Joe Biden said Saturday night that after the election “this is the time to heal in America.” In that spirit, and to be constructive, we thought we’d offer a couple of suggestions for what you might call the healing agenda. These aren’t major policy concessions, but they would have symbolic political significance.
The former Vice President could start by ending government harassment of the Little Sisters of the Poor. That’s the order of nuns who have objected for a decade to being forced to cover contraception and abortifacients in their health-care plan under ObamaCare.
In July the Supreme Court upheld a Trump Administration rule granting the nuns a religious exemption to the mandate, but Mr. Biden criticized the ruling and vowed to restore the “Obama-Biden policy that existed before the (2014 Supreme Court) Hobby Lobby ruling.” Dropping the attempt to coerce these nuns against their beliefs wouldn’t threaten ObamaCare. But it would be an important gesture to religious Americans that Mr. Biden is going to lower the temperature in the culture war.
Next we’d suggest ending Mr. Biden’s opposition to the Opportunity Scholarships in the District of Columbia that provide a lifeline for thousands of low-income children trapped in bad public schools. The teachers unions hate this program because it challenges their education monopoly and, under Barack Obama, Democrats killed it for a while. But especially when Covid-19 has exposed the need for more options for public-school families, declaring peace over the scholarships would help thousands of poor parents and send a message that Mr. Biden’s priority is children rather than unions.
For a triple play, Mr. Biden could also speak up against those on the left who want to stigmatize and purge from civil society anyone who has worked in the Trump Administration. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the instigators of the purge campaign. Mr. Biden doesn’t have to admire the Trump Administration to say that most of the people who have served in it did so honorably.
This would anger some on the left, but if Mr. Biden intends to drive his Administration rather than have it driven from the left, better to send such a signal early. It won’t reconcile all Trump voters, but it might persuade many that Mr. Biden’s call for unity is more than Beltway virtue-signaling. We have many other suggestions if Mr. Biden wants to hear them.