Biden wins. What happens next?

Democratic candidate Joe Biden is set to be the next president of the United States, with most networks calling Pennsylvania and Nevada for him. However, president Donald Trump has refused to concede the elections

November 07, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo: Refuse Fascism Philly

Democratic party candidate and the Obama-era vice-president Joe Biden is all set to become the next president of the United States. Various media organizations called the States of Pennsylvania and Nevada with their 26 electoral votes in his favor. CNN, ABC, Associated Press and even the pro-Republican Fox News called the presidential race for the Democratic ticket of Biden and Kamala Harris, after only 40,000 votes were left to be counted in Pennsylvania. By winning these States, Biden will cross the 270 mark needed to win the majority in the electoral college which elects the president.

A lot of what happens in the coming weeks may depend on Donald Trump’s approach. In a statement, he said that from Monday, his campaign “will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.” Just minutes after the election in Pennsylvania was called, a team of lawyers and pro-Trump polling observers led by Republican leader Rudy Giuliani held a press conference in Philadelphia. The observers team that they had been excluded from the counting process, while Giuliani raised suspicions on the authenticity of the postal ballots. An hour before the announcement Donald Trump tweeted “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Trump will continue to be president till January.

The victory comes after a long-winding and exhaustive counting process that began on November 3, and which is yet to conclude in several key States, including Georgia and North Carolina. Biden looks set to win Georgia, the first time a Democrat will carry the State since 1992. But the margin is so slim that a recount may take place.

Over the past few days, Trump and his campaign released a tirade of misleading and unsubstantiated claims of the election supposedly being “stolen” even as they provided no evidence for the same. His campaign has already raised legal challenges in State and federal courts, disputing the counting process and seeking intervention on postal ballots.

This has also prompted right-wing protests across the US, outside counting centers, with images of armed pro-Trump demonstrators becoming commonplace. These demonstrations were also met with large-scale demonstrations and rallies led by progressive groups, demanding that all the votes be counted regardless of the threats placed by the pro-Trump camp.

Once the final result for each State is declared, the process will move on to the electoral college, where elected delegates shall vote for the candidates they pledged. The electoral college vote is scheduled in the month of December and the new president and vice-president are set to take office in the month of January. With a president reluctant to concede defeat and large-scale reactionary mobilizations in his favor, the next two months are expected to be more tumultuous than what the counting process has been.

The Democrats may have won the presidency but governing will not be an easy task. The control of the Senate will be determined by two run-off elections in the State of Georgia in January in which the Republicans have the advantage. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, the future Biden administration will find it very difficult to push any progressive legislation. Meanwhile, the Democratic party itself is seeing schisms with the more conservative sections criticizing the progressive bloc. The conservative sections are claiming that it is essential to strike a moderate tone to win more seats and have railed against the radical trends in the Democratic party. The more progressive sections have pointed out that radical demands and grassroots organizers were key in ensuring the Biden victory and cannot be ignored.

It also remains to be seen what change a Biden victory will bring to US policies, especially abroad, as Biden is likely to retain many establishment figures from the Obama years who were responsible for thousands of deaths across the world. In this sense, the election results will mark more of the same with a different face in the White House. Progressive movements have continuously highlighted the need for renewed struggle, pointing out that the voting out of Trump is only the beginning.

In a statement, the Party for Socialism and Liberation said, “The task at hand is to build a mass movement demanding that the Biden White House take immediate emergency measures to eradicate mass unemployment; provide a livable guaranteed income for all of those who have been made jobless; cancel rents, evictions and foreclosures; cancel student debt; and adopt a Medicare for all healthcare system. At the same time, we have to mobilize greater opposition to U.S. militarism and war, which is not even slightly diminished under a government led by Joe Biden.”