With the votes finally counted in the days-long 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden has emerged victorious in both the popular and the electoral vote with a comfortable margin. The “Trumpists” unfounded accusations of election fraud have been drowned out by nationwide celebrations that have demonstrated a new hope for America’s future. Despite the devastating political, economic, environmental, and societal impact the Trump administration has had on our country, it appears that America has finally found a much-needed silver lining during an overwhelmingly tragic year. However, it is clear to millions of Americans that the fight for a more just, equitable society is far from over, which has left many to ask: What now?
What We Can Expect Out of a Biden Administration
Although it is true that many of America’s problems will not be fixed just by Trump’s removal, it is important to recognize that Biden’s victory was a necessary step in steering the country back towards a progressive direction. Today’s historic win has opened opportunities for meaningful action on the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, fairer tax brackets, police reform, and affordable healthcare. The scale and nature of these policies will depend on whether Democrats take the Senate in Georgia’s runoff election that will take place in early January. It is best to save important discussions regarding policy that would require Congressional approval for later when we will know the final state of the Senate.
It is no secret that the power of the executive branch has expanded exponentially in the past decade largely due to Congress’ inability to pass any significant legislation, a harmful trend that began during Obama’s first term as president. Trump has repeatedly tested the limits of the executive branch’s power through a number of controversial executive orders that have occasionally crossed the line of legality. It is likely that the strengthened power of the executive branch will be wielded by a Biden administration in order to enact various progressive policies such as forgiving student debt, decriminalizing marijuana, re-entering the Paris Climate Accords, and removing all of Trump’s disastrous immigration policies.
Perhaps the most valuable quality of a Biden administration would be a competent cabinet and a president that will lead with an underlying message of unity, compassion, and democracy. It is important to remember that Trump’s unqualified, corrupt cabinet made up of corporate puppets such as Betsy DeVos, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Bill Barr, and Jared Kusher will all be gone with him. A few names have already been floating around as potential Biden cabinet picks, some of which include progressive superstars such as senators Bernie Sanders for labor secretary and Elizabeth Warren for treasury secretary. Regardless of whether progressive or centrist democrats get chosen for certain cabinet positions, we can at least expect competent cabinet members capable of faithfully executing their duty in office.
The Concerning, Uncertain Future of Trumpism
No president in modern American history has garnered a following as large and loyal as Donald Trump has. During the past four years, fervorous Trump supporters have demonstrated increasing levels of delusion and ignorance for their king. This level of insanity peaked during the days of the election, when government officials and popular conservative political “pundits,” all in absolute support of President Trump, distributed misinformation across social media platforms for their followers to spread, purposely undermining faith in our country’s democratic process.
Given the fact that Trumpists have essentially attempted to undermine our democracy, it should be no surprise that one of the greatest concerns is whether the cult of Trumpism will rage deep into a Biden administration or manifest itself into something worse.
No amount of knowledge in statistics, social science, or even psychology can give us a definitive answer to this question. We will simply have to concerningly wait and see how major events will unfold in the next few months. However, it was no secret that “Trumpists” have always existed, and it was only a matter of time before a candidate would mobilize this portion of the population for his own political gain by being outright with his racism, xenophobia, and overall bigotry.
As for Donald Trump himself, there is a serious possibility that he may be indicted for tax evasion or real-estate fraud after he (hopefully) steps down from power. Assuming he is not prosecuted, it is not unlikely for Trump to abuse his Twitter account, which currently has over 88 million followers, to bombard the public with misinformation and conspiracy theories as he did during Obama’s presidency.
Despite the fact we will likely continue to hear from Trump after he is removed from office, I have faith that although Trump himself will never move on, America will, and a Biden administration will commit itself to healing the country from Trump’s crippling partisanship.
Democracy Is More Than Just Elections
It is critical to understand that this historic victory will mean nothing if it is not met with the same level of historic activism we have seen these last few months. By its nature, democracy is built around the fundamental belief that people, when given the power, will hold their governments accountable and demand the policy that they want. Voting is a crucial part of democracy, but there will inevitably be times where Biden will frustrate us during his term, and we will have to pressure him in order to obtain the change that we truly want.
As the famous civil rights activist and Congressman John Lewis once said: “Democracy is not a state. It is an act”. It is our obligation, as the people, to wield the powers granted to us by our democracy and demand the change we want out of governments, regardless of who is in office.
Title Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images