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Joe Biden wins US election: a close call

Democrat Joe Biden has been officially declared the President-elect of the United States after securing the state of Pennsylvania, following several days of uncertainty. 

The announcement came on Saturday afternoon. Biden and Trump’s electoral college vote counts had remained at 253 and 214, respectively, for over a day, with Pennsylvania’s 20 votes taking Biden over the 270-vote threshold needed for victory. 

This is Biden’s third attempt at the presidency, after unsuccessfully running in 1988 and 2008. 

His running mate, Kamala Harris, will be the first female Vice-President of the United States. 

Tuesday 3rd of November marked the start of the American presidential election, a race run between Republican President Donald Trump (74) and Democrat former Vice-President Joe Biden (77). 

What initially seemed a tight race, with the candidates neck-and-neck for much of Wednesday, gradually progressed to a clear lead for the Democrats.

Georgia, Arizona and North Carolina are continuing to count votes, with Biden leading in the former two. 

He has been projected by the BBC to win Nevada, which would place his electoral college vote count at 279.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a record number of postal and early voting. This election is on course to have the highest turnout in more than a century.

An estimated 66.5 per cent of eligible voters voted, both in person and via post, compared to 60.1 per cent in 2016. 

On Friday, Trump made a 17-minute long speech in which he alleged electoral fraud had been committed without proof, making statements such as “They wouldn’t allow legally permissible observers” and “If you count the legal votes, I easily win”.

Trump also described mail-in votes as “corrupt”. 

Several US television networks cut away from the President during the speech to avoid airing the fraudulent claims. 

Many fear that Trump will take the election result to the Supreme Court for illegitimacy, with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani stating in a press conference that legal challenges will begin on Monday. 

Additionally, some people – including Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who denounced her uncle in an interview with the BBC – have expressed concerns that the incumbent may not concede and could refuse to leave the White House. 

Trump has not yet officially reacted to the news of Biden’s victory. 

A Biden presidency could see the US re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organisation. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will also be a major issue for the new President when he takes office in January.

Speaking with The Student, Rob Bazaral, a third-year American student at the University of Edinburgh stated:

“Spending my early adult years under the Trump Presidency has been pretty terrible and while I’m no fan of Biden, things are bound to be a bit better for the world at large.

“I think the legal challenges Trump may present will go nowhere…it really seems Republicans have abandoned him on this challenge.

“I’m very excited to know a world again where Donald Trump is not the leader of my nation.”

Ece Kucuk, another American student in her second year at the university, expressed similar thoughts.

“…this guy [Donald Trump] has been a plague on our country for too long and I’m tired of regressing. I want to move forward, as a people and as a nation.

“In a time when we are facing such divisive issues, we should be urging for unity rather than separation.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been a confederation of states…we are the United States now and it’s time we step up to that.”

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr