JOSEPH Robinette Biden of the Democratic Party was elected the 46th President of the United States Saturday setting off a wave of relief and cheer among his supporters in a nation on edge and deeply divided.
Biden, 77, the oldest person elected President, had painted his run against incumbent Donald Trump as a fight for the very “soul of America” to heal a fractured country that has lost 230,000 of its residents to Covid and is counting record surges each day amid economic gloom.
Ending the tense election season and a nail-biting four days, it was Biden’s win in his native state of Pennsylvania that brought his electoral college votes to 273, past the magic number of 270, according to the Associated Press.
Running as a moderate and stitching a coalition of women, minorities, old and young voters, fence-sitters, and Republicans giving up on their candidate, Biden defeated Trump making him the first President to lose re-election in more than 25 years.
Earlier, Biden staked crucial wins in Michigan and Wisconsin. Ultimately, he captured three Midwestern states (the “Blue Wall”) that had catapulted Trump’s victory in 2016 along with the states that had gone to former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He remains ahead in the undeclared battlegrounds of Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada.
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect (Kamala) Harris,” Biden said in a statement from his family home in Delaware.
“In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
In a historical milestone, Kamala Harris will become the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to become Vice President. She said on Twitter: “This election is about so much more than @JoeBiden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”
Trump has not conceded the elections and has filed several lawsuits to halt the vote tally process.
However, avenues for an alternate outcome continue to shrink as the counting continues. For the last week, Trump has been sulking and in a bizarre outburst that defied facts, he said that the election had been stolen through “illegal votes”.
Half an hour before noon Saturday, soon after the major television networks, beginning with CNN, called the race over, Trump’s campaign issued a statement: “Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”
Trump reiterated his allegations of fraud in a tweet that was flagged by Twitter: “I won this election, by a lot!”
In this, his third attempt at the White House, Biden, a four-decade Washington figure as a Senator and then a vice president, received more than 74 million votes, 4 million more than Trump, and more than any other presidential candidate.
In a record turnout election season, and the first-ever in a pandemic, 103 million total votes came in before election day itself through the mail.
However, the President-elect faces significant challenges ahead, including a potential Republican Senate and House.
Two runoff elections in Georgia will determine how much congressional control a Biden-Harris administration will have. The mixed bag for Democrats down the ballot exemplifies the persisting divisions the country still grapples with.
Biden’s career stands with a deep belief in relationship building, compromise, institutions, and incremental change. He will be closely watched by the progressive wings of the Democratic Party, impatient with his centrist route to progress. During his campaign, he had to fend off Trump’s attempts to associate Biden with sections of his party that are further to the left of him.
Both sides had their lawyers and voter protection groups standing ready in the expected case of an extended legal fight. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ordered Pennsylvania’s election officials to separate ballots that arrived after Election Day.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines