Pierre Atlas: Republican leaders need to give Biden a chance

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Pierre AtlasApproximately 150 million Americans voted on or before Nov. 3. More than 77 million voted for Joe Biden, and 72 million voted for Donald Trump.

As of this writing, it looks like Biden will win Arizona and Georgia, as well as Nevada and Pennsylvania, giving him a total of 306 electoral votes (the same number that Trump received in 2016). Regardless of whether he reaches 306, it was clear a few days after the election that Biden had passed the requisite 270 to become the next president of the United States.

Trump’s embarrassing, toddler-like rejection of the clear reality of his electoral defeat, his false and unsubstantiated charges of “fraud,” his refusal to cooperate in the statutorily mandated presidential transition process, and his purging of the top echelons of America’s national security establishment is unprecedented in the history of the United States. Worse, it endangers the legitimacy and stability of our democratic system and the continuity of government (which could be a gift to our enemies).

The fact that most elected leaders of the Republican Party chose to aid and abet Trump in his anti-democratic delusions (even as the overwhelming majority of Americans, including millions of Trump voters, acknowledged Biden’s win) will be a permanent stain on their records of public service and on the Republican Party as a whole. They need to go to YouTube and watch the concession speeches of previous losers—including one-term presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush—to remind themselves of how true leaders behave with grace and dignity in defeat. And they need to review the seamless transitions from Carter to Reagan and from Bush to Clinton to see how those defeated leaders, without hesitation, put their country and their solemn duties as president above their own egos, no matter how bruised.

Unlike Trump after the 2016 elections, President Biden will enter office on Jan. 20, 2021, with both a decisive Electoral College victory and the majority of popular votes. We won’t know which party will control the Senate until the two runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5. And although the Democrats retained control of the House of Representatives, they lost a few seats. The majority of Americans signaled they want Biden to replace Trump, but they did not give Biden or the Democratic Party a mandate for sweeping or radical changes in policy.

Even if the Democrats win both Georgia runoffs, they will have a razor thin majority in the Senate. Unlike Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, Biden will not be in a position to pass a 21st century version of the New Deal or the Great Society. There will be some policy corrections and changes, but progressives will not get all that they want.

Biden will be leading a country more deeply divided culturally and politically than at any time since the Civil War. People voted for Trump for many reasons. The white supremacists at the core of Trumpism are a lost cause, but I believe that most of the 72 million Trump voters love their country more than they do the outgoing president. America needs a leader who has the decency, humility, and desire to heal the nation and bring people together. Biden, moderate in temperament and empathetic in character, is uniquely qualified to reach across the chasm, and that is one reason why he received the largest number of votes in American history.

For the sake of our country, Republican leaders need to give him a chance.•


Atlas is a professor of political science and was the founding director of The Richard G. Lugar Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian University. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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6 thoughts on “Pierre Atlas: Republican leaders need to give Biden a chance

  1. The 2020 Presidential election was a farce. 73 million Americans were disenfranchised, and this American will never recognized an illegitimate president. #Resistance

  2. Yes, we need to give Biden the same chance he gave Trump in 2016; spending the last two months in office concocting impeachment traps manipulating the FBI and courts with false, felonious evidence only shortly after shaking down Ukraine to enrich his son to become a multimillionaire. Not a fan of either Trump or Biden. America, certainly we can do better than these corrupt a**h####s

  3. “but they did not give Biden or the Democratic Party a mandate for sweeping or radical changes in policy.” We should give him a chance and if the democrats take the senate they should (and I am sure they will) understand no sweeping or radical changes in policy should occur. This author is out of touch with the policy extremes progressives have made and call for verses policy changes conservative politicians have made nationally. I sure am glad Biden is a “good” fellow.

  4. Wake up, Pierre; Biden is merely a puppet. And by the way, what evidence do you have that white supremacists are “at the core of Trumpism?” Pure, unadulterated BS. I’m willing to bet you haven’t talked to one honest-to-God white supremacist who is a Trump supporter…which isn’t too hard to imagine, since your lofty “Professor of Political science” position in life insulates you from anyone who supports Trump, America, its Constitution, The Bill of Rights, etc.

  5. Gee, Pierre, You must have been on a different planet for the last 4 years now that you believe that we should all give Biden a chance. Is that what you were doing for Trump during that time? I love the way Democrats such as yourself slander Trump and all who supported him, and then think there are so many reasons republicans need to give Joe a chance because he is such a nice guy. Your be nice reasoning is all about what is likely your radical, leftist views which seem to be right in line with several of the people Biden is surrounding himself with. Not by a long shot will this transition or Biden’s presidency be easy, but it will be made even harder by editorials such as yours

  6. Quote from Pierre’s bio, Charles G: “Atlas is a professor of political science and was the founding director of The Richard G. Lugar Franciscan Center for Global Studies at Marian University.”

    Your question may be answered in the affirmative: Pierre HAS been on a different planet!