Remember when Joe Biden ran for president in what commentators called the “centrist” lane of the Democratic primaries? The idea was that a “moderate” like Biden, unlike rival Bernie Sanders, would not push radical plans to completely change American society. That would reassure non-progressive Democrats, and independents, too, that Biden would be a safe choice for president. They didn’t want to remake the world. They just wanted things to get better.
You could see the difference in the Democratic debates. To take one example, at a debate in November 2019, Sanders urged people to join him “if you want to be part of a movement that is not only going to beat Trump but transform America.” Biden’s pitch was much more modest; beating Trump and going back to the old ways were enough. “Let’s take back this country,” Biden said, “and lead the world again.”