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WASHINGTON: In the 11 weeks since Election Day, the collision of crises confronting President-elect Joe Biden have gone from staggering to almost unimaginable.

More than 170,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 during that stretch alone, sending total U.S. deaths soaring past 400,000. The deep partisan divisions roiling the nation boiled over into violence during the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, threatening America’s long history of peaceful transitions of power and resulting in the second impeachment of the outgoing president. The economy has steadily weakened, with employers cutting 140,000 jobs just in the month of December.

It falls now to Biden, as he is sworn in on Wednesday, to both level with Americans about the deep trouble facing the nation and cast ahead to a brighter future. He will do so knowing that millions of Americans wrongly believe his election was illegitimate, fueled by the lie perpetuated by President Donald Trump.

Trump himself won’t be there to witness Biden’s swearing in, having decided to defy tradition and leave Washington Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration.

Taken together, it’s as grim a moment as many Americans can remember and…

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