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How executive powers are transferred after a presidential election

  • Developing communication strategies

    The transition process received more attention after the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 was passed. It required the GSA to provide more official support to the president-elect's transition teams. For that reason, it's vital that a communications strategy is determined for when the transition team will inform Congress, the press, and the public about key transitionary policy decisions and appointments. This also involves setting up the official White House social media accounts before Inauguration Day.

  • Coordinate with the White House and the president-elect

    When a non-incumbent candidate wins a presidential election, there's an expectation that the incumbent president will work with the president-elect to communicate and share classified resources effectively throughout the transition process. While President Trump initially refused to acknowledge Joe Biden's win, President Obama opened up the White House to Trump shortly after his 2016 win, saying, "I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago, and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect."

  • Drawing up a 100- to 200-day plan for executing campaign policies

    A president-elect generally chooses to focus on highlighting and implementing legislation related to two or three key campaign issues in their first 100 to 200 days in office. To do so, a management agenda should be established, and further policy priorities should be fleshed out during the transition process so that they can be accomplished early and keep the new president's approval rating high. For instance, Biden promised to build back the Affordable Care Act, which he blamed the Trump administration for repeatedly attacking.

  • Incumbent political appointees tender their resignation

    Because new administrations typically appoint new nominees to fill major political positions, incumbent political appointees in these positions are expected to tender their resignation shortly after the election results are certified. For instance, during her presidential run in January 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said that she would ask for the resignations of every political appointee of President Trump by her first day in the White House.

  • Fill political appointments

    During a new administration, the head of presidential appointments will sometimes need to collect information on and name candidates for around 4,000 new political appointments under the latest administration. Around 1,200 of those roles require Senate confirmation.

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