During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his first 100 days in office to craft a legislative raft — built from executive orders and Congressional legislation — that helped keep a drowning nation from sinking. His most notable achievement? The New Deal.
Many historians laud that period of time as the greatest 100 days of any sitting president. It is the measuring stick by which we analyze other president’s first, crucial steps.
What makes a good first 100 days for a president?
Usually, according to Roosevelt’s legacy, it’s determined by how well a president addresses the nation’s most pressing issues upfront and how efficiently they work.
For example, President Barack Obama’s first 100 days are most known for things like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Much of his actions sought to remedy the Great Recession.
This is also usually the time when presidents also begin appointing cabinet members and delegating tasks to their respective departments.
Like Obama and FDR before him, President Joe Biden has been handed a national crisis. On top of pressures from calls for racial justice and reversing the Trump administration’s damage, he must act swiftly to combat the ongoing pandemic with equity.
This is Biden’s burden.
He must juggle many tasks — many of which are as overwhelming as a tsunami.
It goes without saying that Biden faces a unique challenge, and because of this, spectators should regard his first 100 days with compassion. Biden has many goals, and unfortunately, many of these can’t be accomplished in full until the pandemic has been handled.
To expect an end-all-be-all solution to issues like transgender liberation right now would be unreasonable given the current state of the world.
Note: he has done a lot so far. From reversing the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving in the military to bringing the United States back into the Paris Climate Accord, he has been effective in remedying the most glaring damages from his predecessor. Biden has also taken action to abolish private prisons.
His administration’s efficiency is commendable.
However, the steps Biden takes next, especially post-coronavirus (fingers crossed) is what will really shape his legacy. If he were to focus his efforts on, say, fixing campaign finance laws, perhaps he would go down with a more memorable reputation beyond “a transitional president.”
What should he focus on?
First and foremost, the pandemic. Biden must put the majority of his executive power toward economic relief and vaccine distribution. California has recently opened the Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium as a mass vaccination site.
An idea for the Biden administration to ruminate on: maybe it should mandate other states open stadiums or arenas as vaccination sites to increase distribution efficiency.
Beyond that, it should also focus on canceling student debt — something many students, Zags included, struggle with. Offering struggling students or adults with debt in the midst of this pandemic could help many out.
Of course, there are several other issues it should direct attention to. LGBTQ liberation and health care are issues that come to mind.
But for now, it would be prudent for this administration to direct its efforts toward the most immediate threat against the U.S., save for the rest of the planet.
An administration’s momentum, its legacy, is often set up by the strength of their first three months in office. Here’s to hoping that these past few weeks are an indicator of good things to come.