Transition periods - the good and the bad

So, like the rest of the world, I’ve been watching in morbid fascination as Trump tries to pull down any vestige of smooth power transitions and his own reputation in the long gap between the election and Biden taking office. It’s rather bewildering for me, coming from a country where the new government takes power as soon as the votes have been tallied - normally the next day.

In the UK, we have a strong civil service at the heart of government who ‘know the ropes’ and can settle in the newbies - I believe this isn’t the case in the US? Or do I have that wrong? What’s the benefit of this long transition period? It strikes me that you end up with a president who as all the power - start a pointless war, pardon any awful criminal they choose - but none of the power - he’ll be gone soon so anything he does now is pointless and easily disregarded in the medium term.

Do you agree with this transition period? What’s the benefit? What would you change about it?

Methinks there is an underlying US distrust in the core notion of government that the longer the government spends not governing the better.

Four months between election and inauguration, in case the new Prez elect needs to ride their horse from California.
Six months of hiatus before the mid-terms.
Twelve months or more of balloons, band stands and stump speeches on the re-elect campaign.

Yes from a little functioning democracy where it’s 6 weeks of elections, 48 hours of transition, now get the hell on with it and implement your agenda or we’ll chuck you out at the next election, the US model seems so ineffective it must have been a conscious determination.

You have increased admiration for our own Founding Fathers that they chose the well worn path rather than the newer model, mind you I don’t think anything but some judicious cherry picking was ever seriously considered.

I don’t think there is any interest from the locals of all stripes to changing any of it.

What we don’t have in the U.S. is MPs/congresspeople who become Ministers at the head of departments. Instead, the president can appoint anybody as a cabinet member (minister equivalent), and the Senate must confirm each one with a vote, and those people may not have been shadow ministers or otherwise up to speed. This takes far more time than “forming a government” in the UK.

Second, based on the experience in this election, if the election is close, getting results settled in all 50 states with different legal procedures probably takes a month (this year, until Dec 14th the Electoral College deadline). Obviously very inefficient compared to the U.K. but that’s the joy of federalism.

But at the very least, in this day and age the time could be halved if there was political will to do so.