By Penza News
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph Biden, who previously declared himself the winner, called on the administration of incumbent President Donald Trump to engage in a transition of power and, above all, in the fight against the pandemic.
According to the Democrat, the sooner members of his transition team gain access to the administration’s plan for the distribution of a vaccine against coronavirus among the country’s population, the smoother the transfer of power will be.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate. […] So how do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking to get it done,” Biden said during a news conference in Wilmington, November 16.
White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien has promised a “very professional handover” to the transitional Democrat team provided that Joseph Biden and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris will be announced as winners in the election.
In turn, Donald Trump refuses to publicly admit his defeat and continues to talk about numerous violations, demanding a recount. He is supported by representatives of the Republican Party, who declare that the current head of the White House has the right to challenge the results of the vote in court.
Meanwhile, some analysts believe that litigation and recounts will not affect the election results in any way. For example, according to a recent report by FairVote, a research company that has tracked election disputes since 2000, recounts, on average, bring a candidate no more than 430 additional votes. The largest result recorded in the last 20 years was less than 2.6 thousand votes.
But the officially confirmed gap between Joseph Biden and Donald Trump is so great that in order to win, the latter will have to achieve a recount in several states and receive tens of thousands of additional votes in each of them.
At the same time, until November 23, state authorities are required to count ballots sent by mail, including by Americans who were outside the United States. Voting results for each state must be approved by December 12, and members of the Electoral College are to vote on December 14.
On 6 January 2021, the results of their voting are to be approved at a joint meeting of both houses of Congress. The inauguration ceremony of the President-elect is scheduled for January 20.
At the same time, according to the observers, the indisputable result of the US elections was confirmation of a deep split within American society that can leave its mark on the foreign and domestic political decisions of the head of state, regardless of who will take the office in the nearest future.
In their opinion, the high level of polarization of the electorate and elites could further exacerbate the already difficult situation in the country, complicated by the consequences of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and prolonged nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, as well as lead to increased confrontation with the leading players on the world stage, first of all, with China.
According to Ryan Hurl, Department of Political Science, the University of Toronto, the US election results were not surprising.
“President Trump should have focused on expanding his coalition while in office, but instead made decisions that alienated moderate Democrats and Republicans – the so-called ‘Muslim Ban,’ family separation policies – or pursued very traditional Republican priorities such as tax cuts that did little to solidify the emerging populist base of the party,” the expert said.
Nevertheless, in his opinion, this may well have been “the Covid Election”— had Trump handled the crisis more adroitly, the outcome would probably have been different.
“There is a mixture of anger and relief among all partisans. The anger felt by the Republicans will remain, even if there is little evidence of widespread voter fraud. At the same time, I think Republicans are relieved that the party was not repudiated by the public as a whole,” Ryan Hurl suggested.
“Democrats, to be successful, will need to put aside their resentment and desire for revenge and focus on the issues that define their party—particularly health care and climate change. If they pursue fundamental constitutional reform, they will be rebuffed,” the analyst added, noting that this was more a defeat for Trump than it was a defeat for the Republican party.
Greg Thielmann, Board Member of the Arms Control Association and former office director in the State Department’s intelligence bureau, INR, who was specializing in political-military and intelligence issues, shared the view of the strongest polarization of American society “despite the record popular vote total accumulated by President-Elect Biden and his more than 4 million-vote victory over President Trump.”
“Large segments of the population regard political opponents more as enemies than fellow citizens with different views,” the expert stressed.
In his opinion, the most serious domestic challenge to the Biden administration’s arms control policies will be the sceptical attitude of Republican Senators toward mutually binding agreements.
“The demanding ratification requirements – approval by at least 2/3 of US Senators – constitutes a significant obstacle to negotiating future treaties. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate in 2021 – the likely, though not certain, outcome of two remaining runoff elections on January 5 – it will probably prevent the next administration from launching ambitious arms control initiatives,” Greg Thielmann suggested.
At the same time he noted that the prospects of extending the New START agreement are good.
“Biden has signaled that he favors an unconditional five-year extension and will formally propose it as soon as he takes office. As long as Russia maintains its unconditional offer to do likewise, I believe that the extension will occur,” the ex-employee of the State Department said.
“It is difficult to predict the political and psychological impact of ongoing common threats to Russia and the United States in the coming years. However, I assume that battling the corona virus epidemic, seeking to forestall climate change and to promote economic growth may encourage Moscow and Washington to cooperate in the reduction of the nuclear threat they pose to each other,” Greg Thielmann added.
Meanwhile, Charles Henry, Professor Emeritus of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, stressed that the split in American society could deepen significantly if Donald Trump continues to declare that he does not recognize the results of the vote.
“His use of the government to foment discontent will make it difficult for Biden to govern effectively. The only quick way to mitigate the consequences would be for major figures in the Republican party to stand up to Trump, however, that is not likely,” he said.
According to him, the election of a Democratic candidate can have a positive impact on the foreign policy of the United States.
“Biden is likely to have some success in foreign policy given the international community’s willing to work with Biden. Hopefully this will also include the START treaty,” Charles Henry said.
“The election of Kamala Harris as vice president is historic and should not be downplayed. She should be a strong partner with Biden and is a leading future candidate for president,” the expert added.
Meanwhile, Ken Kollman, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan, expressed his conviction that the public “shifted away from Trump and toward Biden decisively and with enough margin” although “the election results were somewhat close.”
“The country is deeply divided along ideological, geographic, racial, and economic lines. Biden will seek to govern in a more unifying and collaborative way, but it will be very difficult. I do not expect much bipartisan lawmaking to occur. The divisions will remain and Biden will need as much to unify his own party as bring in Republicans to help with his plans,” he said.
In his opinion, the mood in the US society indicates weariness and also nervousness about the effects of COVID-19.
“Fearful. Some are angry about the election and some are delighted with the outcome. But the worries about the virus and the economy are real and widespread,” Ken Kollman explained.
According to him, the main question moving forward for the American electoral system is what happens to the Republican Party post-Trump and post-2020 election.
“If he remains the symbolic leader of the party, it will shape what other members in his party do but also how the Democrats react. Trump has infused American politics with divisive questions about immigration, trade, the US role in the world, and ‘white privilege.’ If those questions remain salient in American politics, the divisions will remain cancerous on the American quest for more bipartisan efforts to solve the problems of the country and contribute to solutions in concert with other countries,” Professor of Political Science concluded.