If the polls are to be believed, Joe Biden is about to be elected president. And if history is any indicator, Democrats will assume they have a mandate. Parties and movements that win power almost always assume the public endorses what they think have been selling. They usually don’t. Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1994 might be the poster child for this phenomenon, but it’s a predictable pitfall of a winning campaign.
The worst disasters occur when people get elected (or re-elected) and try to implement policies that weren’t even litigated during the election, much less decided. That’s probably too strong. I’m sure “fixing Social Security” was in all George W. Bush’s stump speeches, it’s just that I don’t think it was on anyone’s mind in November of 2004 (unless, maybe, they worked at the Heritage Foundation).
This is where Democrats may find themselves. If Joe Biden gets elected, it would be wrong to conclude anything other than the fact that Americans were fed up with Donald Trump. Indeed, Not Being Donald Trump is Biden’s entire raison d’être. But as a friend of mine recently put it, not being Trump is a campaign promise Biden keeps on day one. Then what?