Your words reveal you as a real journalist, i.e. you are wise and highly knowledgeable, but your tone is jaded and you seem to have lowered your expectations ;). Your description of a “big success” is an updated voting rights bill passed by the end of 2022? God help us if that’s what passes for success after all we’ve just lived through the past four years.
Allow me to reframe expectations. We have 50+ House committees and 300+ Democratic representatives, and each representative has a half dozen or more aides. And they have all the money they need, or the ability to get it. So they could form groups, one per issue, and outsource the generation of ideas and proposals. Crowdsource it, or find non-profits, or create task forces, or whatever. They can get all the people they need, and get multiple groups working simultaneously on every major reform that is needed: education, media propaganda, jobs, corporate governance, financial regulation, economic development, wealth inequality, police reform, etc.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s called parallel processing, or divide-and-conquer. You work all the problems at the same time by having some people handle one problem and other people handle other problems.
How did we come to think that it’s normal for government to have one priority at a time? Is Biden personally involved with forming each piece of legislation? Does every House member participate in the conception of every piece of legislation? Of course not.
There is absolutely no reason why “normal” should be one major reform package every two years. Refusal to multitask is killing us.
In the real world of business, and in war, we scale up and parallelize our efforts as needed, to keep pace with needs as they appear. Imagine if Apple said “Hold on, we’re working on iPhone 13 this quarter. We’re going to do privacy next, and then electric cars, and then iPhone 14.” They would be a joke. So why should we think this way when it comes to Congress?
Personally, I demand results. I’m going to be really pissed off in 2022 if the Democrats don’t try to make DC and Puerto Rico into states, pack the Supreme Court, and amend the Constitution, in addition to passing an upgraded voting rights act. Plus I expect a lot more, and I insist that it’s not unrealistic. Parallelize.
There’s a reason why “Burn it all down" polls so well, and it isn’t Boomers' fear of change or non-college workers' exasperation with flat wages and declining industrial jobs. It’s the unwillingness/inability/ineptitude of a government that does not try to address issues at a pace that feels responsive.
“Nothing gets done” is how people express this feeling. Both parties have normalized the expectation that one major policy proposal per presidential term is good work. This is hurting all of us, and it’s an entirely fixable problem. People are outraged at how little government gets done, and that’s what got Trump elected. The appeal of a dictator is his/her potential for faster, bolder decision-making. People voted for Trump because he promised to get shit done. And to the extent he said he was trying and people believed him, he earned many of their votes a second time.