Anarchy has enveloped the U.S. Capitol before, from external and internal threats, but never fostered by another branch of government. Encouraged by President Donald Trump, anarchists occupied the chambers of Congress Wednesday in an effort to disrupt the tallying of electoral votes that elected Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States. Although the rising failed, the physical violence resulting from a dispute between the Executive and Legislative branches is prompting another impeachment resolution against the President citing a single count alleging “Incitement of Insurrection.”
Should President Trump be impeached, it will heap new challenges on the leadership of incoming President Biden, whose agenda emphasizes unifying a polarized nation. His ability to achieve his legislative goals and confirm his cabinet was boosted by the victories of two Democratic Senators in Georgia runoffs last week, producing an evenly divided Senate in which ties will be decided by Vice President Kamala Harris. Impeachment would not help the healing; more likely it would deepen the resentment of President Trump’s supporters while delaying confirmation of President Biden’s nominees.
The narrow Democratic majorities in Congress can help foster bipartisanship because they will force a more centrist, bipartisan agenda that eschews the most liberal elements of Democratic plans. It may require a bipartisan budget resolution, unseen in Washington for decades, to facilitate reconciliation passage focused on coronavirus relief and economic stimulus based in tax, spending and infrastructure bills.
The additional crises the new Biden government will confront January 20 are mounting as the pandemic rises almost daily to new records and the vaccination campaign stumbles, the economy sheds jobs and confidence in American institutions erodes, as reflected by last week’s violence. Wednesday’s violence calls into question whether a peaceful transfer of power will occur January 20 – further complicating President Biden’s goal of restoring bipartisan cooperation in Washington.