September 05, 2020

Joe Biden builds up his presidential transition team

In 2008, the left wing of the Democratic Party felt shut out of the Obama transition effort. 

Amid an historic financial crisis, Barack Obama filled key jobs with holdovers of the moderate Clinton economic team like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, who liberals felt were more focused on rescuing big banks than the people losing their homes.

“The progressive approach to the transition in 2008 was not organized,” said Jeff Hauser, the director of The Revolving Door Project, which he founded in 2015 to dig deep on executive branch appointees in anticipation of the next Democratic administration. “It was a defeat.”

So for the last decade, Hauser and a small group of liberal activists have been quietly organizing in the wonky world of transition politics to prevent a repeat of 2008. Their goal in 2020: make a prospective Biden administration look more like a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren administration. And they see an opportunity to get some of their agenda enacted through the 4,000-plus appointees Biden would need to pick should he win.

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