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Cafe Society to discuss the complexities of a change of the nation’s administration

By Staff | Jul 22, 2016

The next session of the Cafe Society on July 26 will discuss what happens when the results of a Presidential election are implemented and a new team takes over managing the executive branch of government. It is a complicated and often chaotic process even if, and when the same political party remains at the helm.

The new President will be faced with managing expectations and husbanding stability and security, preserving essential continuity while responding to political direction reflected in election results. He or she may find that there are limited options for short term changes and that inertia is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

The informal weekly Cafe Society discussions, part of the Shepherd University Life Long Learning Program, are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. every Tuesday morning in the Rumsey Room of the SU Student Center. There are no fees or registration requirements.

Cafe facilitator Mike Austin said, “U.S. national elections often result in major changes in the composition and balance of power in the Congress as well as the White house and the Executive branch. Much depends on how the voice of the American People, as articulated by the electoral process is interpreted — i.e. is there a clear ‘mandate’ implicit in the outcome.

“Often there is a brief interlude of relative calm the honeymoon period that allows the new President to pick up the reins. But the trauma of transition is unavoidable and frequently it is even hyped to establish a clear and unequivocal demarcation, a more profound changing of the guard. Even though most politicians are thick skinned, they have indelible memories.

“The transition is an awkward period when political debts incurred during the campaign are paid and blue chips counted up. Thousands of people move in and out of office as new cerebral organs are grafted onto the political body of the nation.

“The transplants aren’t always successful since most of the day-to-day work of governing demands knowledge and skills very dissimilar from those required on the campaign trail. Even hold-overs from prior administrations, find there have been dramatic changes since they were last in power.

“Often resentment and frustration levels are high as the interface between political appointees and career civil servants is sorely tested when they begin to respond to workplace demands. The situation is often complicated by deferred issues that were avoided during the ‘lame duck period’ between the elections and inauguration.”

Austin went on to say, “Regardless of who prevails in November, this transition promises to be more difficult than usual. The American public appears to be looking with a jaundiced eye at many of the ‘want-a-be’ politicos who hope to fill prestigious and lucrative positions in the new Administration.

“Both political parties and the political process itself have lost credibility. Campaign rhetoric and the over- wrought language of party policy formulations convention platform planks included will soon be forgotten and some new means will be required to find common cause, build teams, and set realistic priorities.

“Domestic and international crises may force actions and painful decisions before the executive branch is prepared to function effectively. The leverage inherent in the Presidential ‘bully pulpit’ has been greatly reduced in recent years and actionable political consensus will be much more difficult to attain.

“Some of the contentious issues raised during the campaign will have to be addressed and may require compromise and proactive effort outside of traditional political party precedents.”