Messages from the President
December 11 2020: The Long Road Ahead
Posted on December 11, 2020 at 12:00 AM
We live in unsettling times. Weeks after election day, and even though the election was called for VP Biden, the incumbent continues to lodge legal challenges in different states. Most are dismissed or dropped, but the President’s strident accusations of a stolen election grow louder. The Trump campaign has lost legal challenges in Michigan and Pennsylvania and withdrawn one in Arizona. Even the law firms who were working for the Trump campaign have dropped it as a client. However, Trump’s loyal base hangs on to his every word, and chants of “stop the steal” echoed across DC on November 14, where they held rallies. They, along with their leader, do not allow reality to intrude on their fantasies of electoral misconduct. The nation still awaits a concession speech from a cornered, scared President in denial.
It seems not to matter that President-elect Joe Biden has won a total of 306 electoral votes, flipping five states in the process. Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes catapulted Biden/Harris over the finish line, resulting in 276 total votes and the win, on Saturday, November 14. In Georgia, the close finish with Biden leading, resulted in a recount. The race was recently called for Biden/Harris and was powered by high turnout among Black voters in Atlanta, and some white suburban voters in the surrounding counties. Now the question remains whether the two Senate runoff races in Georgia will put the Democrats over the winning line or not. With the Senate in Republican hands and the Supreme Court 6–3 in their favor, the likelihood of the new administration achieving its goals will be that much harder without these wins. Thus, future success depends largely on big Democratic voter turnout in Georgia on January 5 to make the Senate 50–50, with the Vice President as the tie-breaker.
Once the spurious lawsuits are done and the Biden/Harris team takes charge, there is much to contend with. The COVID-19 pandemic requires a national strategy to bring it under control. The need for a new stimulus package is urgent. Economic recovery, education reform, racial equity, healthcare reform immigration policy, climate change and taxes are all issues needing attention and re-direction. Foreign policy issues like the Iran nuclear deal, a coherent China policy, the ever-evolving Middle East conundrum, public diplomacy, and human rights issues all need a reset.
Then there is the long-term big picture—issues that have boiled to the surface during the 4 years of the Trump administration. The importance of addressing presidential conflicts of interest and pardon power abuse. Tackling the growing cancer of foreign influence on elections aided and abetted by social media, even as it becomes a global phenomenon.
Trump’s assaults on the press with a co-opted law enforcement apparatus have created a toxic mix—how will future presidents be controlled in these areas. There are other festering problems, like Special Counsel procedures, FBI investigations of presidents and presidential campaigns, the role of the White House Counsel, war powers, control of nuclear weapons, violation of the emolument’s clause, domestic emergency powers, how to handle an outgoing president’s possible crimes, etc. The list is long and daunting. The solutions will not be easy. But they must be addressed, and resolutions found. Otherwise, the incoming administration stands to lose credibility at home and abroad. America has to come back from the brink. The Trump-tarnish must be washed off. It will be a long, hard road.
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club