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Why The US Waits So Long To Swear In The New President

two weeks after the 2008 election george w bush’s family gave barack obama’s family a tour of their new home the white house it was part of a long american tradition of the outgoing president’s family meeting with the incoming family just as the clintons had done for the bushes eight years before and the bushes had done for the clintons eight years before that it’s a symbolic start to the beginning of the presidential transition where the current president meets with the president-elect and importantly helps the new administration into their new positions ensuring a smooth transfer of power president trump refuses to concede refusing to begin the transition process blocking president-elect joe biden from receiving critical covet 19 data the presidential transition usually starts right after election day in november and it ends when the new president is inaugurated in late january but this year president trump didn’t allow it to start until three weeks after the election so does that actually matter and why does america take so long to switch presidents trump is not the first outgoing president to be uncooperative in 1932 president herbert hoover lost to franklin delano roosevelt in a landslide it was the middle of the great depression and roosevelt had campaigned on his new deal ideas but hoover didn’t like those ideas and used the transition period to keep fdr from getting started on them at the time this gap was even longer the constitution written in the 1700s had it set at around four months after fdr’s election it was shortened to the current two and a half months that’s still pretty long but the modern us with its expansive federal government has found that time period useful the federal government is kind of like this huge massive like big ship that takes a lot of sort of direction to steer when the u.s changes presidents thousands of federal jobs have to be changed too and that changeover takes time those new hires need offices government emails and they need to get fully briefed on the ins and outs of how these departments run and most importantly the president needs to get caught up on national security and intelligence and january 20th at noon one administration is going to take us over and the threats that america faces are not necessarily going to respect that gap in 2000 the election between george w bush and al gore was so close that the winner wasn’t actually decided until mid-december which meant bush’s transition had to happen pretty rapidly later after the september 11th attacks a government report said this loss of time hampered the new administration in its readiness to deal with national security threats they suggested that in the future the transition should start as soon as possible but unlike in 2000 the delay in transition in 2020 wasn’t because we didn’t know who won the election nbc news now projects cbs news projects cnn projects joseph r biden jr is elected when the media declares a winner on election night it feels like a big moment but it doesn’t actually carry any formal weight it’s a projection the election isn’t officially over until each state certifies their results and the electoral college votes in mid-december but usually by that point both presidential candidates have already acknowledged what the outcome will be the loser usually concedes and that sends off this presidential transition process where the outgoing administration helps to usher in the incoming administration in 2020 we found out what happens when the outcome is widely agreed upon but the loser doesn’t concede before the transition can start an office of the federal government has to give the go-ahead the problem is that relies on everyone agreeing who the president-elect is eventually after several key states certified their results trump didn’t concede but he did allow the transition to begin without actually referring to biden as the president-elect nearly three weeks after the election the trump administration backed down president-elect biden getting daily intelligence briefings on everything from vaccine distribution testing and ppe supply chains this gap between presidents feels long but it is necessary to keep america’s government running and for the incoming bide administration it’s going to be a lot shorter and it shows that our tradition of a smooth transfer of power is just that a tradition not a rule you
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