Winning an election in a polarized nation is one thing—governing it is quite another.
A flagging economy, an unpopular war and a hard fought election all challenge the president-elect. Many believe that our political system has reached a crisis point, with the executive branch, the Congress and the courts as unable to reach small compromises as they are to confront big challenges. So where should the president-elect begin and what tactics should he employ in order to effectively govern?
On November 7, Brookings held the first of 12 events which will provide timely policy recommendations and political advice to the incoming president and his transition team. Brookings Vice President of Governance Studies Darrell West will offer a public memo to the president-elect with advice on bringing a polarized electorate together, the first of 12 Brookings memos on the most crucial public policy priorities facing the new president.
West also moderated a discussion with former White House speech writer Terry Edmonds and Brookings senior fellow emeritus Stephen Hess, a longtime student of presidential transitions and author of the new transition workbook, What Do We Do Now? (Brookings Institution Press, 2008). Two former White House chiefs of staff, Ken Duberstein and Leon Panetta, offered their thoughts on the election results and the policy environment facing the president-elect. Brookings President Strobe Talbott provided introductory remarks.