When Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president on Jan. 20, 2021, he and Dr. Jill Biden should move into Blair House, the president’s guesthouse, for a few weeks while the White House living quarters are fumigated and fixed up. There is nothing like making a clean break with the past and ‘clean’ is the operative word. Maybe by the time the Bidens move into the White House they will have gotten the vaccine to protect them from the coronavirus, but you can never be too careful. The Trumps will be adding to the problem with their planned super-spreader Christmas parties and other events.
Getting rid of Trump reminders may take some time. While he didn’t take the solid gold toilet offered by the Guggenheim Museum and its creator after the museum turned down his request to borrow a Van Gogh, pictures of Trump’s apartment in New York indicate there will be many other garish touches the Bidens will surely want to get rid of.
The Blair House is just across the street and though I understand there is no underground passage to the White House he could be driven across the street each morning to use the Oval Office, which will be easier and quicker to fumigate.
In all seriousness there will be many things the new president will have to deal with and I am sure there will be surprises the Trump administration leaves he will only uncover when he and his administration are in office. There are all kinds of shenanigans Trump may try with his right-wing know-nothings in the remaining weeks. The new schedule F category of federal employees just one of them.
It is clear Biden will not get all his Cabinet nominees approved right away and some Republicans in the Senate will never vote to confirm, which makes it all the more crucial Democrats win the two run-off races in Georgia to take back the majority.
Trump may play fast and loose with foreign policy before he is out of office potentially leaving Biden with more than one major crisis, like Iran, to deal with immediately.
While Republicans had no problem adding to the deficit the past four years they will likely return to claiming to be deficit hawks to stymie Democratic proposals needed to stimulate the economy. This could endanger the host of issues Democrats said they would deal with, including college loan forgiveness, programs to ensure more judicial and economic equality, LGBTQ+ rights, climate issues and stimulus money for states and cities to avoid massive layoffs.
Biden will have to deal with issues in the Democratic Party. One will be crafting a message in preparation for the 2022 mid-term elections. There was an interesting column in the New York Times on why Democrats while winning the presidency lost most of their down-ballot races. Losing statehouses, state legislatures and city councils. It suggested if we allow the likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Justice Democrats and Democratic Socialists to set the messaging for the party we will lose both the Senate and the House of Representatives in 2022. While I favor many of the programs espoused by the progressive left they must recognize how the country votes and how the country views their proposals as currently presented. They will not make progress toward what they want if the messaging doesn’t change.
It’s not a matter of appeasing independents or Republicans, or becoming “Republican lite” as some call it. Rather it is developing messages that speak to people in a language they can accept and support.
We have moved many of the voters we need forward on social issues, which Republicans once used to scare them. They are now more comfortable with marriage equality and recognize there is systemic racism. We moved them on those issues and we can move them on others but they clearly aren’t ready to swallow the apple whole. We have to figure out how to get them to take it a bite at a time and enjoy it if we want to reach our goals. If we do that we can have a more equitable society and “form a more perfect union” with a clean environment and with respect for each other.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.
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