Nearly 50 years to the day since he first entered politics, Joe Biden — erstwhile vice president, decades-long veteran of the Senate, national avatar of avuncularity — has been chosen as the next president of america. Wish him luck. He’ll need it.
His first challenge will be to steer the country through the hazards of the coming weeks. The full and last election numbers will take time to wrap up, and assorted valid gambits will want to be resolved. These nearly certainly won’t change the result, but they risk fuelling anger and instability. Until the matter is settled and Trump quits the stage — doubtless insisting, as he goes, that he was once robbed — Biden will want to be a patient and steadying influence.
And this effort can’t be confined to the weeks between now and taking office. The election was once closer than many expected, and Biden will have to be cautious approximately claiming a mandate for radical change. He and the Democrats will have to press their agenda, to make certain — while aiming to win the broadest conceivable enhance. That means understanding and attending to the concerns of the many Americans who voted for Trump even as they recognised his flaws. Bringing the country together is something Biden, unlike Trump, will need to do. Seeing the need is a wonderful start.
Such curative might be Biden’s greatest challenge — but it’s by no means the only one. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified in recent weeks. Some 235,000 Americans have died, more than 50,000 are currently hospitalised, and plenty of states and cities are once again on the point of crisis. Biden needs to depoliticise the pandemic and remind Americans of their mutual interest in keeping it at bay. The country can’t waste more time on culture-war imbroglios over mask-wearing. Biden will have to work with state governors and health officials to marshal the unified national response — emphasising personal responsibility and a shared sense of duty.
His next task is to receive the economy back on the right track. It’s conceivable that Trump will negotiate in good faith with Democrats on another round of relief measures all over the lame-duck session. But don’t count on it. With the makeup of the next Senate still uncertain, Biden will have to be prepared to work with both parties to pass a invoice that supports ailing state and city governments, prudently extends supplemental unemployment benefits, and offers extra targeted relief for low-wage workers. Biden regularly talked approximately his bipartisan deal-making skills on the crusade trail; he’ll need them to receive this sort of invoice passed.
The new president also needs to push reforms that respond to Trump’s repeated abuses of power. House Democrats introduced a raft of such measures in September, including provisions meant to curtail abuses of the pardon power, prevent presidents from making the most of their office, and give protection to the integrity of the justice system. These are reforms that would serve the country polite irrespective of who is president, and Republicans haven’t any proper basis for opposing them. A deal on this type of invoice will have to help all sides.
In spite of everything, Biden will have to start work on restoring The us’s standing on the earth. This week, the U.S. formally quit the Paris accord on climate change, having provided notice final year that it would. That decision must be reversed as quickly as conceivable, in order that The us can play its part in this imperative global effort. Trump disdained international cooperation of the type Biden has long championed, leaving the country’s traditional friendships and alliances in tatters. Biden will have to work to repair them.
Mending The us itself won’t be so easy. Over more than 18 long months on the crusade trail, Joe Biden articulated no great overarching vision and proposed no revolutions. His most ardent promise was once simply a return to normality: to moderately competent governance, a less divisive politics, and a civic life free from the chaos and corruption of the Trump era. Whether he achieves only that over the next four years, he’ll have done the country a great service.
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