The votes are in and Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States.
Now comes the really hard part: Governing.
There are a multitude of issues at home and abroad that deserve attention on Day 1—the effect the coronavirus has had on our people and economy, healthcare, climate change, police reforms in regards to systematic racism, rebuilding relations with our foreign allies, confronting advisories like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea that seek to diminish our standing in the world.
Over the last four years, the norms of our Democracy were tested by President Donald Trump and his supporters. With President Trump no longer in office, Republican members of Congress have the ability to change the direction of their party that has for too long rewarded right wing extremists, including those aligning with QAnon and White Nationalists.
The son of Scanton will sit in the Oval Office as President in no small part because a majority of American have faith he will be able to bring the members of Congress together to pass legislation that will help America rebuild.
The focus in Washington will now shift from the dysfunctional relationship between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Trump to how Biden can work with his former Senate colleague Mitch McConnell to pass legislation. In the last four years, bills that would have helped Americans such as the HEROES Act passed the House but too often did not receive consideration in the Senate. That must change.
President-Elect Biden must be true to his pledge he stated last week that while he campaigned as a Democrat, “I will govern as an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as I will for those who did vote for me.”
But the only way to get there is by finding middle ground with Republicans. Those that are more progressive would be wise to heed the words of former Presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg who warned liberals to not let perfection get in the way of progress.
Conversely, members of the GOP must be willing to work with their counterparts to find solutions to issues of today and tomorrow instead of an ideology of “No” because it is an idea from a Democrat.
North Jersey Democrats like Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Mikie Sherrill need to step forward even more forcefully because now is their time with a President whose ideology and attempts to work with those on the other side of the aisle aligns with theirs. Republicans gained seats in the House because some moderate Democrats were tarnished by Trump’s socialist label.
There is much work to be done by President-Elect Biden and Democrats in Washington. It is time for the leaders in Washington to come together to put the interests of the country first over their party’s.