President-elect Joe Biden has said his priority upon taking office as the 46th president will be to “heal” and “unify” the nation. He has said little about how he plans to go about the task, beyond committing to creating a national police oversight commission within the first 100 days of his administration.
Still, many say that the credibility Biden earned among civil rights leaders as vice president to Barack Obama, combined with his long-standing ties with law enforcement, including his work on the 1994 crime bill, make him well-positioned to bridge divides among law enforcement officials and civilians pushing for change.
It will take more than words to ‘heal’ racial wounds
By Tim Craig, Mark Berman and Amy B Wang
The United States is a nation that has spent the past four years torn apart by racism, political polarization and mistrust stoked by a president who seems to relish the chaos he helps cause. Helping the country heal will be among President-elect Joe Biden’s top priorities. But as Biden prepares to take office on Jan. 20, his administration must confront just how deep the country’s wounds are as he attempts to finalize his agenda on policing, racial and social justice, and equity within the criminal justice system.
Biden, longtime ally of police, will urge reform
By Mark Berman and Tom Jackman
Some say President-elect Joe Biden’s previous work makes him uniquely qualified to connect policing groups and reform advocates. But he will face immense pressure from both sides as he tries to bridge the nation’s bitter divide over policing.
Biden Justice Department will be different
By Matt Zapotosky
The Justice Department in the Biden administration is likely to increase resources for the civil rights division and resume wide-ranging scrutiny of troubled police departments nationwide, analysts say, as President-elect Joe Biden seeks to fulfill his campaign promises of combating systemic racism and fighting for equal rights. “With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said. “And at that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.” As Biden takes office, he will now have to address that threat himself, as hate crimes are on the rise and analysts say white supremacists and other domestic extremists have been emboldened by President Trump.
Trump’s recognition of white nationalists will loom
By Matt Zapotosky
When Joe Biden formally announced his entry into the presidential race in 2019, he said he was moved to do so while watching President Trump talk about a white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville. A woman protesting the racist demonstrators had been killed in the mayhem, but rather than condemning the white nationalists, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
Biden may be most pro-equality president in history
By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux
Joe Biden will be the nation’s most pro-LGBTQ president ever. He and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris have promised an ambitious slate of actions that would go beyond reversing what LGBTQ advocates have called President Trump’s “discrimination administration.”
Can Biden end era of mass incarceration?
By Justin Jouvenal
A series of bills that Joe Biden helped write as a senator about three decades ago became the template for a tough-on-crime era that swelled the nation’s prison population. Now, as president-elect, Biden says he will pursue an ambitious agenda to essentially undo what he supported, but he faces skepticism from foes and friends alike.
Biden, once a warrior, may retreat from ‘war on drugs’
By Tim Craig
President-elect Joe Biden built part of his political career on being known as a fighter in the “war on drugs,” supporting legislation as a senator that set harsh penalties for some drug offenses. But as president, Biden could potentially oversee broad changes in federal drug policy, including how the government and law enforcement agencies view drug addiction and treatment and classify the use of marijuana.