Hope has reentered the building with the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The official call took a bit longer than some of us had hoped, and the President has not yet conceded, but the time to break out a bottle of champagne and celebrate Biden’s win has arrived. Congratulations, Mr. President-Elect!
Joe Biden has called for national unity and promised to govern not just for those who voted for him but for the more than 70 million Americans who did not. We are confident he will attempt to do just that.
We are hopeful for the future. We expect the President-Elect to choose experienced, competent individuals to serve in the new government. We expect science to regain its proper position as a guide to addressing COVID-19, and we expect the new President will behave in a manner that won’t have to be apologized for to foreigners. And our long, national tweet-nightmare is finally coming to an end.
The challenges facing the new President are huge. The four most pressing challenges should guide his decisions on what legislation to press for in his first 100 days:
Addressing the pandemic. Build on efforts already underway to develop a safe vaccine and widely distribute it to Americans. Redouble efforts to get everyone to follow CDC guidelines as a means of addressing the current spike in infections.
Pass additional stimulus legislation. Millions of Americans are hurting economically. Passage of an additional stimulus bill is essential. Ideally, with bipartisan cooperation, one will be passed even before Inauguration Day. If not, passage of such a bill should be the new President’s top priority.
Revive the fight on climate change. The risk to our future from climate change far exceeds that of the coronavirus. We are relieved that the new President has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord on his first day in office. The President-elect also has promised to make climate change legislation one of his top priorities. We all need to support him.
Racial justice. The Black Lives Matter protests of the past summer were not just about police murders and misconduct. They were about long-standing and systemic racism. The new President must make racial justice a top priority of his administration. He needs to do this not just because of the overwhelming support he received from African Americans during the campaign, but because it is the right thing to do.
We are excited about our future. We hope all of us, including those of us disappointed in the election results, will join together to give Joe Biden a chance to lead. A united America is a stronger America and, given the mess we are currently in, we need as strong an America as is possible.
J.E. Dean and Maria Grant are Spy Columnists.