Biden has one urgent task right now

Early Returns

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There's only one president at a time, which means that President-elect Joe Biden must look on helplessly as the pandemic continues to surge across the country and the current administration fails to act effectively. President Donald Trump surrendered back in April, and seems unlikely to change course now. 

However, even before he's inaugurated on Jan. 20, Biden could perhaps put together one thing that's so far been missing from the national response: a serious public-information campaign. 

Back in March, Lorien Abroms and Kenneth S. Baer argued: "We need a whole-of-culture response — not just political leaders, but also the most influential athletes, actors, social media influencers, singers and personalities using every medium at our disposal to encourage Americans to change their behavior and inspire us to stick with it." I made a  similar argument later that same week. It never happened. Meanwhile, Trump's demonization of his own experts has undermined even what minor efforts the administration has attempted.

Perhaps it's too late now. It certainly is for those who've decided that public-health officials are simply conspiring to rob them of their rights. My guess, however, is that there's a large group of people who aren't really sure what's most important and would be open to a constructive message. There are likely plenty of others who've been trying to follow official warnings for months now and could use a boost in morale. 

Even without government resources, Biden's team could organize such an effort, perhaps drawing on contacts in Hollywood and the political world. The best plan would be to find a bipartisan team of well-known politicians to be the face of the effort, and skilled professionals to do the organizing work. It shouldn't be hard to find volunteers or raise the needed funds. And I assume there are plenty of celebrities who'd be happy to get on board. After Biden gives it an initial push, he and his team wouldn't even need to be involved — indeed, the less the effort is associated with one candidate from a closely fought election, the better. 

Again: This should've happened months ago. But it's clear by now that the government isn't going to begin any serious public-information effort until Jan. 20 at the earliest, and it turns out that famous Americans aren't going to organize themselves to do it. Biden is now in a position to get such an effort off the ground. I have no idea how much it would help at this point. But there's always the chance that a constructive message from the right people could save actually save some lives. 

1. Rick Hasen pronounces Trump's legal strategy to overturn the election … well, I'd use the term dead-parrot dead, which is as dead as anything can be. 

2. Meredith Conroy on the new women in Congress.

3. Kristen Hopewell at the Monkey Cage on the new Asia-Pacific trade agreement.

4. Seth Masket on the illiberalism of the Republican Party. I'd argue that there's a lot more continuity between Newt Gingrich's party and Donald Trump's, although I do agree there's been change.

5. Dan Drezner on Trump's foreign policy on his way out the door.

6. Kevin Kosar on modernizing Congress.

7. Catherine Rampell on Judy Shelton and the Federal Reserve.

8. Michelle Goldberg on bickering Democrats.

9. And a fantastic collection of quick reactions by scholars to the election. Looks like a terrific resource. 

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