The transition from candidate to president provides critical clues as to how he is likely to rule. Above everything else, politics is a team sport. Therefore, the first tells of a president-elect’s hand is who he reaches out to as personal staff and those being considered for cabinet positions. The experience of the various candidates can say a lot about the priorities being placed on multiple issues.
The best presidents may not be the smartest in a bookish sense—neither are they necessarily the ones with a strong sense of self. High marks are to be given to a president who under-stands his strengths and weaknesses and is not threatened by staff who may be smarter than them on different issues. No single person can manage the federal bureaucracy.
This is the first article of an occasional series that puzzles out for readers whether and how the President-Elect intends to make good on the Biden plan for a clean energy revolution and environmental justice within today’s political context. It begins with a story of conflict between a president with the most progressive policy agenda since Frank Roosevelt and a Republican Senate majority looking to keep the Senate and capture the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
With the Nov. 7 news that Joe Biden became President-elect fresh on our minds, we paused to consider our initial reactions to the results and what those results mean for the ongoing effort to protect our environment. Biden’s win is a victory, to be sure, but there are so many other factors that matter on the forward path. What will Biden’s administration face when the dust settles over Georgia’s Senate seats? A Republican majority or a 50-50 split? What will be Biden’s plan for his first 100 days? There are also questions to consider about what Democrats want now, and whether there will be a deepening divide there. We look at these issues and more in this first look at the outcome of the 2020 elections.
It's the morning after the day before, and the only sure thing is the election bodes badly for Mother Earth and the Democrats. Make no mistake—climate change was front and center in the 2020 elections. President Trump and a majority of Congressional Republicans are unlikely to feel any special urge to do much about Earth’s warming or to enact science-based policies.
Even should Biden win the White House, Senate Republicans will have outsized control over what gets passed by Congress. Majority Leader McConnell will leverage his stopping powers whether approving Biden's cabinet and judicial nominees or appropriating the funds needed to put his policies in play. Depending on the final vote tallies, some 2020 elections will be better than others. How you view them will rest on whether you're a half-full or half-empty kinda person. Under any circumstance, the 2020 federal election is a setback to the nation's tran-sition to a low-carbon economy compared to what it could have been had the polls been right.
Joel B. Stronberg
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.