Full of excitement and promise
Five months ahead of election day (a point at which many theorists believe voters solidify their choices), Democrats seem poised to win the White House and the Senate, while retaining control of the House. 2016 left us all chastened by our overconfidence, but the skittishness that experience induces in 2020 is exaggerated.
Biden will enter office confronting multiple and significant crises – a public health emergency likely to remain untamed well into the new year, and an economy repeatedly roiled by the virus. Done right, that work is likely all-consuming, at least in the early stages of a Biden administration.
But that doesn’t mean Biden’s mission to “restore the soul of the nation” must be set aside. The problems before us are well understood. They weren’t created by Trump, merely exploited and exacerbated by him.
To that end, Biden should task his Vice-Presidential nominee with leading a working group of policy experts, Democratic lawmakers, advocacy organizations, and others to produce legislation IN ADVANCE of the inauguration that House and Senate Democratic leaders could begin deliberating on Day One in the 117th Congress.
Biden will have clear running room to wipe the dirty slate clean and set the stage to enable America to resume its world leadership in all sectors of life.
Here is what his plan should entail:
—electoral reform—review the jumble of historical reasons for the electoral college and the possibility that a President can get elected (even twice!) with less votes than their opponent. There may be good reasons why smaller states fear domination by larger states, which is why they’re overrepresented in the Senate in the first place, but those reasons cannot EVER justify having a President who loses the popular vote!
—racial reform—the time has COME! There is systemic racism in lots of places, so it’s pretty clear we need systemic reform. By all means, start with the police. The culture of “protect our own” and the police unions are a big part of the problem. Training is crucial, but so is accountability, and deadly force should never be justified except in the face of deadly threats. Even then, we’re still only talking about one aspect of a much larger problem. We’ll need initiatives just as ambitious (and difficult) in economics, education, criminal justice, reproductive rights and many other areas.
—vocational and educational reform—education needs more help — in particular vocational training, which once fueled the nation’s manufacturing greatness. It has deteriorated more than general education, which is beset by its own issues of access and equality.
–health care reform and world health—the coronavirus has brought much-needed health necessities into even sharper focus. First and foremost, anticipation of and preparation for systemic problems has to be dramatically improved. There are also issues of equity in the access to and delivery of health care services.
–restoration of global leadership—historically the US has built and maintained relationships around the world based on openness and trust. Trump has destroyed a lot of that, through a combination of ignorance, incompetence and intransigence, but the foundation is still there and can, one hopes, be rebuilt rather quickly under the leadership of an informed and trusted President.
—economic, tax and private sector reform—there is a ton of vital stuff that needs attention. Deregulation under Trump has opened floodgates of abuse; the disparity between rich and poor has widened; tax burdens favor the rich and target “blue state” residents; and the three sectors that MUST work intelligently together for any real progress to be made – private, non-profit and government.
–state’s rights and sectional realignment—the lines between the Federal government and State and local government have been scrambled badly and must be sorted out immediately. There is more vital interdependence around the country that has fractured than we yet know that needs to be identified and addressed.
This is not intended to be a complete list of the ‘better way ahead’ Biden promises but it is the tip of the iceberg we should hope for as his Presidency gets underway!