As the counting continues on the fourth day after the election, the fog over the final result has started to wipe out. Biden is heading towards victory. He has started working on the transition process to prepare himself for the job without wasting time. Biden has exuded confidence that he will be able to pull out a victory after all votes are counted.
Biden has deployed Ted Kaufman to the primary role. He is gearing up the tempo for informal transition task. The formal transition will take place only after the final victor is declared.
Preparing for transition before being elected is not a new thing. The 2000 presidential election was analogous to the present election. That election ended in the Supreme Court. George Bush made very premature preparations that year.
Who is Ted Kaufman?
Ted Kaufman was the part of the team that helped Barack Obama for transition in 2008. He played a crucial role in the formulation and writing of rules of transition that year.
Kaufman is a longtime confidant of Joe Biden. In 2012, when Biden became the Vice President, Kaufman was trusted with his home seat of Delaware. This year, Biden entrusted him with the task to start making just-in-case preparation in April, after he was finalised as the Democratic presidential nominee.
Kaufman’s role is going to be very crucial at this juncture as the United States faces a politically turbulent situation. The counting stretched into the fourth day with no declared winner and Trump has bombasted a slurry of allegations around voting fraud, directly questioning the credibility of elections. President has refused to commit to the peaceful transition of power in the last month.
The Formal transition period
The formal transition will start only when all the votes get counted and the winner is declared based on numbers and facts. The process gets kickstarted as General Services Administration takes charge of the above-mentioned activities.
Biden team has remained largely silent on their transition plans. Associated Press has quoted highly placed sources who revealed that they will start by announcing White House chief of staff. Other activities will be assembled around it.
The convention also says that the leaving president meets the new one personally. If Biden gets elected, it is very unlikely that Trump will meet him. Former President, Barack Obama met Trump after the 2016 election but they did not share such stark political acrimony.
The year 2000 transition of Bush presidency
The year 2000 presidential contest between Rep. George Bush and Dem. Al Gore was decided in the Supreme Court over the vote recount in Florida. Bush picked Clay Johnson for the transition task 17 months ahead of the election.
Clay Johnson, who has the prior experience of handling the similar situation remarked that Biden team should have started the transition activity on the Election Night itself.
What lies ahead of transition for Biden?
After the transition, The new president will be allowed to appoint 4,000 positions. More than a quarter of these appointees will have to get confirmation through the Senate. The chances of Democrats to prove majority in the Senate has shrunk in this election. Biden will face roadblocks from Republicans in the Senate during the process of appointment.
Biden pledged during his campaign that he will utilize the transition period to hold deliberations with state governors and come out with a nationwide mandate to put on a mask. He will also consider monitoring of the rule to ensure better implementation. Containment of coronavirus pandemic, that has taken above 230,000 people to toll, was Biden’s flagship campaign promise.
Biden’s deployment of Kamala Harris is another thing Democrats should be looking for. Mike Pence was given due prominence in Trump administration. He headed the coronavirus task force. It will be interesting to see Kamala’s role in the tackling of the pandemic.