The United States presidential election was Tuesday (3 Nov 2020).
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Biden wins presidency, first woman to be vice president
The third time was indeed the charm for Joe Biden.
On his third try, the former vice president was elected the 46th president of the United States Saturday, ending an often acrimonious battle against U.S. President Donald Trump during a time when the coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 237,000 American lives and the economy in many parts of America is still struggling to recover.
People across the United States and around the world anxiously awaited the results for four days as the pandemic led to millions of ballots being counted after the November 3 election.
Trump, who has not conceded, and his campaign team are challenging the results and the ballot counting procedures in several states in court and will continue to do so.
Trump was playing golf when the results in Pennsylvania, the state in which Biden was born, gave him its 20 electoral votes and more than the 270 needed to become the next president.
When it became clear that there was no way Trump could overstake Biden in Pennsylvania, his supporters also celebrated the election of his running mate, Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California and daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. She will become the first woman, first African American and first Asian American to be the vice-president.
Biden immediately reached out to try to begin to unite a divided nation.
“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said in a statement.
“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”
2. Control of Senate still up in the air, but leaning Republican
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden could have to negotiate with a Republican-led Senate to get his agenda passed.
The final numbers have not been determined yet as both Senate seats in Georgia are headed for a January 5 runoff.
As it stands now, 48 seats are in each party’s hands.
Most analysts think the Republicans will retain control of the Senate with Mitch McConnell remaining majority leader.
Should the final election returns result in a 50-50 tie between the parties in the Senate, Biden’s vice president, Kamala Harris, would cast the deciding vote on any legislation.
In the House, Republicans have made a next gain of five seats, so far, picking up eight that had been held by Democrats. Other seats have yet to be determined.
While it is most likely the Nancy Pelosi of California will remain the speaker of the House, the Republican gains signal that she will have to compromise on a liberal agenda.
“We expanded this party that reflects America, that looks like America,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican in a conference call with reporters.
3. Next first lady ‘so damn tough and loyal’
Their mother, Neilia, and sister, Naomi, had been killed in a 1972 automobile crash.
Joe Biden had just been elected to his first term in the U.S. Senate when the tragedy hit. Jill Biden says she knew she had to be absolutely sure about marrying Joe because she did not want to put the family through any kind of pain again.
The Bidens have been married 40 years. They have a daughter, Ashley, who has a master’s degree in social work. She has been involved in criminal justice reform and even has her own fashion line.
Joe Biden’s oldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer at the age of 46 in 2015.
The next U.S. first lady, who has doctorate in education, has an impressive career of her own.
She’s a longtime professor at Northern Virginia Community College, where she teaches English. She has also taught at colleges and high schools in Delaware.
“Teaching is not what I do. It’s who I am,” Jill Biden has said.
“She is so damn tough and loyal,” the president-elect said about his wife in August.
Jill Biden tweeted of her husband Saturday: “He will be a President for all of our families.”
4. ‘You’re fired’ starts echoing for officials in Washington
Even before the count had pushed Joe Biden over the top in the Electoral College to become the next U.S. president, Donald Trump’s administration had suddenly over the past few days pushed out people from top positions.
Forced out were Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the first woman to oversee the agency in charge of the nuclear stockpile; Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Analysts expect more firings or forced resignations to come between now and January 20 when Biden replaces Trump as president.
The most prominent person whose position is said to be at risk as Trump grapples with the reality he will no longer be the U.S. president is Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
CNN has reported that “Esper has been on shaky ground with the White House for months, a rift that deepened after the defense secretary said in June that he did not support using active-duty troops to quell the large-scale protests across the United States triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.”
As so for Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom Trump has feuded with over the coronavirus response and suggested he would fire, the president does not have the authority to do that.
Fauci is a career civil servant. While Trump can order a political appointee to dismiss the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci could appeal the process, which could drag on for months.
5. ‘You’re fired’ fired back at Donald Trump with glee
“Finally we showed love over hate,” Kharia Battle, a New York resident who voted by mail in North Carolina, told The Financial Times.
“This era is still not the post-racism era, but it is the chance to vote for someone who does not incite racist division in the country.”
Alan Mingo, a Broadway and film actor, told London’s The Guardian: “Seeing this euphoria, this jubilation, it’s incredible.”
In Washington, Trump’s current home, one man shouted to his neighbor;
“The nightmare is over,” The Washington Post reported.
Henry Kuvin, 21, an international affairs major at a Washington university, told the newspaper: “This feels like a weight has been lifted. I haven’t been able to comfortably wave an American flag in four years. Maybe that can change now.”