A House Divided – The New York Times

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Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Lisa Lerer, your host.

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Through it all, Mr. Biden made national unity a central part of his campaign message. From his earliest days as the Democratic nominee to his victory speech on Saturday night, he vowed to be “a president for all Americans,” even those who didn’t vote for him.

Fostering unity in Washington won’t be easy. The Senate is no longer the collegial place where Mr. Biden worked for decades. Like the country, it has become more ideological and more polarized.

Dual victories in Georgia’s runoff elections early next year would give Democrats the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. But split control, with Senator Mitch McConnell remaining as majority leader, seems the more likely outcome.

Some goals may be easier for the new administration to achieve. Both parties have expressed a desire to pass another round of coronavirus relief, though they have sharply disagreed on the size of a stimulus. Other parts of Mr. Biden’s agenda, like passing a public health insurance option, combating climate change, raising the minimum wage and tackling racial justice, will be impossible to fully achieve without some bipartisan cooperation.

Even in defeat, Mr. Trump still holds a tight grasp on the Republican Party. In the Senate, only three Republicans have acknowledged Mr. Biden’s victory, fearing alienating a party base that still stands by a president who refuses to concede.

Speaking on the Senate floor today, Mr. McConnell declined to recognize Mr. Biden as the president-elect — even as he acknowledged his party’s down-ballot victories by meeting with Republicans who were newly elected to the Senate.

“President Trump is 100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” Mr. McConnell said.

So, after all these years of fighting, just how politically divided is America? We can’t even seem to agree that we have a president-elect.


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