How should Biden handle his first year as POTUS, assuming he wins?

Let’s do some speculation on a positive scenario. Here’s the hypothetical. It’s November 5th, and Joe Biden has won the election in a close race. He carried PA, MI, and AZ but lost WI, NC, and FL. Democrats have a narrow senate majority of 51-49. Covid-19 is still around, and there has been no definitive resolution to the current protests. What would be the best way for Biden to proceed? Let’s assume that in addition to policy goals, that Biden is aware that 2 years is a short time to make a lasting positive impact. As such he is going to try to avoid 2022 going down as the next 1994 and 2010. How would you suggest he proceed?

IMHO one of the first steps would be convincing Schumer to get rid of the filibuster in the senate. I see no scenario where the Democrats will have 60+ seats anytime in the next few decades. I think legislation should focus on fixing immediate issues rather than having a year long debate on the next healthcare reform. Executive orders should focus on undoing the damage Trump has done and bringing back in talented officials that either quit or were fired by Trump.

Not dying would be the first rule… :smiley:

But seriously, get back on the Paris agreement, get rid of the new laws that favor christianity (or amend them to uphold laws for ALL religions), cleaner water, fix the bridges… We have endless problems besides the Trump mess.

I’ve said before that the Democrats need to push for voting reform. We need laws - and if necessary amendments - protecting voting.

Before taking office, get cracking on executive orders overturning every single one of Donald’s. Sign them right after giving the inaugural address.

Direct the DOJ to strike the memorandum that says sitting presidents can’t be indicted.

Get back into the climate deal.

Send negotiators to Iran to get back into the nuclear deal.

Create new stockpiles in preparation for the next pandemic.

Visit our allies and give them assurance that the US will again be a trusted partner.

Raise the top marginal tax rate and raise the estate tax.

fire as many incompetent Trump employees as possible, and then get down on his knees and beg for some of the old public sector wonks who were fired/resigned under Trump to come and take their old jobs back. Honestly, I think the first two years are going to be focused on stopping the bleeding and repairing the damage. If Biden wins 2022 is going to be a bad year for the Dems no matter what he does. Recovering from the Covid recession is going to be a bear and the Republicans are going to go back to filibustering anything that could help (with Biden to blame, what is bad for the country is good for them). The national mood is going to be pretty sour by the time of the midterms.

If Biden wins the election, the first thing he has to do is appoint people for cabinet positions. He can make the appointments before he actually takes office, but the hearings and then the Senate votes on the appointees typically chew up several weeks at the start of the Presidency. Then comes the inevitable announcements that some of the choices cheated on their taxes and hired an undocumented nanny or whatever, forcing him to withdraw those nominations and make new ones.

After the cabinet is chosen, there are literally thousands of other appointments that have to be made, and those take up more time in the Senate but typically don’t get much attention.

Then, presumably, comes the resignation of Justice Ginsburg and the need for a Supreme Court nomination fight that will eat up public attention for several months. Perhaps Justice Breyer will join the fun as well.

And then at some point there will actually be attempts to pass legislation. Recent history suggests that a new President can hope to pass one major piece of legislation in his first two years, possibly two if he’s lucky. Biden is already setting extremely modest goals for his presidency. For example, he recently said:

We need real policing reform, and we need it now. Congress should immediately:

  • Outlaw chokeholds
  • Improve oversight and accountability
  • Create a model use of force standard
  • Stop the transfer of weapons of war to local police forces

The first everyone agrees on and will probably be law before he takes office. The second and third are so vague that they don’t really commit him to anything. The fourth is ok, but hardly a major change. Similarly on health care, climate change, and other issues his whole campaign has been based on unimpressive goals. So the activist left should prepare for disappointment.

This would be an illegal violation of the regulatory process more radical than what Roberts and Company struck down today regarding DACA.

This isn’t so terrible, but what is the point? Even if there is a some legal reason the memorandum can’t be easily undone, a bad President can always try a self-pardon. Focus should be on how the new administration (and, I hope, new Senate leadership) is improving life for Americans, not meaningless gestures that remind Americans of our sordid recent past.

As far as I know this one is legal. Yes.

After normal preparation, absolutely.

No more imperial President. So this is up to Congress. But I do favor the proposal.

One thing Joe should do, first year, is build up his vice-president with the idea of serving one term. Have press conferences jointly with VP Duckworth, Sewell or Demings.

PhillyGuy, did you maybe misconstrue what the poster meant by “get cracking on”? What is illegal about writing a bunch of things on a piece of paper (or typing them in a Word doc)?

He’s going to have to ride herd on the senate to get his cabinet and other appointees confirmed. With the narrow senate majority in your scenario Republican senators will obstruct progress as much as they can. He needs to repair the damage that 45 has done to our relationships with our traditional allies.

He should handle it calmly. Very calmly.

It would be such a nice change.

Assuming that McConnell is ousted, start working on codifying what the POTUS can and can’t do. Trump has shown us what can happen when a potential despot is in control and takes advantage of the squishy language in present law.

Get rid of the filibuster.

Start working on reestablishing trust and relationships with our allies. Part of that will be bolstering our diplomatic presence abroad.

Reassure the people that all efforts are being made to produce a vaccine and to insure that people are assisted financially.

Biden should prepare for a massive amount of lying about the results of the election. The Trumpers and Trump himself will be spinning massive bullshit tales about invisible people voting, and evidence free rants about conspiracy theories.

Next, Biden must prepare for Republicans in the House and Senate to try every single trick in the book to obstruct and damage any single thing he tries to do. They will try to stop renaming a rural post office if Biden is in favor of it.
If Biden gets the chance to nominate someone for SCOTUS, they will try to stop it.
They will try to prevent every single one of his nominations for anything whatsoever.

Biden needs to be ready for this, politically and in the way it is presented to the public.

It is likely that Covid will still be a significant problem at the least and it will be up to his administration to accelerate the process to a permanent solution through a vaccine.
The economy will still be struggling so to whatever extent legislatively possible he will need to push for more fiscal stimulus.
And finally he will have the enormous task of repairing American alliances after four years of Trump, something that he is ideally suited for.

I think the Covid-19 issue is a problem best left to experts whom he can empower to take the most effective action, both with respect to testing, treatment, vaccine development and overall national management. He will need to be much more forward facing on economic recovery. I think restoring international alliances will be second nature to him and traditional US allies will welcome him with open arms.

Where he can and should make the most impact is in finally putting together a comprehensive national infrastructure program that creates jobs and rebuilds the crumbling infrastructure from roads, to energy grids, to communications, water treatment, etc… That, I believe, is the legacy he is most suited to achieving.

Along those lines, he should appoint some tech-savvy Millennial as Low-Level White House Communications Staffer in Charge of the Presidential Twitter Account to send out occasional very carefully crafted Tweets (to be vetted by the Higher-Level White House Staffer in Charge of General Presidential Communications before anybody hits “submit”).

And then President Biden himself should get on with recommending to the consideration of Congress such measures as he judges necessary and expedient; taking care that the laws be faithfully executed; receiving ambassadors; and other actual Presidential-type stuff.

Undo every change to EPA regulations issued during the previous 4 years. I haven’t heard of a single one that actually improved the environment; virtually every one weakened protections. It would require a law to do this as expeditiously as possible, since going through the normal regulation-issuing procedure is tedious.


Push for a massive green new deal and infrastructure project to do what WW2 did to end the depression by increasing economic demand and economic consumption. Also these are good projects for long term economic growth as they lower the costs for individuals and businesses over the long run.

Push for his UHC plan which while far from perfect is still superior to what we have now and will cover most people.

If he is able to, push for massive voting rights reform. Not sure how he could do that with the filibuster, and I doubt the dems get rid of the filibuster.

I’m afraid PhillyGuy has the right of it. The original was " Sign them right after giving the inaugural address." The decision in the DACA case suggests that revoking a previoua EO requires substantive reasoning. Can’t be done in an afternoon.

This substantive reasoning can’t be prepared over the next several months, and stapled to the EO in January?

One of the most important things that needs to happen is to have Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia finally admitted as states. When that happens, it gives the Dems 4 new seats in the Senate.