American Institutions Are Strong Enough to Handle a Muddled Transition


This op-ed originally appeared in Barron’s on 11/17/20


Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Outgoing President Donald Trump does not appear close to conceding the election. But for the incoming Biden-Harris administration, it doesn’t matter whether the president goes through a full cycle of election grief before he leaves office. Court case after court case challenging the election results has failed. The final state tallies will be official within weeks. And Republican leaders in key states have assured the public that there will be no switching of Electoral College votes against the demonstrated will of the electorate. 

Nothing Trump does will stop the arrival of a new administration. A career federal service, maligned and weakened over the past four years, will have prepared for the arrival of a new administration. That is the hallmark of a functioning democracy—institutions prevail.

. . . for the full commentary head to Barron’s (outside the paywall)


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The great American experiment in democracy will survive Trump’s best efforts to end it


This op-ed originally appeared in the SCMP on 11/2/20.


Illustration: Craig Stephens

With only days left before the US presidential election, fears are growing of voter intimidation, drawn-out legal challenges to vote counts, and even the potential for political violence. These concerns are usually reserved for struggling democracies around the world, not a country long considered the leader of the free world.

That leadership position has been thrown into question as the US has withdrawn from a number of multilateral engagements and favoured a myopic nationalism rather than the internationalist orientation the country had followed since the end of World War II. There’s a lot more at stake in this election than just who becomes the next president. Democracy itself is on the ballot.

In far too many places, political freedom is an exception rather than the norm. Over the past 14 years, it has been declining according to Freedom House research. The reasons are many, but the results are the same – the rule of law is weakening in high-, medium-, and low-income countries around the world. The US is not immune to this trend.

. . . for the full op-ed head to the SCMP.


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Right to vote: US must lead by example in presidential election to showcase its democracy


This op-ed originally appeared in the SCMP on 8/31/20.


Illustration: Craig Stephens

It’s not every day that the US Postal Service becomes national, even international, news.Mail delivery has never been a major global foreign policy issue. But in the pandemic year of Covid-19, delivery of mail-in ballots for the November US presidential election has turned into a serious concern. With social distancing still a priority, many voters are expected to avoid going to polling stations and instead rely on mailing their ballots.

The consequences of a botched election go well beyond Washington. Whoever occupies the White House in 2021 will be overseeing the lasting effects of the pandemic, a rapidly accelerating climate change crisis, and shifting great-power geopolitical risks. Even the perception of an illegitimate US election will further erode what’s left of Washington’s global influence.

. . . for the full op-ed head to the SCMP (limited free articles).


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