If he hasn’t already done so by the time you read this, President Donald Trump should concede his election loss and stop grousing. It was a tough loss, but that’s politics. He should ponder what his role, if any, in politics will be now. Given his narrow margin of defeat, the strength of his coattails in gaining seats in the House and state legislatures and the likelihood of the GOP retaining control of the Senate, Mr. Trump is not likely to just fade from the scene and build houses for Habitat for Humanity. My guess is that he will continue to lead his party, give speeches, have someone help him write a book, provide unsolicited advice to the Biden Administration, support GOP candidates he favors in the mid-term elections and try to position himself to run again in 2024, pointing to his record of accomplishments, promises kept and the close 2020 election results. Personally, I hope he doesn’t. Another Trump campaign would be more excitement than I could handle at my age and more than he should at his.
The 2020 election will always have a special place in history because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the problems involved in dealing with massive amounts of mailed ballots resulting in litigation and recounts. In some states, notably Pennsylvania, judges extended deadlines in violation of the Constitution which assigns such authority to state legislatures. A precedent needs to be firmly set to discourage unelected judges from usurping the authority of state legislatures in setting rules for the conduct of elections. Notwithstanding, it should be clear that any minor changes to the vote count that could result would be insufficient to change the outcome. President Trump should concede now for the good of the country and his own legacy.
National attention now shifts to the Jan. 5 runoff election for Georgia’s two Senate seats which will determine which party will control the U.S. Senate and whether or not we will have divided government. To flip control of the Senate, Democrats must win both seats, raising their total to 50 which would allow a Vice-president Kamala Harris to break a 50-50 Senate vote. Unless he wishes to see a far-left agenda implemented starting next year, Mr. Trump should avoid saying or doing anything that could harm his party’s chances in these critical elections.
As for President-elect Joe Biden, since he says that this is a time to heal, he should tread softly, at least initially. It will be difficult enough to deal with GOP resentment over Democrat efforts to undermine the Trump presidency and invalidate the 2016 election results without starting out his term by executive actions that lack bi-partisan support. He has already said that he plans to rejoin the Paris Accords on climate control which is a bad idea. The plan imposes heavy restrictions on the U.S. but China and India, the world’s top polluters, get close to a free pass. China is the world’s leading polluter and although Xi Jinping appears to be taking the problem seriously, it still poses an enormous threat, not just to the global climate but to China’s own economy and the health of its people. When I visited Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities, the air was so foul that our eyes smarted constantly and we could barely see the sun. But industrial dependence on carbon-based fuels takes precedence over climate matters and China is treated as an emerging economy. With but 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. cannot win the climate wars alone or even with the help of Europe without major help from the leading polluters of Asia.
Secondly, before Mr. Biden seeks on day one of his administration to rejoin or renegotiate the nuclear agreement with Iran, he needs to take into account what’s been happening in the Middle East since he’s been out of public office. The peace agreement brokered by the Trump Administration resulting in the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan with the tacit approval of Saudi Arabia, has dramatically changed things in that region and not to the advantage of Iran, the world’s leading exporter of terrorism and sworn enemy of Israel and the United States. It is not an opportune time to upset the new balance of regional influence by relaxing sanctions against Tehran, re-entering into a flawed deal that gives Iran a clear path to acquiring nuclear weapons and causes Israel and our Arab friends to doubt our support. Iran is increasing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium which now totals 12 times the amount allowed by the agreement according to the UN Atomic Agency. When this uranium is further refined it could be used to produce atomic weapons. Iran is accelerating its production of the low-grade uranium, adding new centrifuges to an underground testing site in violation of the agreement.
Biden was Vice-president when the deal with Iran was struck and was critical of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw, saying at the time that it was a reckless act to quit a deal that was keeping America safe. But safe for how long from a nation whose leaders preach death to Americans and to Jews? Iran has also indicated that while it is amenable to resuming negotiations, it will demand compensation for U.S.-imposed sanctions. That’s not going to happen.
Rather than starting his administration by taking hasty initial actions that would provoke strong opposition, it might be better to start out by sticking to actions that should receive some bi-partisan support like awarding legal status and a path to citizenship for the Dreamers. Giving some credit to Trump for a few of his accomplishments would be a nice gesture toward healing but I’m not holding my breath.