by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Buried on page 95 of Joe Biden’s COVID plan is an odd reference.
The plan outlines a special task force, consisting of “health equity” experts with “lived experience,” that will develop recommendations to address data challenges associated with the pandemic—”including data intersectionality.”
“Data intersectionality” sounds radical, but its definition is prosaic: establishing links between data sets or analyzing “data that cuts across race, gender, and other identities”—two things the government has been doing since the pandemic began.
Whatever the working definition of the term—the White House did not respond to request for comment—it’s but one example of the spirit that animates the Biden plan, which consists of commonsense recommendations cloaked in radical jargon.
Again and again, the 200-page document disguises pragmatism as progressivism, using ideologically charged language to describe a mostly moderate set of policies. To wit: Biden’s plan endorses targeted outreach to rural communities, reopening schools and businesses, and expanding vaccine eligibility to adults 65 and older. Taking a page from the populist playbook, it even calls to “secure the pandemic supply chain” so that the United States “is not dependent on other countries in a crisis”—the kind of industrial policy for which several Republican senators, including Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), have expressed support.
But almost all of these proposals are framed in far-left terms. Liberals and conservatives alike have wondered which wing of the Democratic Party, the reformist or the radical, will win out under Biden. If his early executive orders suggested the latter, his COVID plan offers tentative evidence for the former—provided leftists receive a rhetorical bone.
The plan throws them one with its focus on “equity,” which it says has “been integrated throughout the entirety of” Biden’s COVID response. …