Third, after leaving the Obama government, many members of the future administration, following the Washington revolving door tradition, have moved to the private sector and are now returning to the White House with the baggage of close ties with companies where they either worked or represented their interests. So, Jake Sullivan, collaborating with Macro Advisory Partners, defended
the interests of Uber and Lyft in negotiations with the California government when discussing legislation to protect the rights of so-called "gig workers". Tony Blinken co-founded WestExec, a consulting firm for IT companies wishing to provide services to the public sector. Former employees of the largest technology companies fill less visible
, but no less significant, positions in various committees and working groups, where the drafting of specific policy initiatives will take place. Four members of the future administration (Wally Adeyemo, Brian Dees, Mike Donilon and Mike Pyle) have ties with BlackRock
, the largest player in the global financial market, which manages $7.8 trillion. In January 2020, BlackRock management announced
a revision of its investment strategies and began to avoid investments in companies associated with environmental risks. This underpinning of policy by specific business interests will provide additional incentive for larger and more proactive actions for the future climate protection.
The abundant representation of the technological and financial sectors in the administration of the Democrats, on the one hand, is not surprising, given that they constitute one part of the American elite, largely formed and strengthened thanks to the processes of globalisation. On the other hand, it reduces the likelihood of a critical understanding of the distortions that have arisen in the American economy and society during this time, and the adoption of overdue reforms to break IT monopolies and regulate Wall Street.
Despite the large number of "old faces" in the next administration, the "return to normal"
promised by Joe Biden during the presidential campaign may be a very hard task.
First, the world has not stood still for the past four years, and issues that the Obama administration could afford to ignore still are on the agenda. Perhaps the most obvious example of such transformations is the country's consensus on the need to revise relations with China. Under the influence of this consensus, a mechanism was launched to create an institutional and legislative framework for confronting Beijing, which embraced the entire US state apparatus. In addition to an unprecedented number of bills affecting China (336 such bills
have been introduced since 2018, 12 of which have become laws), the 2021 defence budget is funding the Pacific Containment Initiative, and Congress has pushed through the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernisation Act (FIRRMA) reforms and Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) . Although the PRC is not directly mentioned, the general context of the debate during the adoption of these bills was clearly anti-Chinese. Unlike political attitudes that change with each new administration, such mechanisms are extremely inertial. Biden may soften the tone of the US-China conflict, but he will be forced to stay within the determined framework.
Second, Obama administration officials are returning to Washington in a weaker position. If in 2008 the Democrats burst into the White House on the wave of popularity of the young and promising Senator Barack Obama, now the same people come to power as the "better of the two evils" under the slogan "nothing will fundamentally change."
So-called progressive Americans, who voted not so much for Biden as against Trump
, have promised from the early days of the new administration to pressure the party leadership to promote social reform. The practical implementation of these threats has not been long in coming, and already in December, Senator Bernie Sanders (independent, Vermont) threatened to block the adoption of the budget, and managed to include direct payments to citizens in the economic assistance package.
The minimal Democratic majority in both houses of Congress increases the room for manoeuvre of the future administration, allowing it, for example, to appoint judges, determine the legislative agenda, and simplify the task of approving candidates. At the same time, however, the voice of only one Democrat in the Senate will be enough to sabotage the vote, which means that no large-scale or long-term initiatives should be expected. Most likely, in the next two years, in US foreign policy, we will see many "accords", "action plans" and "road maps" to avoid the need to ratify international treaties.
Finally, Biden's presidency will begin amid deep social divisions and economic crises, which the new administration will have to spend significant political capital to manage.
Despite a massive campaign against Trump by American media and digital platforms, he received 11 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016, and, despite persistent accusations of racism, expanded his base to include more voters from minority groups.