The dripping of power from the most powerful people on the planet seems unlikely to diminish. Donald Trump will fight to stay in the White House for false reasons, but much of the world is ahead of US elections. Foreign leaders are congratulating Joe Biden, who they call the “presidential election.” Most Americans themselves are resuming their lives: neither street parties nor pro-trump rallies are typical.
Republicans can speed up the process and save some honor by encouraging Mr. Trump to accept the defeat. And it’s not just private. So far, most of the pressure on that purpose has been coded and kept secret.
If the high principles are not enough to motivate the Republican Party, the party should at least pay attention to its self-interest. It would be ridiculous to take part in a spill race that might settle the Senate with a reputation for supporting voters. By giving up to Mr. Biden, Republicans also run the risk of extending what is likely to be the president’s shortest honeymoon these days. The sooner he is universally seen as a new force in the land, the sooner he can be held accountable. Challenging the results also obscures the fact that it is better for Republicans than many expected.
It will be difficult for Mr. Biden to transform the United States in a concrete sense. However, improving tone and ethical behavior is just as valuable as any other law. Mr. Trump did not invent it, but deepened and widened the cracks in the American faction. His successor can begin to narrow it down again in the way of his reconciling leadership. Democracy requires the consent of the loser and the dignity of the winner. If the first one is missing, the second one is now on display from the praiseworthy detained Mr. Biden. Even if his party demands a stricter government in words and actions, he must maintain it.
Just as Americans finally promise normality, so does the outside world. Mr. Trump has disrupted the international order, which is incomplete but superior to known alternatives. Familiar allies and multilateral organizations were despised: unpleasant leaders were helped. With few parliamentary restrictions on his foreign actions, Mr Biden can revoke this element of trumpism in a short order. Again, gesture and rhetoric issues. For at least four years, democracy will once again make friends in the White House.
18 months ago, Mr. Biden’s presidential candidate moaned from the Democratic Party, not to mention the beep of delight in Washington. People like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were far more surprised to the left, but even moderates wanted a fresher look. But in retrospect, he was the most appropriate choice of his time. For half a century of public life, Mr. Biden has done two things. Both of these causes are in desperate need of reinforcement. Neither the ideological fire brand nor the diplomatic rookie would have been ideal for that role.
The fact that he was elected with an ethnic minority woman is also impressive in the year of George Floyd’s murder. Kamala Harris will be more than symbolic value — on the 78th of this month, Mr. Biden will have to delegate to her and others — but symbolism should not be minimized. Correcting US inequality without entering the remaining territory of “Difand the Police” is another challenge awaiting the new administration. The problems that plague the United States are not limited to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic shock it has caused. But for the first time in a while, they oppose a sincere and well-meaning president.