kerry chase_headshot.jpg

Prof. Kerry Chase (POL)

Biden’s electoral victory was no surprise: polling indicated that once all the votes were counted, the Electoral College wouldn't be close and the Biden-Harris ticket would easily win the popular vote. President-elect Biden will have many important priorities and urgent work to do. Without at least some Republican cooperation, it will be difficult to fix the Trump tax law and to invest in clean energy, education and infrastructure. A Republican Senate will only do two things: confirm judges and block legislation. Under a Democratic president, judges will drop from that list. President-elect Biden, however, will be able to use the power of his office: he can model decency and civility, and be a president for all Americans; he can end this administration's pandemic do-nothing-ism and its sidelining of scientists and professional civil servants; and he can undo Trump’s reversal of environmental regulations and his slow strangulation of the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Biden can also repair relations with U.S. allies and recommit to international institutions and multilateral cooperation, which have served Americans so well. Finally, if luck and scientific ingenuity are on our side, Biden’s administration will be called on to oversee a massive coronavirus vaccination campaign — hopefully without partisan gridlock blocking the way.

Kerry Chase is an associate professor of politics. 


Thabang Matona ‘24 

Relief! That was the mood when news outlets started projecting that Biden would succeed Trump as the 46th president of the United States. This sense of relief reverberated across billions of citizens and hundreds of world leaders across the globe. This tone set one of Biden’s biggest priorities very clearly — fix America’s messed up relationships. The world is looking forward to Biden undoing the damage done by his predecessor. Relations with NATO, the Paris Agreement, USAID, WHO and Africa will be some of the broken relationships that Biden is expected to start fixing as soon as he walks into the White House on Jan. 20. It is clear that he recognizes that America needs to earn the world’s trust again. In his capacity as president-elect, he has already started telling world leaders that “America is back.” However, earning that trust will not be easy, as he may be trying to fix relationships abroad in a nation that is deeply divided. He will need to navigate around the resistance from the millions of Trump supporters who falsely believe that “America first” is a sustainable principle that can guide foreign policy.

Thabang Matona is an incoming first-year student at Brandeis University.

gary samore.jpg

Prof. Gary Samore (POL)

I was very relieved that Biden-Harris won because Trump has been a terrible president.  However, Biden faces difficult prospects. His top priorities will be domestic — curing the plague and reviving the economy, plus addressing social justice issues. Although he can accomplish much through executive action, he is not likely to get major legislation passed, with the Senate remaining in Republican hands and a bare Democratic majority in the House. Moreover, the country remains deeply divided, and many Trump supporters believe his lies that the election was stolen. The Republicans will play to take the House in the 2022 midterm elections. Trump will remain a looming political presence, threatening to run for the White House in 2024. In short, it is going to be a challenging four years.

Gary Samore is a professor of the practice of politics and Crown Family Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies.