As the second week of the U.S. Presidential election opens, the position of President of the United States of America remains contested by Donald Trump. The refusal of the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to grant access to presumed President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team has the potential to delay the Presidential transfer of power for the first time since 2000, when the Supreme Court decided a recount dispute between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Such a delay has potential U.S. National Security implications as the GSA process initiates essential components of the presidential transition, including security clearance processing and classified briefings.
U.S. government agencies and officials have begun to push back however; the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council issued a statement distributed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency declaring there is no evidence that any voting systems in the 2020 election were compromised. Additionally, an increasing number of Republican officials at the state and federal level are acknowledging Joe Biden as the presumed President-elect and advocating that Biden receive classified intelligence briefings.
Disinformation claiming fraud, election rigging, and deleted votes is getting support among many Trump believers on social media. Business leaders should anticipate uncertainty across industries through the duration of the presidential transition process. Stock market volatility and social unrest is likely to escalate should the election remain contested into December 2020. Preparing for political, economic, and social unrest would behoove businesses amidst the current electoral climate and against the backdrop of an accelerating Covid pandemic.
Question to Consider:
How can business leaders prepare for an environment characterized by political, economic, and social unrest should the 2020 U.S. Presidential election remain contested in coming weeks?
COVID-19: The HIGHLIGHTS
The United States surpassed 10 million confirmed Covid cases this week with no signs of the pandemic abating. The U.S. currently accounts for approximately one-fifth of the over 50 million Covid cases worldwide. With cases now spreading faster than ever across America, experts predict that hospitals may likely exceed capacity come winter. As a bright spot, drug manufacturer Pfizer announced that a vaccine currently in clinical trials was proving to be approximately 90 percent effective in preventing the disease in volunteers with no evidence of previous Covid infection. The news is positive as Pfizer is the first drug company to announce positive results from a late stage vaccine trial; however, long term safety or efficacy of the vaccine remains unknown. It is hopeful that Operation Warp Speed will be able to swiftly and safely distribute a vaccine throughout the U.S. sometime in early 2021.
Beyond the noise: The new normal
State election officials and election experts continue to maintain that the 2020 election was carried out smoothly across the country and without any widespread irregularities. Despite concerns about the ability to smoothly carry out elections during a pandemic, election officials in a number of contested states – who comprise both Democrat and Republican parties – continue to assert confidence in the integrity of the outcome. Even so, President Donald Trump persists in doing everything in his power to delay and obstruct the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. The President’s actions have the potential to create significant national security and public safety implications as they prevent presumed President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team from gaining access to U.S. government agencies, processing personnel, and obtaining classified national security briefings.
TRUSTED RESOURCES: for numbers & guidance
Johns Hopkins University – Coronavirus Resource Center
World Health Organization – COVID-19 Pandemic
Center for Disease Control – Coronavirus (COVID-19)