Today, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States. Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first woman, African American, and Asian American to become vice president.

The challenges facing the new administration are enormous, as Biden acknowledged in his inaugural address. Over 400,000 Americans have died from a pandemic that’s still raging out of control. Deep social divisions endure, as the tight security following the sack of the Capitol by pro-Trump extremists attests. Climate change still looms in the background, while the economy continues to shed jobs.

In recent weeks, we’ve looked at some of the early challenges for the new administration. Mitchell Zimmerman talks about the need to expand democracy, while Jill Richardson says Biden will need to address the economic stagnation that made Trumpism viable. Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Tyler Bond argue that Biden should prioritize closing the racial wealth gap, while Diana Anahi Torres-Valverde makes a forceful case for creating a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented people.

This week, we look at more challenges.

Sarah Anderson reports on the urgent need to restore paid sick leave protections. Tracey L. Rogers reflects on the latest breach of trust by police in the wake of the Capitol attack. Jim Hightower explores the role of money in politics in subverting our democracy under Trump, while Basav Sen offers a pointed look at the links between extremism and fossil fuel money in particular.

Finally, on a lighter note — with QAnon’s Satanist-obsessed conspiracy theorists reckoning with an end to the Trump administration — Jill Richardson talks about the time she had coffee with real-life Hollywood Satanists.

New This Week…

Workers Need Paid Sick Leave ASAP | Sarah Anderson
Congress let mandatory paid leave end on Dec. 31. Lawmakers — and employers — need to restore them immediately.

Can We Ever Trust the Police Again? | Tracey L. Rogers
The failures of the Capitol police — and the off-duty cops among the extremists — make it harder to trust the police than ever.

Fossil-Fueled Fascism | Basav Sen
How the oil, gas, and coal industries support and fund white supremacy and far-right politics.

The Time I Got Coffee With Hollywood Satanists | Jill Richardson
They were a lot nicer than QAnon conspiracy theorists seem to believe.

The Other Capitol Mob | Jim Hightower
Much to the embarrassment of major corporations, their political donations were traced to the mayhem of January 6.

You’re Fired | Khalil Bendib
Not with a bang, but a boot.

In Case You Missed It…

A Tale of Two Mobs | Mitchell Zimmerman
How the GOP abandoned democracy and became an accomplice to insurrection, and what must be done now.

Obama Didn’t Close the Racial Wealth Divide. Can Biden? | Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Tyler Bond
Dr. King called moderation the “great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom.” Biden should heed that warning today.

Dreamers Deserve a Path to Citizenship | Diana Anahi Torres-Valverde
DACA changed my life. But after four years of fear, it’s clear that undocumented young people need more protection.

Address the Stagnation That Paved the Way for Trump | Jill Richardson
Trump had plenty of rich supporters, but left-behind communities have been fertile ground for extremism throughout our history.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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