When Joe Biden launched his campaign for president in April 2019 the unemployment rate was 3.6%, the lowest it had been in nearly half a century. Now, months into a once-in-a-century public health crisis, unemployment in the US is nearly four times that, soaring to levels not seen since the Great Depression.
Millions of laid-off workers risk losing their health insurance while many Americans with jobs deemed essential are demanding more protections from their employers. It is only a matter of time before the death toll reaches 100,000.
During the Democratic primary, Biden spoke of restoring normalcy after four years of Donald Trump, frequently appealing to voters’ nostalgia for the presidency of Barack Obama. But now, as Biden faces the general election amid the deepening economic turmoil, the presumptive Democratic nominee is reaching for the legacy of another more radical American president: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“The blinders have been taken off,” Biden told supporters recently during a virtual fundraiser from his Delaware home, where he has been confined since March. “Because of this Covid crisis, I think people are realizing, ‘My Lord, look at what is possible. Look at the institutional changes we can make.’”
In recent weeks, Biden, who has climbed ahead […]