going back. There's only an ability to go forward. But I just don't think that he has a vision for what is ahead of us and who we can become as a country and as a people.

Atkins Stohr: And she’s also upset that Biden hasn’t come through on some big issues he promised to take action on, such as student debt forgiveness. She also says issues involving black women --a voter base - she says - that really came through for him in 2020 — has been forgotten.

Peoples: President Biden made a big to do when he was running for office about Black women, about Black communities and why we should vote for him. And I think that it's important to note that he's not delivered on the kitchen table issues that are important to our community. You know, it's certainly historic to have Kamala Harris as the Vice President and to have Justice Brown Jackson on the Supreme Court. Those are certainly historical things.

But when it comes to the issues that are going to impact the material conditions of Black women's lives, especially — you know, childcare, paternity leave, student debt, you know, voting rights, these are issues that the Biden administration simply has not delivered on. And I think he owes Black voters, especially Black women, more.

Atkins Stohr: Besides her gripes with how much more Biden could be doing, she also has issues with the direction of the Democratic Party as a whole.

Peoples: There is such an unwillingness to accept the new energy and the new enthusiastic blood within the party. And there's much more of an attempt to just keep the same old folks that have been maintaining the status quo for so long. And I do find that to be a bit discouraging. And I think that it's it does not bode well for the future of the Democratic Party.

Atkins Stohr: That was Angela Peoples. She’s a political activist and organizer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

This program aired on July 21, 2022.

Related:

Paige Sutherland Twitter Producer, On Point
Paige Sutherland is a producer for On Point.

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Kimberly Atkins Stohr Twitter Guest Host, On Point
Kimberly Atkins is a senior opinion writer and columnist for Boston Globe Opinion. She's also a frequent guest host for On Point. She formerly was a senior news correspondent for WBUR.

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