Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States.
The Democrat and former vice president, 77, prevailed over outgoing president Donald J. Trump in a squeaker of an electoral outcome that took four days beyond Election Day to be decided and yet resulted in Biden winning more votes than any presidential contender in history. The outcome took longer to be decided due to the overwhelming number of mail votes in this election, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
When Biden took the lead in Pennsylvania in the early hours of November 6 it became clear his path to the requisite 270 electoral votes was all but assured. The Keystone State being called some hours later clinched his victory, though he also leads in Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona with more votes in each of those states to be tallied.
Biden’s victory marks an end to one of the most turbulent election seasons in the nation’s history. The final months of the campaign were defined by Trump’s handling of the ongoing pandemic, which has killed over 235,000 American citizens, as well as nationwide protests regarding systemic racism and police brutality.
Biden served as a United States senator from Delaware for 36 years before serving as vice president in Barack Obama’s administration. He unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988 and 2008. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Biden’s vice president and a former 2020 presidential contender, has made history as the nation’s first Black, Asian American, and female vice president.
Biden’s campaign stressed the importance of national unity, civility, and repudiating many of Trump’s policies that were enacted over the last four years. Though Biden and Trump differed on practically all policy issues, one of their starkest differences revolved around their ideas on how to manage the coronavirus pandemic: While Trump lied to the public about the threat of the coronavirus, rejected scientific consensus, and failed to enact measures to mitigate the pandemic’s damage, Biden touted a science-oriented approach and stressed the importance of mask wearing, social distancing, and other safety measures.
Biden has also vowed to halt construction on Trump’s Mexico border wall — one of the cornerstones of Trump’s presidency — and reverse Trump’s immigration policies, such as by reinstating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Biden will be faced with a variety of other policy challenges during his presidency. Trump exited the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal during his presidency; Biden has pledged to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and stated that the United States could rejoin the latter agreement under specific conditions.
Although the film and television industries were not a significant focus of either Biden or Trump’s campaigns, IndieWire’s Libby Hill and Tom Brueggemann analyzed the difference between the two’s arts-related policies in October. Hill argued that though the Biden Arts Policy Committee lacked a clear mission, a Biden presidency was the preferential outcome for Hollywood as Trump had aimed to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities in his 2021 budget. Brueggemann noted that Trump’s failures in handling the coronavirus pandemic had caused significant issues for movie theaters and suggested that a Biden presidency could lead to support for stimulus programs that could help save theaters.