Biden was talking, at that moment, about the “Park Avenue” crowd1 min read
Which is what he’s come to call a strata of America; big corporations, multi-millionaires and billionaires who he complained had long skirted tax rules. “For too long, the working class of our country has been dealt out, it’s time to deal them back in again,” he said.
For years, he has been making this case, crafting a public persona as a pugilist for the American working class. But in recent months, the messaging has taken on elevated importance. His presidency rests on passing a massive social spending and climate bill through Congress in the next few weeks or months. And in order to do that, he’s sold it as a generational chance to create economic equity.
Scranton was an obvious backdrop, tailor-made to provoke a sense of working class America. Biden had crafted his 2020 presidential campaign around these ideas too, a Robinhood-themed agenda, minus the actual thievery. It was Scranton vs. Park Avenue—the place of his birth held up as the very symbol of the plight of the average family against the extravagances of the wealthy.
But scripts like this aren’t always without complications. And what Biden has found out is that populism may sell electorally but it doesn’t always translate into legislative language.