Biden’s Honeymoon in Hell

There will be no honeymoon for Joe Biden. He will inherit a country where roughly half the population believes the election was stolen and most of the nation is painfully fatigued by virus-inspired social restrictions. The President-elect is proposing more testing, mask wearing, contract tracing and possible shutdowns. While greater access to testing may be positive the other requirements will be met with resistance, suspicion and passionate protest.

President-elect Biden will ask governors and city leaders to impose a “mask mandate” and require social distancing for up to three months. Serious Republican governors, like DeWine in Ohio and Hogan in Maryland, will work with the President. Conspiracy driven governors, like DeSantis in Florida and Abbott in Texas, will resist. The hold-out Governors will file suits to prevent local protections and ideologically inspired local leaders will seek court injunctions to prevent state mandates.

Many citizens will resist claiming the virus is a hoax and mask wearing a violation of their individual liberty. Intelligent enforcement will emphasize small fines, that increase with repeated violations and minimize criminal infractions.

However, what should be done for those who repeatedly and purposely refuse to wear a mask or social distance? Retail stores have been diligent to mark off distancing signs and customers routinely ignore them. In Ohio, businesses that repeatedly fail to enforce mask requirements are required to close temporarily. Greater impositions are on the horizon in many areas and just in time for Christmas

Contact tracing is controversial as well. Biden wants funding for 100,000 people to work on contract tracing. Ideological opponents will oppose all funding and depict tracers as the brownshirts of the pandemic. The President-elect may get half of what he wants, but the heavy lifting will be done at the state and local level.

During the campaign, Biden was allowed to claim he was not in favor of lockdowns before the country is vaccinated. Yet on August 21st, when asked if he would shut the country down again if the experts called for it, Biden replied, “I would shut it down.”

It’s possible the experts will advise the President-elect to shutdown large swaths of the country to combat the pandemic. In many states and localities this is already happening. As new cases and hospitalizations are rising dramatically it would stand to reason that greater action is required.

The president lacks the authority to shut down most businesses, yet he may ask Governors and local officials to close all but the most essential businesses. The tug of war between the President and the states on mask mandates, social distancing and contact tracing will be mirrored by any calls to close non-essential businesses, schools and other institutions.

Eventually hold out states, like Florida, will have to impose more restrictions. Action will be demanded by wealthy residents forced to wait for elective surgery and average citizens repulsed by refrigerator containers of dead bodies. Perhaps Abbott, DeSantis and company will be inspired once the President-elect is inaugurated and they can blame him for more draconian requirements.

To be sure the political and media narrative will turn exclusively to Biden’s actions once he is sworn in. Media outlets will be determined to demonstrate they are not beholden to the left. The billionaire funded right-wing attacks of 1994 and 2010 will return to feed the media beast. Ideological opponents of the President will blame him for every inconvenience created by greater restrictions and a GDP contraction of twenty percent or more that will accompany the shutdowns.

There will be plenty of blame to go around and conditions could improve by summer. But for now, winter is coming.

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