Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen highlighted possible changes to the American political system at an event hosted by the College Democrats at Hopkins (HopDems) on Wednesday, Dec. 2.
According to Van Hollen, the recent presidential election ended a “four-year national nightmare.” He expressed his admiration for the number of Americans who voted, emphasizing that the Democratic victory disproved anyone who had previously denied the power of voting.
Van Hollen warned listeners about the negative implications of U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and how he has fostered public uneasiness.
“It causes incredible damage to our democracy by perpetrating the fraud of this election,” he said. “It undermines faith in our democracy... Trump’s claims bring smiles to authoritarian leaders around the world because this is part of their playbook.
Van Hollen stressed that the U.S.’s allies are relieved at the outcome of the election, citing how various foreign leaders quickly congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris upon their victory.
Their administration, Van Hollen believes, will take a more aggressive and serious approach to environmental protection. He anticipates the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, regaining global leadership in climate policy and immediately working to reverse harmful policies and regulations in American industries.
In an email to The News-Letter, junior Mario Aguirre stated that he enjoyed the insight into politics this event gave him.
“This opportunity to get on a Zoom and ask an elected official questions doesn’t happen too often,” he wrote. “It’s important to get in contact with our representatives to see how they are working for us constituents, especially when many feel that there is gridlock in Congress.”
Van Hollen emphasized the importance of the Georgia runoff elections on Jan. 5, which have the potential to flip the Senate from red to blue and further contribute to effective policy changes under the Biden administration.
Senior Dave Taylor expressed his appreciation for Van Hollen’s thoughts on the future Biden administration in an email to The News-Letter.
“The senator provided useful insights both on the policies that can potentially be passed through a divided Senate and the possibility for the president-elect to use the National Emergencies Act to enact bolder steps,” he wrote.
HopDems Vice President Chris Park, who facilitated the event, noted that Van Hollen had just returned from a vote on the Senate Floor when he joined the call. The virtual setting allowed him to participate in this event even with his busy schedule, Park said, making Van Hollen accessible to a larger audience.
“It would have been significantly more difficult to organize this event in person,” Park said. “We had this great opportunity to hear from one of the most important leaders in our state and in our country.”
Chris H. Park, the vice president of HopDems, is a News & Features Editor for The News-Letter. He did not contribute reporting, writing or editing to this article.