Both the pandemic and economic downturn can be battled only by a president with a robust policy mandate. The pandemic itself will require major changes to health care—making the vaccine (when discovered) free, extending free health coverage to undocumented immigrants, mandating that employers give generous sick leave, and providing relief for hard-hit industries. These will need to be paralleled by equally robust economic policies.
Given already low interest rates, a stalling global economy, and the need for new infrastructure (both for its own sake and also to prepare for climate change), this is the ideal time for a president who isn’t afraid to argue for big structural changes and to go full Keynesian. But that’s exactly the president that Biden would not be. He’s running to be a business-as-usual president. Given the real problems facing the world, that’s a dangerous risk.