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There is 2016. But the fundamentals are looking much better for Joe Biden than they did at this point for Hillary Clinton, whether we talk national polls, swing state polls, or more intangible considerations, like Trump’s commitment to a strategy of appealing to his base while driving the rest of us away. As a prime example, his resolute failure to provide coherent leadership in confronting the coronavirus pleases his non-mask-wearing hard core while antagonizing everybody else.

Reject and Elect Biden

So it is not implausible to look ahead to a January when Joe Biden will have won an overwhelming popular and Electoral College victory, will have held the House majority, and will have taken a small majority in the Senate. What can we anticipate?

It really isn’t necessary to speculate: task forces combining Sanders and Biden supporters have produced a comprehensive and progressive set of policy frameworks, and the Biden campaign is putting out its plans for different sectors almost daily. So we know pretty much what Biden will want to do.

The question really is, how to manage a daunting logjam of essential moves to start undoing the follies of the Trump years and to begin building a better America for our children.

The question really is, how to manage a daunting logjam of essential moves to start undoing the follies of the Trump years and to begin building a better America for our children.

First thing:Biden and the Democrats will be in a position to legislate, but only if the last vestiges of minority privilege are rooted out in the Senate. The filibuster must be abolished, once and for all. Otherwise a substantial Republican minority will be able to systematically block the legislative agenda. Other more obscure minority tools have to go too, such as the right of individual senators to put a “hold” on a bill or nomination. The Senate inherently privileges a minority of the population. We need to be done with rules that further entrench minority power.

Second thing: Biden should assume he’ll have two years in which to legislate. Clinton, Obama and Trump all lost at least one house of Congress after two years. Only George W. Bush got six years, mostly due to the aftermath of 9/11. So Biden will have to pack the legislative calendar to get as much done as possible in those two years. Hence the idea of the first hundred days (a reference to FDR’s first hundred days that laid the foundation for the New Deal).

There will necessarily be executive orders to reverse Trump’s orders that reversed Obama’s orders. But if they are not backed by legislation, they will in their turn be reversed the next time Republicans hold power.

Priorities: obviously asserting national leadership to get a grip on the pandemic will have to be at the top of the list, along with decisive action to pump more resources into the economy at multiple points, just to keep small businesses from folding, to keep people fed and housed: the list is endless, and urgent.

Also urgent is to start rolling back the deep damage Trump has done to the environment, including global climate. Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord is just the beginning.

Black Lives Matter:Biden will need to assert strong moral leadership to get the country to address the long-standing injustices suffered by racial minorities. The televised murder of George Floyd has given us a precious chance to move decisively toward Dr. King’s dream. We shouldn’t waste it.

Racial injustice is linked to the broader problem of economic inequality, which has reached crisis proportions threatening the integrity of our democracy. Decades of policies favoring the rich must be reversed. Those who have more should pay more taxes. The poorest need at least to have a minimum wage that keeps them out of poverty. It has taken fifty years to get us in this position. We need to establish basic policy directions that will start us on the long process of regaining an egalitarian society.

These are the top priorities. Behind them, and also urgent, are a whole range of pressing problems invariably made worse by Trump’s policies. Here are some of them:

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  • Immigration: Trump’s gratuitously cruel policies toward nonwhite immigrants must be immediately revoked. A comprehensive, rational immigration policy would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who commit no crime, work and pay taxes. More broadly, the emphasis should be on admitting immigrants whose work is needed, who can make a contribution to American society, or who already have family here.
  • Infrastructure: massive resources needed over decades.
  • Education: restore funding, but even more important, restore leadership that actually values public education.
  • Regional development: huge swaths of the country have been left behind as metropolitan areas have thrived. Even within metro areas, large populations, disproportionately minority, have not participated in the prosperity. Public resources and incentives for investment are sorely needed to restore the balance.
  • Trade: Biden has laid out a plan that would avoid the self-destructive Trump tariffs while putting higher priority on manufacturing in this country.
  • Labor: public policy since World War II has undercut workers’ rights to organize unions. That tilt needs to be reversed.
  • Agriculture: Develop policies and priorities that really do favor smaller operators and production for local consumption. Get away from paying farmers not to produce.
  • Housing: Having decent, affordable housing should be a right. Homelessness should be extinct.
  • Foreign Policy: We must work to reestablish the relations of trust with our allies that Trump has undermined, and reconfirm that the word of this country can be relied on.
  • Defense: We should accept the role of world leadership that Trump has rejected, wielding influence abroad through soft power, avoiding military intervention except in extreme cases. We should make extensive use of special forces for military action abroad, when needed.

Finally, Republicans will moan and groan about taxes, deficits and the national debt being too high, so that we can’t afford to do any of this. Trump, coming on top of GW Bush and Reagan, has shown that they don’t take any of this seriously as applied to them. We should disregard it as well.

impeachment unavoidable

Just do it, Joe!

John Peeler