After nearly 30 years since he first ran for the presidency, former Vice President Joe Biden has edged past Republican President Donald Trump to win the top office in the US.
Biden has secured 290 electoral college votes to against Trump’s 214 votes. The election, a long-drawn process by itself, was held during the most testing of times — the Covid pandemic had hit the nation hard, and the US quickly earned the dubious distinction of having the highest number of cases and deaths due to the infection.
Biden got almost 75 million votes, more than any president before him, but that was not enough to win. Biden and Trump were going head-to-head in many battleground States, and every vote mattered. It quickly became clear that the candidate who wins Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, will be able to stake the claim for the presidency. For three days, the world watched as every mail-in ballot was counted, and Biden slowly increased his lead over Trump. For its part, the Trump campaign has already sued several States regarding the counting process, and this could still derail Biden’s stupendous victory.
Path to nomination
Biden’s journey to the presidency has not been smooth. In fact, during the initial phases of the Democratic primaries, he performed poorly. After a string of defeats in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, he was almost out of the race because he struggled to get voters and donors to support him.
After a resounding victory in the South Carolina primaries (which took place on February 29, 2020), things turned around quickly for Biden. Within three days, the party coalesced behind him, after a push from former President Barack Obama to deny Bernie Sanders a victory on Super Tuesday (March 3, 2020). Biden swept the polls on that day, winning 10 of the 14 States that went to polls that day. From then on, he went on to win the party nomination with ease.
With Obama firmly in his corner, his campaign started to raise more money and strengthened his support base. The Democratic Party raised $1.51 billion, of which $167 million was raised in the first half of October. The Republicans, on the other hand, raised $82 million in October ( and $1.57 billion overall).
As the pandemic grew like wildfire, Biden preferred to pause his campaign and decided to go digital. He didn’t give many interviews, and questions were raised about his fitness to run.
Assuming that there are no more twists to the tale, Biden is all set to be sworn in on January 20. He will have no time to take things slowly, as there are several pressing matters at hand. He would have to deal with the Covid-19 crisis and the devastation at its wake. The economy is slowly recovering, but the nation could be forced to go into a lockdown if the number of cases rises rapidly.
Then there is the matter of getting the Democratic Congress and the Republican Senate to see eye-to-eye and pass another stimulus package to help the citizens who need it the most.
He would also have to convince the Senate to approve a hike in taxes, one of his election promises. Then there are longstanding issues that like investing in infrastructure, raising wages, addressing racial discrimination and reforming the health insurance system – all of these progressive policies have widespread support amongst the electorate. Bernie Sanders has declared that if Biden implements progressive policies, he has the potential to be the most progressive President since FDR. But, will Biden do so? That remains to be seen. After all, back in June 2019, he candidly told donors that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he won.