The rejection of the president boosts the Democratic candidate amid agonizing scrutiny. The Republican president launches unfounded accusations of fraud and announces a legal battle
Democrat Joe Biden has defeated Republican Donald Trump in the United States elections at the end of an agonizing vote of nearly 72 hours. A tide of participation, with special weight of women, young people and the vote in the big cities, has decided to expel from the White House the New York tycoon who brought the most aggressive populism, bordering on the xenophobic, to the center of power. The victory of Biden, a 77-year-old moderate politician, faces a Trump declared in absentia, who has decided to take the result to court by waving unfounded accusations of fraud.
The last update of the count in Pennsylvania this Saturday morning (Washington time) certified Biden as the winner of that key territory and, with him, the winner of the elections. He had surpassed 270 electoral votes and Trump has just become the first president in the last 25 years to lose a reelection.
The fall of Trump does not translate into the end of the ideas and feelings that boosted him, nor does it imply that the social and cultural gap that leaves the country is on the way to closing. The demonstrations during the vote count, which have included Trumpistas armed with rifles, show the high tension experienced. What does reflect the result is that the union of Democratic voters is more numerous and representative of the United States than the white right that Trump has appealed to for the last four years.
Biden, the vice president of the Barack Obama Administration, has not been heightened by enthusiasm or charisma, but by a colossal wave of rejection of Trump. This began to be built with that first Women’s March, the day after his inauguration, in Washington; with the demonstrations for the climate or with the protests of the young people against the arms. In the legislative elections of November 2018, it crystallized with the biggest Democratic victory since Watergate, and this summer, with the president’s harsh response to the mobilizations against racism, he rose in revolutions. The erratic management of the pandemic ended up spurring the voters, who this Tuesday have cut the way to a second term for the Republican.
Trump’s results, on the other hand, show the capacity for mobilization that the magnate has among the Republican bases. In the midst of a serious economic and health crisis, and after four years of controversy, with impeachment Through, the president has obtained at least six million more votes than in 2016 (with data from Friday morning in the US). The Republican’s success is not a carom, it is not a coincidence, Trump is not the businessman outside politics that he wants to represent, in a candidate with a good political nose. But it has not been enough to stop the Democratic push.
Biden, with a centrist profile and almost octogenarian, is, with his 73.8 million, the candidate with the most votes in the history of the United States. These colossal figures are due to the massive response from the Americans. Some 160 million have voted, a record turnout since 1900.
The former vice president seemed a year ago a bet against the times, alien to the new blood of the Democratic Party, far from the vigorous speeches of the left wing of the formation and without enough impetus to face a political tiger like Trump. His figure, however, is the one that generated the most consensus among the different sensitivities; his stability, his restraint and his irresistible doses of empathy made him that name around which to close ranks. In a primary with more than 20 applicants, he emerged as the winner.
Biden is descended from a working Irish family, the son of a Chevrolet car salesman from Delaware, a small state an hour and a half from Washington. He was born in 1942 in Scranton, a Pennsylvania mining town, but his father lost his job and, when he was just 10 years old, they moved. In Delaware he studied law and there also began a promising and precocious political career. He was elected senator for the first time in 1972, at the age of 29, and launched his first race for the White House in 1987 with an outcome to forget: he withdrew from the primaries amid accusations of plagiarism. In those of 2008, in front of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he also got out early, without options, but the young Obama chose him as number two and he was vice president for eight years.
His life is marked by both ambition and tragedy. When he turned 30, the newly elected senator lost his first wife and their one-year-old daughter in a traffic accident. In 2015 another of his sons, Beau, a rising star of the Democratic Party who always encouraged him to follow, died of cancer.
Now the promise he made to Beau and the dream he began to cherish half a century ago has come to fruition. When he is sworn in, he will be 78 years old and the oldest president to reach the Oval Office. Everything indicates that he will fulfill a single mandate. During the campaign, to appease misgivings about his age, his environment indicated that he would not run for re-election, which directs the focus to his electoral partner, the future vice president, Kamala Harris.
The 56-year-old senator from California will be the first woman to hold that position and, therefore, a more than potential candidate to relieve Biden in 2024. The rise of the number two Obama to the most powerful office in the world has not resolved the generational replacement of the party, a pending issue for the next election. Harris, a former black prosecutor with a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, was already one of the contenders in this year’s Democratic primary.
But there are four very difficult years to go. The future president faces the challenge of getting the country out of a serious economic and health crisis that no one saw coming just a year ago, and he will have to do so in the midst of a serious political and social fracture. Americans are more divided than they were four years ago on issues such as race, gender or weapons, and the campaign has been especially bitter.