April 19, 2021

The Little Magazine That Incubated Team Biden

“There’s not much pizazz,” said Michael Tomasky, the journal’s editor since 2009.

But if The New Republic of the 1990s was “the in-flight magazine of Air Force One” during the Bill Clinton years, as it was described in the film “Shattered Glass,” then Democracy could play a similar role in the Biden era.

In a 2016 essay for Democracy, “Confronting the Pandemic Threat,” Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, sounded a warning that now seems prescient. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, argued in a 2018 Democracy essay that, despite the anti-Washington rhetoric that had energized many voters in recent years, most Americans would welcome ambitious federal programs.

Cabinet-level officials from the administration of President Barack Obama have lately used Democracy as a medium for sending advice to their successors. The economist Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Mr. Obama, directly addressed Mr. Biden’s team members in an essay that adopted an older-sibling tone.

“No one needs to check anything with you or listen to you, let alone do what you say,” he wrote. “You do have one power: the opportunity to persuade. If people think you have some useful insights or inputs, might be right in what you say, and are generally a helpful member of the team, then you just might be able to shape some of the most important decisions the president will make and help to make positive policy happen.”

Under the last Democratic president, the journal helped make political careers. Elizabeth Warren, then a Harvard Law School professor, published an essay in the Summer 2007 issue arguing for the creation of a federal agency to regulate mortgages and credit cards. She later helped advise Mr. Obama as the idea was realized as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/28/business/media/democracy-magazine-biden.html

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