US election results: Biden has beaten Trump to become president – but what happens next?

Saturday 07 November 2020
SMA News – USA \ Sky news – By Greg Milam, US correspondent

Amid intrigue over the outgoing president’s parting message to his successor, this will be a transition like no other.

In normal times, the transition from one American presidency to the next is a pretty dull affair, a matter of practicalities and technicalities, teams of officials peacefully handing over power.

As with everything in American politics in 2020, the Trump-Biden transition will be unlike any the country has seen.

Biden has claimed victory in the election and made it clear his focus is on being ready for office come Inauguration Day on Wednesday January 20.

Even someone as superstitious as him, wary of taking anything for a granted, has been working on the transition outline for months.

But the background noise of the current president, decrying the process, challenging the outcome and seeking legal redress, will haunt the coming weeks.

There are two movies playing out across America – one features Biden as the clear winner of a fair election and a new direction for the country.

The other shows a discontented Trump and a band of his supporters throwing out legal threats and complaints.

In such divided times, Americans will have to pick which blockbuster they want to watch.

Biden and Kamala Harris will take comfort in the history-making number of votes their ticket has received and see it is a mandate for their agenda.

Their vision for America has been well publicised: on COVID-19, on climate change, on race and inequality, on healthcare. On most fronts it is the polar opposite to Donald Trump‘s vision.

On the pandemic, the election has concluded at a time when the country is facing surging case numbers and a seeming political paralysis on dealing with its fall-out.

And Biden will face a divided US Congress with the Senate in Republican hands, for now at least, and recent history suggesting that can mean nothing but stalemate.

Part of Biden’s sales pitch to the American people was his ability to reach across the aisle during his own decades serving in the Senate.

He believes he can do that as president and has begun to reach out to old friends.

But he and Harris, herself a senator of course, will face a Senate that operates in a very different political environment these days.

If they can do business with enough Republicans, they may be able to move the country in the direction they hope. If not, there are a gruelling four years ahead.

Much will depend on how quickly the defeated president and his supporters accept the decision of the American people, and the temperature can be lowered.

Before he takes office, Joe Biden has the small matter of turning 78 on November 20. He will be the oldest person ever to assume the presidency.

It has become a tradition for outgoing presidents to leave a letter to their successor in the desk drawer in the Oval Office.

After this campaign, we can only imagine what Donald Trump’s parting message to Joe Biden will be.

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