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Analysis

A loser unwilling to concede. A worsening pandemic. War drums with Iran. Happy Thanksgiving

A traditional holiday dinner with stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, and pumpkin and pecan pie.
A traditional holiday dinner with stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, and pumpkin and pecan pie.Getty Images/Getty

As we prepare for Thanksgiving week, it appears that we have some actual, real, good news: two companies say they are making significant progress on separate COVID-19 vaccines that could begin to be distributed by late December. Dr. Anthony Fauci said by the end of April it is possible anyone that wants a vaccine could get one.

Thank goodness.

But that bright future is just a guess.

As for the present, well, there is a lot of reason to spend more time in prayer on the here and now.

For starters, it still remains unclear whether we are headed for one of the most serious constitutional crises in the nation’s history in the next few weeks.

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President Trump hasn’t conceded that he lost the presidential election, hasn’t allowed his administration to help in the transition to President-elect Joe Biden, and won’t even answer if he will leave the White House.

In the case of the Department of Health and Human Services, the sprawling agency that is just a tad important during a pandemic, CNN is reporting that staffers there are not to talk to anyone associated with Biden and to formally report if anyone from the Biden team reached out.

Those around him are reportedly saying that Trump understands that he lost and he will leave the White House when Biden is inaugurated, and the traditional peaceful transition of power will go on like it always does, even if the exiting president departs a bit more begrudgingly.

But there is always the sense that Trump has a few tricks up his sleeve so until it is over, it isn’t over.

Second, while Trump might be plotting his final moves, the pandemic continues to expand at a record pace. More than 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. And America may be on the brink of another significant shutdown at the very moment when a lot of Americans are beyond fatigued, less vigilant, and the weather is forcing people to spend more time indoors. It is a recipe for a lot more death.

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Third is the little thing about how we could end up in a major war in the next few weeks. Keeping his campaign promise, Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2018 and now it has lots more uranium than was allowed under the agreement. The New York Times reported that Trump asked top aides last week whether he had options to strike Iran’s main nuclear site in the weeks ahead. The options include military and cyber attacks. Iran could respond to those.

All in all, there could have been a lot to discuss at a large family Thanksgiving, especially as America is more polarized than in anyone’s living memory. Does last Thanksgiving’s endless discussion about impeachment seem quaint?

If there is one silver lining in this era when authorities tell us to avoid Thanksgiving travel, it’s that you don’t have to debate all of this with your crazy uncle.


James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell.