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Biden’s Challenge

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Former US President Donald Trump has escaped being impeached, with the required two-thirds majority in the Senate not having been achieved. There were not enough dissenters in the Republican Party to tilt the scales. This means he remains a threat to the Democratic Party as a presidential candidate. Also, with his strong base among Republicans, he can also frustrate the emergence of another leader as an alternative. This also suggests that the Democratic establishment and the media will continue to target him in other ways, hoping to ‘put him away’.

The best option is for President Biden to provide better alternative governance. Right now he is busy undoing Trump’s policies at the international and domestic levels, but he will soon be under the scanner for what he does to assuage the grievances of the sections that believe they have been wronged by the system. There already are a large number of Republicans who believe that Trump pandered too much to the extreme right, particularly the white supremacists and conspiracy theorists. So, to ensure he does not become a reverse version of Trump, Biden will have to ensure he does not become a pawn in the hands of the extreme Left, which already has excessive control over the narrative. If he fails to do that, Trump’s constituency will remain and even grow.

Also, there is the out of control Covid-19 situation that needs to be handled with the required deftness. People are being vaccinated at a rapid pace and, despite the anti-vaxxers, the US should be out of the crisis by the end of this year. However, keeping the economy going in the meanwhile and positioning it so that it comes out strongly on the other side is another challenge. The present approach of the Democrats seems to be of throwing money at the problem, but without proper delivery, it may create even greater difficulties. A lesson could be learned from the measures taken by the Indian Government, which designed its stimulus to ensure it did not lead to inflation. Incentives were given to businesses and employers, while financial assistance was provided directly to beneficiaries.

Given Biden’s age, there are also those who believe Kamala Harris might end up taking the responsibility. This will open another Pandora’s Box of problems, requiring the Democrats to repackage their electoral pitch four years down the line, as it could lead to further polarisation in US politics. Much depends on the direction that President Biden takes in the months to come.