Presidential transfer of power: Here’s what to know

Transition stalls with Trump refusing to concede

What happens when the transition between the incumbent and president-elect stall out?
What happens when the transition between the incumbent and president-elect stall out?

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that the presidential transition would go smoothly.

If he’s right, it may shock many who have expected a bumpy passing of the baton.

The Associated Press called the race in Joe Biden’s favor, with Biden most recently prevailing in Georgia after a hand recount. Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.

President Trump has not yet conceded. Instead, the President has filed several lawsuits, claiming that the election was not sound, despite what election officials have said.

So we wait for the lawsuits to settle and the recounts to commence.

But what are the consequences of waiting?

What happens when the transition between the incumbent and president-elect stall out? Research Professor at the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan, Michael Traugott says a lot happens, or maybe doesn’t happen.

“At the top of every agency, there are a set of administrators,” said Traugott.

Biden is hampered by inadequate access. Traugott explains the ramifications:

“Those people in the new administration have to be vetted, which includes not only the in the case we’re talking about, which includes not only the Biden team but for many of these jobs, they’ll have to undergo an FBI background check.”

But Traugott says that can’t happen until the transition officially begins.

President Trump’s supporters show support around the country, standing behind his fight against election results. Meanwhile, president-elect Joe Biden has started assembling teams as best he can, but he is still on the outside looking in. Biden expressed his concern of dire consequences if the current administration continued their refusal to coordinate a coronavirus plan. There are official conversations that need to happen, and they need to be in secure locations.

“There is a law that provides for transition,” said Traugott.

President-elect Biden also needs access to classified documents and information that is locked away.

Republicans and Democrats alike would prefer things to move forward.

What will Trump do?

Meanwhile, the eyes and ears of the world remain on President Trump, waiting for his next move. He’s not one to back down, and Traugott says that comes from his upbringing.

“His father taught him that the worst thing in the world was to be a loser. So, coming to grips with losing the election is especially difficult for him,” he said.

If the count is accurate and Joe Biden is our next president, the time is now to start on our nation’s future. President Barack Obama put it this way on 60 Minutes:

“When your time is up then it is your job to put the country first and think beyond your own ego, and your own interests, and your own disappointments. My advice to President Trump is, if you want at this late stage in the game to be remembered as somebody who put country first, it’s time for you to do the same thing.”

For now, we wait.

Read more: Is the presidential transition of power always peaceful? A look back


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