Inauguration Day: How will the Biden administration lead a fraught country?

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 10:43 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Jessica Gottlieb, political scholar and professor at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service, has one main piece of advice for President Joe Biden to help unify the country: “I would say Biden just needs to get to work.”

“There is an economic and health crisis that needs attention, and I don’t think he can wait to build consensus before implementing his policies on those two crises,” said Gottlieb on Brazos Valley This Morning Wednesday. “I think doing the hard work of making people’s lives improve is one of the best things he can do.”

Gottlieb says making observable improvements for Americans—and properly communicating messages surrounding the improvements—will naturally help unify the country.

“In democracies that are weaker than ours, some of the best things that incumbents can do to generate support is to create observable change in people’s lives that can be attributed to them,” said Gottlieb. “Which means that in addition to doing this hard work, Biden also needs to assemble a team to help communicate the good work that his administration is doing, so that people see that and attribute it to his administration.”

Still, Gottlieb says Pres. Biden will have to reach across the aisle in some ways, particularly with moderates in his own party.

“So while I don’t think he’s going to have to necessarily put unity at the forefront, there is a major crisis of polarization in this country,” said Gottlieb. “It’s not that we disagree on things—that’s not a problem in a democracy—it’s that we hate each other. There is a lot of hate and threat and fear across the aisle. I think there are things that he should not do, like avoiding deepening those riffs.”

Then, Pres. Biden could go a step further, says Gottlieb.

“There are things he should do, like retracing the boundaries of those riffs so they’re no longer around white identity politics, which has been the rhetoric we’ve been hearing a lot lately, and more about the issues that people really care about, issues that do not fall on identity lines and for which there is more moderate or a consensus point,” said Gottlieb.

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