Fill Me In
After five nail-biting days, the Associate Press announced Joe Biden as the elected president of the United States of America, making him the 46th president.
What happens next?
Unlike in Singapore, where leaders take office immediately after an election victory, the US has a transition period where the outgoing President will remain in post until the inaugural of the new elected president.
The transition period aims to ease the shift between the outgoing and incoming president. However, with Trump in office, there are some concerns and doubts on what he may do ahead of the inauguration.
Biden’s inauguration is expected to take place on 20th January 2021. It is clear that the road ahead for Biden and his elected vice-president, Kamala Harris, is expected to be a rocky one with a divided congress, where democrats control the House of Representatives but Republicans hold a majority in the senate.
In his first speech as an elected President, Biden announced that a new taskforce would be put together to tackle and curb the current pandemic which has taken over 233,000 lives in America.
The announcement is set to take place on Monday where he will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisers to assist and kickstart the Biden-Harris COVID plan.
Who is Joe Biden?
Biden served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017 with the then President Barack Obama.
During his time as a senator and a vice president, Biden has played a fundamental role in reviving the economy in America; expanding access to healthcare, fighting for climate change, and advancing women’s rights and gender equity to name a few.
Where does Biden stand on key issues?
When he first announced that he was running for the presidential race, Biden has openly declared that he stood for two things – workers who “built the country” and implementing values that can bridge its visions.
Most importantly, Biden wants to create new economic opportunities for workers, strengthen international alliances, and restore environmental protections and healthcare rights in America.
Below are a summary of his policies:
Biden has promised to provide free testing for all and to set up a national contact-tracing program in his attempt to curb the spread of the virus.
Jobs and money
Biden has pledged to raise minimum wage to US$15 per hour and invest in green energy. His broader economic policies known as “Build Back Better” is aimed at young people and blue collar workers.
Biden promised to reform criminal justice and put in place grants for minority communities. As part of his “Build Back” Program, Biden is looking to create business support for minorities through a US$30 billion investment fund.
Biden has called climate change a threat and have declared to rally with the rest of the world by re-joining the Paris Climate Accord. He has proposed US$1.7 trillion investments in green technologies research.
Biden has promised to repair relationships with US allies and in particular the NATO alliance which Trump has threatened to cut funding.
Expanding Obamacare is one issue that Biden is looking to implement. He is looking to expand public health insurance and to insure 96% of Americans.
Biden has also promised to undo Trump’s policy, i.e., to reverse parents separated from their children at the US-Mexican border, end the ban on travel from several majority-Muslim countries, and revoke limits on the number of applications for asylum.
Lastly, on education, Biden is looking to expand free college and universal pre-school access that would be paid using money from Trump-era tax cuts.
What will Biden’s America look like?
An America ruled by a democrat would welcome a progressive and welcoming America, like how it used to be when Obama was president. It would also mean that Trump policies on immigration would be reversed.
Biden also said in his speech that the Republicans are not his enemies but his opponents and it is time for them to unite and work together for a better America. And hopefully, under Biden, a kind and loving America would emerge.
Incumbent President Donald Trump refuses to concede
Biden has claimed victory by being the first elected president with a record-breaking number of voters. With his win, Trump is set to leave the white house in January. This makes Trump the first one-term president since George Bush at the start of the 1990s.
Leading up to the election announcement, the incumbent president has made accusations that the election has been a fraud. And with that, Trump is doing exactly what he had threated to do long before the Election Day: he is not conceding and going to court.
Claiming election fraud with no evidence
Taking his views to Twitter, Trump has repeatedly said he has won the election, claiming that there is a voter fraud with the mail-in votes. It is estimated that roughly 65 million American voted by mail this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For months before the election, Trump has made accusations regarding how mail-in voting would lead to a widespread voter fraud. But according to a study by Brennan Center in 2017, the chances of a fraud in the US are less than 0.00009%. For example during his rally, Trump made a statement claiming that 500,000 applications for a mail-in votes were made that were false. He has also claimed that the ballots were sent out to the wrong return address. But electoral authorities have said that there was no fraudulent intent and everything has been corrected.
On Thursday, Trump called for election officials to stop counting the votes where he tweeted “Stop The Count!”
Throughout the span of five days, Trump has filed lawsuits in four key states where ballots were still being counted. He has also sued to stop the counting in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Georgia where he feels that his position to win had had been threatened. None of the lawsuits have successfully gone through.
Since the presidential race was called for Biden on Saturday after emerging victorious from a win in Pennsylvania, Trump has released a statement on the election result, saying that “this election is far from over” and that starting today, his “campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated”.
What are some of Trump’s policies?
Trump won the 2016 election through his “Make America Great Again campaign” and in 2020, he pledged to bring back the economy, boost jobs, protect the US trade and continue with his hard policies on immigration. Below are some of his key policies:
Jobs and money
If elected, Trump has promised to bring back the pandemic-battered economy by cutting tax for working Americans and lowering corporate tax.
He has also pledged to end the ‘reliance on China’ and protect US manufacturing by putting the focus on America’s economic interests.
Unlike Biden, Trump’s foreign policy included ‘America First’ and reasserting US sovereignty.
His immigration policy includes a border wall on the US-Mexico border and curbing immigration.
His gun control policy includes defending the Second Amendment, despite the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio in 2019.
What does a Biden win mean for Singapore?
A Biden or a Trump win will have little change to the US-Singapore relations, noted observers.
The former US ambassador to Singapore, Mr Lavin have said that the close relationship Singapore has with the US can be seen in the politics. Singapore is viewed as a good partner, a good friend and a good counterpart in the region.
Primer Minister (PM) Lee Hsein Loong has also joined the many leaders from around the world in congratulating Biden and Harris in their victory. In his letter to Biden, PM Lee hopes for the US to continue to count on Singapore as a partner and a friend.