I was asked to express my thoughts on Joe Biden’s election and where I think the country is after he has secured 270 electoral votes. I could have been asked to do something a lot easier, like soak my clothes in gasoline and run into a burning building. So here goes.
Where do I think the country is – divided. It would have been the same had President Trump won. That should not come as a surprise to anyone. With that said I want to make it clear that there is not a single reputable news outlet in the country that has been able to report any credible instances of election fraud. Likewise, when specifically questioned about proof of fraud in court, President Trump’s attorneys have had to admit that they have no credible examples. The real questions are where we go from here and how we get there?
First, there are a lot of unsubstantiated rumors floating around on the internet alleging this or that. Not everything on the internet is true. Court decisions have made that clear. Conspiracy theories are not facts. I would contend that this may have been the most transparent election in my lifetime. Election officials knew there would be intense scrutiny on the counting process so have made sure everything was done appropriately. Lisa Schafer who leads the bipartisan County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania said: “The practical consequence of Trump’s call to vigilance to prevent fraud was increased scrutiny from both sides and this increased scrutiny seems to have worked. Election officials have been more careful, and election procedures have been followed more scrupulously than usual.”
Plus, I will be very honest. I believe this is an insult to poll workers (Republicans and Democrats) who worked hard at the polls on election day and afterward to imply (actually, not imply but flat out say it) they are dishonest. Perhaps a good start is for everyone to spend a little less time on Facebook for the next couple of weeks, stay off cable news, quit listening to conspiracy theories and read a good book.
What will a Biden presidency look like? I think we are already seeing signs of that. He is already putting together people for various positions, such as his Covid response team. One advantage Joe Biden has is he knows what needs to be done and what needs to be in place beginning day one. However, the transition needs to be made as smooth as possible rather than a refusal to cooperate. The daily business of government is still there. We are setting daily records for COVID infections, and our enemies are still our enemies. I think Biden’s advisors and cabinet will be composed of very capable and qualified people.
I was asked to give a liberal perspective, but that last statement is not a liberal or conservative one. It should be an expectation of all presidents to surround themselves with competent people. While final decisions ultimately belong to the president, and he needs to own them, the more competent people he has around him, the better decisions he will make.
What will a Biden presidency accomplish? That remains to be seen. COVID is still here. The Senate still has not done anything on a second stimulus package. Hopefully, they will do something before January but if they have not then that will be on the agenda. Even if Pfizer’s vaccine is effective, it will still be some time before it is ready for distribution. So, before that happens, we will see a much more organized and coordinated effort to deal with COVID. I suspect initial discussions have already begun on the most effective way to distribute the vaccine because that will not be an easy task either.
Infrastructure improvement has been talked about for four years and nothing has happened. There is plenty of room for a bipartisan agreement there. Climate change is real even if 3% of climate scientists deny it. The right tried to lay it on Biden that he is going to ban fracking and go all in on the New Green Deal. I do not think that will happen. However, part of the New Green Deal involves making buildings more energy efficient. That should be bipartisan. Another part of it involves updating to a more efficient energy grid. Our existing grid is outdated. That should be bipartisan. Part of it involves moving toward more renewal energy sources. The sun shines every day, and the wind blows all the time. There should not be a problem with more utilization of those energy sources. On foreign policy, President Biden will work to rebuild alliances with our allies.
One thing to remember is either the Senate will be evenly split, or the Republicans will have a slight majority. Even if President Biden was some far left person like the right tries to allege, the practical side of it is the margin in the Senate will be too narrow for a “far left” agenda, whatever that is. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is just talking to make noise. Will he push for some progressive ideas? I hope so. Remember the opposite of progressive is regressive. You are either going forward or going backward.
Status quo is not moving forward either. You ask any coach in any sport do you want your team to be progressive or regressive? They will say progressive. To put it another way, a coach wants the team to be better at the end of the season than at the beginning. They want the team to move forward. So, the question really is, if the Republicans have a slight majority, does Mitch McConnell want to work to forge bipartisan legislation or be an obstructionist? He did not get the nickname the Grim Reaper for nothing.
Regardless of how the right tried to define Joe Biden, he is a moderate and will govern as such. So, how much is the Senate willing to work with him? Joe Biden has longstanding ties in the Senate. Hopefully, he can use those to get legislation passed.
If he cannot, it brings up an interesting scenario. President Obama was criticized by Republicans for using executive orders when the Senate would not even consider legislation. President Trump used even more executive orders than President Obama, even when his own party would not support his ideas. Therefore, one question is how often President Biden will be forced to use executive orders or can Congress get together and work on bipartisan legislation?
In conclusion, I do believe he will govern for everyone, not red states, and blue states. A Biden presidency will be orderly and organized. He will surround himself with competent people, he will listen to them before he makes decisions, and he will own his decisions. He will be respectful to our allies and not coddle dictators.
Will Democrats and Republican differ on a lot of stuff? Absolutely. However, there is still plenty of middle ground they can agree to if they try. You do not always have to throw a touchdown bomb. Three yards and a cloud of dust moves the ball down the field, too.