December 1, 2020 - 7:00am

With less than two months two go until Joe Biden’s inauguration, the President-elect has been busy filling up cabinet posts with various Obama-era appointees. These appointments have been met with some criticism by those on the Left, who argue that — in the face of a global pandemic, a flagging economy and impending climate crisis — they are not nearly bold enough.

Freddie Sayers spoke to historian and sociologist of the Left Harvey Kaye, a supporter of Bernie Sanders, who has subsequently become more critical. As a professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, he lives in one of America’s most politically competitive states, offering a front row seat at the rise of Donald Trump. His warning in this interview is clear: that it was exactly the kind of neoliberal policies that Biden seems likely to return to that got the billionaire into power.

According to Professor Kaye, the only way for Biden to meet the challenges of today is by returning to the Rooseveltian tradition in the party. He argues that the last 45 years has seen a steady decline in the relationship between the Democrat Party and the American working class, which was perfectly encapsulated by the uninspiring cast of candidates in the Democratic primaries. Even Bernie Sanders drifted too close to the centre and should have done more to challenge his rivals on issues like free healthcare.

It’s not often that you hear the idea that Bernie Sanders was not radical enough, and it was interesting getting a new perspective from such a distinguished historian on the Left. We hope you agree!