Joe Biden transition: President-elect walking a tightrope as rival Democratic factions vie for plum posts
The president-elect is carefully picking people to maintain a balance between conflicting groups but not all are happy with the scenario
Joe Biden has successfully accomplished his mission to defeat incumbent Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election but his challenges have not ended yet. The president-elect has been found walking a tightrope to appease ideologically contrasting camps in the Democratic Party with his picks for the next administration. He is choosing people with experience and expertise to show that he intends to run his administration more seriously that Trump.
It's not too peaceful in the Democratic Party
But while Biden’s efforts on the surface look to be swift, tension is reportedly simmering below as people who have known the veteran for years and worked with him are in the lookout for jobs in the incoming administration. At the same time, others have started questioning some of the president-elect’s early choices for some top administrative posts.
According to a report in USA TODAY, the contrasts “don’t break nearly along ideological lines” but “they underscore a broader challenge certain to become a defining theme of the next four years”. The challenge is whether Biden, a centrist, can bridge the gap between liberals and the younger faces who started under former president Barack Obama, said the report.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Progressives in the party have raised questions over the decision to pick centrist Democrats and Biden’s longtime allies for jobs. Veteran James Clyburn, the Black leader from South Carolina who played a key role behind Biden’s win in the primaries, wants more faces of color to be picked in the next Cabinet. Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP, said civil rights leaders were yet to meet Biden to talk about appointments or the key Senate runoffs in Georgia scheduled next month, the report added. The runoffs are key to determine which party gets to dominate the Senate.
"Civil rights leaders in this country should be on par, if not more, than other constituency groups he has met with," Johnson was quoted as saying.
Biden’s choice of Neera Tanden, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, as director of the Office of Management and Budget has also drawn fire from both the liberal and conservative camps. Past feuds between Tanden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has been one of the major reasons for many getting upset with her name floating.
The Democrats are particularly wondering who is in the hunt for which job and how the transition officials are arriving at those decisions. Many members of the party told USA Today on the condition of anonymity the establishment candidate won the election and now the entire establishment is hoping to bag the plum posts. Confusion is galore as to what is making some aspirants gaining lead over the others.
Trump transition saw extreme chaos
It is not that the presidential transition in the US doesn’t witness such tense moments as insiders and outsiders, especially in a party that has been out of power, jockey for jobs. The scenario was similar when Obama came into office in 2009, some Democrats told USA Today but nothing perhaps could beat the chaos that had prevailed when Trump came to office four years earlier.
The transition and the subsequent days after Trump came saw constant changes and infighting between those loyal to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and those who backed the president’s former aide Steve Bannon and the internal tussles became the dominating theme of the Republican’s entire tenure.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, however, feels the Biden transition has been more orderly than even that of Obama. “I would say they are much more open to getting names from people than I saw in the Obama administration. The Obama transition had a very small group that they were very close to and that's who they worked with. The Biden team is very disciplined and they've entertained and asked for people to give them lots of different names,” she was quoted as saying by USA Today.