Clay Banks | unsplash | The votes are In

The presidential Transfer of Power

What is a normal transition of Power?

 The transfer of power from one president to the next president is an important time in our democracy. Since 1797 we have had a peaceful transition of power from a sitting President to his successor. It is a part of our democratic process. This current transition should be no different.  

A seamless transition helps all other countries understand that there is no time from the end of one Presidential term to the beginning of another’s that we are unprepared. We show no weakness. We are American, regardless of who wins an election. The old team over a period of months brings the incoming team up to speed. The Presidential transition teams brief each other. They identify the ongoing world problems for the new team. To the world, we show a single face. An American face.

 However, the sitting president controls this transition process. Until he tells his staff to make government offices, money, and internal information available; there can be no transition. For the past 12 days, President Trump has refused to concede the election and start the transition process. What is the basis for this? Is it his continued attack on the voting process? This election’s voting process was the least corrupted or affected by outside sources ever. Is it because he thinks he can overturn the vote of the people through the courts? They have filed myriad court cases,. Judges have thrown most out because there is no evidence to support the allegations. They withdrew some. We really don’t know what the actual motivation is, but whatever it is, it is placing our country and American lives in jeopardy.

What is the transition process?

The American election was November 3, 2020. Each State has until December 14, 2020 to certify their state’s vote count results. There are at least two states doing recounts before they certify the results. Certified vote counts allow the states to select the electoral college representatives.   (Biden currently has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.) One candidate must reach 270 electoral college votes to win. If there isn’t a majority winner, then it goes to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation has one vote. If the House of Representatives doesn’t choose a winner by January 20, 2021, then the Presidential line of Succession is used to determine the person sworn in. This would-be Nancy Pelosi, at this point because there is no elected Vice President.

What is Currently Happening?

 The head of the Government Services Administration is refusing President Elect Biden’s team access to government transition offices to begin their work. The President has fired a key cabinet member, the secretary of defense Mark Esper. The attorney General has told the attorneys in each state to look for voter irregularities, further undermining our democratic process. And we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. 

 This transition period is important for America and the incoming president. He has to set up a transition office funded by private and public funds, begin identifying the approximately 4,000 positions that he can fill, and he has to set up agency transition teams for each federal agency. Each of the agencies themselves set up agency review teams to identify the key issues of concern for the incoming agency head. This is a massive project. Many trees will fall before they finish.

 This process is a bureaucrat’s wildest dream. Each perspective appointed person files forms, passes background checks, and all of this follows stringent ethical guidelines. If you are on the transition team, you can’t have any conflicts of interest. For example, if you sold materials to the pentagon, then you would have a conflict if I asked you to be on the Department of Defense Transition team.

 President Trump may ask for recounts and state law requires them in some states where the margin between winning and losing was very thin. That will take some time. So far, he has lost or withdrawn every lawsuit. But he remains President for another 70 days with no sigh of conceding the election. He should concede sooner rather than later for the good of the nation. There is almost no way the recounts will give President Trump enough Electoral College Votes to become the next President.

What is the risk to America if we only have a very short transition period?

 The risks grow each day that the incoming team doesn’t have access to critical information.

Covid- Putting together a national plan to fight the pandemic is difficult to do if you don’t have the data and access to information from the task force. This could cause more deaths because most of us won’t get vaccinated until next year. The governors need to know who is leading and what support they can expect.

Economy-The economy will not heal until we defeat Covid. But in the meantime, Congress must act. The incoming team can’t work with them effectively until the transition begins. The longer we wait, the longer it will take to heal the economy.

Security- We are in a world of threats and perilous shifts in the balance of power. In order for the incoming team to be ready to respond appropriately on day one, they need a regular briefing.

And the list goes on…………

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

President John F. Kennedy 

What do citizens do now?

We do as we always do. We go on with our daily lives and wait for the dust to settle. We pray that President Trump will do nothing to outrageous during his remaining term. Now is the time that we as citizens, regardless of political beliefs, need to be calm. We must focus on taking care of ourselves during this corona virus Pandemic and helping our neighbors stay healthy and get enough food to eat. Remember, we are Americans and that is more important than whichever political party we believe in.

“America was not built on fear. We built America on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

President Harry S. Truman

It is now time to act like Americans rather than sore winners or losers. We need to be fighting the Pandemic, not each other this fall and winter. We need to find our commonality rather than highlight our differences.