The first step towards a better future began on January 20th with the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, along with a most inspiring poem by Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman. However, the new Biden administration faces enormous challenges, which need to be outlined before one can contemplate a best-case scenario.
In addition to winning the war against COVID, there remains the need to address all the problems that have plagued the country for too many decades, and some since confederation. To name the most challenging, there is exponentially increasing income inequality, ongoing racism, a failing economy, too much power invested in the banks and Wall Street, climate change, pollution, a hamstrung legislative system, chronic drug and alcohol addiction, rising numbers of homeless people, a broken immigration system, the lack of adequate public health care, a preponderance of unhealthy processed food, an economy dependent on war profiteering, an undemocratic electoral system, a decaying educational system and an immoral, deceitful, brain-washing, right-wing media. Perhaps the greatest challenge is that the country remains deeply divided, given that 74 million people voted for a corrupt, criminal president that was responsible for well over 400,000 deaths and untold misery.
While Biden can reverse some of Trump’s damage through executive orders that began on day one, he will need to pass legislation in order to effectively set the country on a positive course. Unfortunately, Congress still operates under the same rules put in place by Southern senators to halt civil rights legislation. Having a slim majority in the Senate is not sufficient as long as the Republicans use the filibuster which requires a supermajority of 60 senators to overcome. Thus, unless Biden can recruit nine Republican senators to pass bills, there is little chance for achieving the changes needed to reset U.S. democracy and move the country forward in the 21st century.
Consequently, Biden must make every effort possible to change the minds of millions of Americans with the hope of gaining a significant majority in two years. To achieve this goal, he will need to convince many of the 74 million Trump supporters over the next two years that Democrats are indeed making their lives better, something that Trump only boasted about while he was busy doing the reverse. All the crimes of the last four years must be exposed! As well, the Biden administration must seek consequences for those Republicans who played a role in the January 6th insurrection, as well as somehow clearly make obvious that Trump and his cronies were not saviours but corrupt politicians that only sought to further enrich the already too wealthy, including themselves.
If and only if a sizable number of former Trump loyalists are somehow made to come to their senses and understand how they had been cheated and lied to, will the country be able to move forward. Thus, the best-case scenario must begin with healing the divisions to unite the country by improving the lives of all citizens.
There is no doubt that most of year one will be focused on finally providing a comprehensive and coordinated effort to reduce COVID numbers as well as vaccinating as many people as possible. Once the numbers of new cases drop significantly, the next step will be to revive the economy by focusing on efforts to lift the economically challenged out of poverty by using environmentally friendly initiatives that promote a reduction in the use of fossil fuels.
Much of the support that resulted in the election of Trump was due to the massive amount of distrust of the Democrats because of the loss of jobs in the Rust Belt as companies moved their operations offshore to take advantage of lower wage workers in Asia and Mexico, when the Clinton administration brought in free trade. Biden will need the best minds to come up with solutions to reverse a shrinking middle class and provide better wages for low-income workers. Re-tooling factories to produce solar panels and windmills and training technicians to install and maintain these alternative energy systems will certainly help with the transition to a future without fossil fuels.
The educational system needs to be drastically overhauled by redirecting funding away from private schools, hiring more teachers, modernizing the curriculums and providing free post-secondary educations for those who need it. Youth are the country’s future, and they need the tools, the knowledge and the inspiration in order for society to progress.
As the extremely wealthy have continued to gain yet more wealth, poverty has intensified to the point the U.S. looks more like a third world country than the leader of the free world. Taxes for both individuals and corporations must increase significantly for all those who can afford to pay more. In addition, all the money hidden in offshore tax havens needs to be exposed and taxed. For years, large corporations like Walmart, General Electric and General Dynamics have escaped paying their rightful share of taxes and some have even received refunds. This must end.
If the government and its citizens do not recognize the absurdity and waste of spending trillions of dollars on immoral, unjust wars and war machines, while a virus has killed more Americans than World War Two, they must see the disconnect now or be willfully blind to reality and forever stuck in a military mindset. It is time to cancel all military contracts and retool the factories to create new jobs that produce products for improving lives rather than taking them. Soon, the troops will be needed at home to respond to the ever-growing number of climate change emergencies, as storms, fires, droughts and floods ravish the country.
Thus, for the next two years the best-case scenario is that the Biden administration achieves success in eradicating the pandemic, significantly improving the lives of its citizens and makes great progress in addressing the long list of challenges above. If they are able to accomplish these goals, then it will set the stage for a strong showing in the next election. Once the Democrats have the majority they need, then the last two years of the election can be dedicated to making the changes needed to improve democracy by ending the filibuster rule and the Electoral College and ensuring that all citizens have an equal right to vote.
Success at the national level will also hopefully be mirrored at the state level, because it will be necessary to turn more red states into blue states in order to reverse gerrymandering and ensure democracy is restored at all levels of government. Then after four years of middle of the road politics, citizens will be ready for progressives to take the helm and finally move the country to where it needs to go to ensure real peace and prosperity and heal the planet. Once the United States has significantly healed, the entire world will benefit, especially Canada.
Some key links for more information:
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FILIBUSTER – NY TIMES ARTICLE
Robert Reich explains how to restore democracy – Trump left behind a monstrous predicament. Here’s how to tackle it