by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Pray for President Trump, prepare for President-elect Joe Biden.
That is the position many conservative activists find themselves in as Biden puts together his incoming administration and gets ready to take office, while Trump refuses to concede and continues to contest the election results in multiple close battleground states. But the preparation for Biden is hampered by the fact that these activists can’t say Biden won.
Some believe, or hope, Trump will prevail in his election challenges and remain in the White House. Others are skeptical but don’t want to alienate grassroots supporters who remain convinced Trump won a second term and is a victim of voter fraud. And others still don’t want to anger Trump, who may remain a force in the Republican Party well into 2024 no matter what happens this year.
“We will not be making any statements about a new administration until the election has been certified,” said an official in a conservative organization. “We just have to be patient and let this whole process play out,” said another.
In the meantime, Biden is announcing appointments to key administration posts and starting work on liberal policy initiatives many of these groups oppose. Some sidestep whatever electoral uncertainty remains by saying that Trump’s fate is in the hands of his lawyers and the courts, which now feature many Trump-appointed judges, yet their activism and policy work must go on.
Immigration hawks have already railed against Biden’s proposal to offer a pathway to citizenship to most illegal immigrants within his first 100 days in office. Social conservatives have protested Biden’s choice of Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services. But some activists concede it is difficult to rally supporters against a new administration as they remain hopeful of retaining the existing one.