Trump’s refusal to concede hurts the democratic process
MIDDLEBURY — President Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize former Vice President Joe Biden as president-elect has prevented collaboration between his team and Biden’s.
“I would say this is abnormal in the sense that you’re not having active cooperation between the outgoing and the incoming administration,” said Middlebury College political science professor Matt Dickinson.
The traditional cooperation facilitates a smooth transition of power between administrations. Dickinson said the incoming president can benefit from the guidance of the sitting president’s administration and that Trump’s refusal to accept election results does not allow for this collaboration to take place.
“Normally what would happen in this period is the incoming administration would meet with members of the outgoing administration to discuss policy, staffing, all of the things designed to make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Dickinson. “That’s not happening right now because one party, Donald Trump’s, has not conceded the election.”
During the time that Biden is president-elect, he does not hold any formal power. However, important decisions are being made during this time that will influence his presidency, said Dickinson.
“There are crucial decisions being made right now that will go a long way in determining whether (the Biden administration) hits the ground running,” said Dickinson, “You don’t want to have to change your people and policies six months into your term, so there’s a lot of important decisions going on right now even if they’re not formally exercises of Biden’s power.”
Biden will have to make these decisions without the guidance of the Trump Administration until he is recognized by them as president-elect. Waiting for this recognition shortens the amount of time that the Biden and Trump administrations will have to work together. Dickinson said a reduced timeline for coordination might pose challenges to an orderly transfer of power.
“The more time you get to actively cooperate between the outgoing and incoming administrations, the better off everybody is,” he said. “Certainly it’s not helping matters to not have a clear cut winner declared in a way that facilitates an orderly transition of power.”
The sitting president isn’t the only actor in the transition. Incoming administrations can benefit from the guidance of nonpartisan organizations such as the Center for Presidential Transition, which offers information and resources to incoming administrations to better equip them during the transition between presidents. Dickinson said that with President Trump disregarding Biden as the president-elect, the efforts of this organization remain informal.
“The Center for Presidential Transition can do all they can. They have recognized that Vice President Biden has won. But formally speaking, all their advice is informal at this stage,” said Dickinson. “The Biden administration, the incoming administration, can certainly work with this group and try to get some advice on how to organize, but they’re going to be hampered somewhat.”
Incoming administrations have a lot to learn from the guidance of nonpartisan groups such as the Center for Presidential Transition as well as from the outgoing administration. However, collaboration between these groups cannot take place until President Trump concedes the presidential election.
Dickinson said reducing the timeline of this coordination could significantly affect how the incoming administration is able to prepare for the presidency.
“Presidents understandably, having won the election, want to come in and reshape politics, but they don’t really understand how to do it yet,” said Dickinson. “Anything that can be done to shorten that learning curve during the transition, decreases the likelihood that a president is going to make a very bad decision.”
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