Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines this week.
1. McConnell Pressures Trump to Bow to Establishment
At first, Donald Trump was laughed at as a dark horse candidate in the 2016 Republican Presidential primary race. He shocked the world by bucking the party establishment and fighting against the traditional GOP donors to secure the Republican nomination. During the Trump presidency, Donald Trump has held a tenuous relationship with Republican congressional leaders in order to accomplish mutual goals. All the while, he has pushed a populist message against the traditional ideals of the Republican establishment.
What has always been suspected by Trump loyalists during the last few years was that Donald Trump’s populist message was constantly being undermined by the Republican establishment in the U.S. Congress. That creeping fear by many in the Trump camp was confirmed this past week’s COVID-19 stimulus bill.
In the last few days congressional leaders came together and passed a multi-billion dollar COVID-19 stimulus package which provided eligible Americans with a one time $600 stimulus check to stabilize the economy. Immediately after the passage of the bill, many Americans on the left and the right attacked the bill for being too little in support.
Using the bully pulpit of the presidency, Donald Trump himself also attacked the stimulus package for being too limited in financial support. He demanded that congress send him a stimulus package that provided eligible Americans with $2,000 in stimulus instead of the allotted $600.
Despite populist Trump Republicans and liberal Democrats’ hope of a greater stimulus bill, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and traditional “country club” Republicans applied their pressure to outgoing President Trump. After a few days of publicly belittling the stimulus bill, President Trump signed it into law.
Trump’s signage of the minimalist stimulus bill is perhaps the perfect example of how the establishment “country club” and donor based wing of the Republican party has completely vanished the more populist and blue color message that Donald Trump hoped to represent.
Despite all of Trump’s bluster about helping “the common man”, Mitch McConnell and his wealthy donors still seem to dominate the Republican party.
2. RED ALERT: New Strain of Highly Communicable COVID-19 Virus Found in U.S.
In the United States the recent holiday season has been a time of hope and heartbreak due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the breakthroughs of vaccine rollouts in the country. Despite the fact that many Americans’ Christmas plans were hampered by social distancing mandates, there is a swell of hope in the nation as tens of thousands of Americans are beginning to be vaccinated against the virus.
However, despite the overall optimistic feeling in this season of joy there is reason to be concerned about the dark COVID-19 winter that faces America.
Several weeks ago a new mutated strain of COVID-19 found in Britain became a cause for concern in many western nations. This strain of the coronavirus has puzzled many scientists and epidemiologists as it is more communicable and difficult to treat than the current strain which has thus far dominated 2020.
On Tuesday, the first reported case of the new strain of COVID-19 was reported in the United States.
Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis (D) announced that the state’s health department was investigating a reported case of the new coronavirus in the state.
“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels.” Polis said.
While Anthony Fauci, America’s Chief Medical Officer to the incoming Biden Administration, has tried to express optimism in the face of the new mutant strain; he is relaying concern to the public.
This story is developing.
3. World Health Organization Downplays Severity of COVID-19
For decades, the World Health Organization (WHO) was a trusted source of medical information that was considered to be gold standard by government officials. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the WHO’s response to it has considerably diminished the once sterling reputation of the global organization.
When the virus first became a pandemic early this year the World Health Organization fell under criticism for consistently protecting the reputation of the communist Chinese government. Many critics claimed that due to China’s undue influence on the WHO the organization sought to shield China’s communist government from blame for their lack of initiative in stopping the spread of the virus.
Now, once again, the WHO is attracting criticism for their response to COVID-19.
Despite the fact that millions of people and over 300,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, the World Health Organization claimed on Tuesday that the ongoing pandemic is not as severe as once thought.
While countless lives have been lost and society as we know it has changed, the WHO’s emergencies chief Micahel Ryan seemed to downplay the severity of the pandemic in the organizations final press conference of the year. While accurately noting that worse pandemics could face humanity in the future, Ryan seemed to diminish the COVID-19 catastrophe in what some thought was a tone deaf response.
What is clear is that in the United States, due to statistical inaccuracies and blatant Chinese favoritism, the trust and reputation of the World Health Organization has completely eroded during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
b. 2020: The year of bias, discontent and isolation – Live Mint
4. President-Elect Biden’s Transition Hits a Rocky Road
Joe Biden will become the 46th American president in 22 days. However, his soon to be administration is still running into roadblocks during the ongoing presidential transition. While historically, presidential transitions have been smooth and cordial, the incoming Biden administration and the outgoing Trump administration have been at odds for the past several weeks.
While Donald Trump has yet to accept that he lost November’s presidential election, he has allowed the government’s General Services Administration to begin allocating resources and individuals to begin the Biden administration’s ultimate succession. With that said, not all governmental departments and agencies are adhering to a smooth transition as others.
According to the Biden transition team, some Trump officials are adhering to an easy change in power while others are making the transition as difficult as possible.
The biggest source of complaint is the Department of Defense, where Trump loyalists are reportedly making the transition incredibly tedious and arduous. This week Democratic operative and incoming National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan noted the lack of discourse between the outgoing DOD officials and the Biden national security team.
Officials at the Department of Defense have refuted this claim.
Regardless of which side’s story is accurate it is clear that the current presidential transition is the most chaotic in recent American history.
5. Trump is America’s Most Admired Man
While Donald Trump will be leaving the White House next month, he can take solace in the fact that he is America’s most admired man. According to Gallup’s 2020 poll, the title of “Most Admired Man” in America belongs to it’s outgoing president; ending former President Barack Obama’s 12 year run.
Former first lady Michelle Obama was ranked as America’s most admired woman with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris in second place.
The poll was split along partisan lines, with President-Elect Biden receiving millions of votes as well. Dr. Anthony Fauci was highly admired as well according to the poll.
Trump’s standing in the poll is indicative to his abiding support amongst his followers. Whether or not his support can last into a surprised 2024 presidential campaign is yet to be seen.