Democratic nominee Joe Biden has clinched the requisite number of Electoral College votes to become the 46th president of the United States, following a tight race with President Donald J. Trump, the first incumbent in 28 years to fail in a re-election bid.
The clincher came Saturday morning after Biden crested the magic number, 270, when the Pennsylvania vote count was called in his favor, giving him another 20 electoral votes on top of his previous 253. Shortly after winning Pennsylvania, the Nevada vote also tipped for Biden, whose more than 74 million popular votes bested Trump’s 70-million-plus. Of note, Trump failed to win the popular vote when taking the Electoral College vote over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden’s win seeks to end four divisive years under Trump.
On Friday night, Biden appeared in Wilmington, Del., with running mate Senator Kamala Harris, calling for national unity. He said his transition team was already hard at work strategizing on how to address the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, climate change and systemic racism.
Biden stressed the need to “get the vitriol out of our politics” and to “be civil to one another,” adding that “we’re not enemies, we’re Americans.”
Biden turns 78 this month, becoming the oldest person elected to the White House. In doing so, he also fulfilled a lifelong dream, finally winning on his third bid for presidency. Harris, a senator from California, will become the first woman, first Black person and first Asian to serve as vice president.
While Biden is expected to hit the ground running on multiple pressing issues, the economy and Covid-19 are expected to be his top two priorities. It’s the reason why many don’t expect any immediate change on the international front with trading partners. But even as a Biden win is expected to maintain the status quo for now, there is hope that some policy changes down the road will undo much of the damage in trade relations that occurred under the Trump administration.
Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, called for cooperation in congratulating Biden and Harris on their “hard-fought victory.”
“As the largest private sector employer in the country, the retail industry looks forward to continuing our tradition of working with presidents and their administrations of both major political parties to advance the industry’s priorities in job creation, economic development and career opportunities for millions of Americans,” he said in a statement.
Despite 2020’s “extraordinary circumstances,” he added, “retailers have shown their resilience and adaptability and will continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our customers, the communities we serve, and the 52 million working Americans supported by the retail industry as we enter a busy holiday season.”
In a statement, Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, noted the election’s historic achievement of encouraging a record numbers of citizens to participate in the democratic process.
“When the dust settles from the 2020 election, a record 145 million Americans will have made their voices heard. Whether a citizen stood in line for hours on Election Day or mailed in their ballot weeks ago—every vote matters, and every vote will be counted by election officials dedicated not to partisanship, but to democracy and rule of law,” Dodge said. “As former President George H.W. Bush once said, we respect the ‘majesty of the democratic system’. After a long campaign, it is time to respect the results and congratulate the victors across the country who nobly put their names forward for public office.”
Dodge emphasized that leading retailers are “ready to work with Congress and the next Administration to defeat Covid-19 and restore economic prosperity for the millions of Americans whose lives and livelihoods have been upended this year.”
For now, Trump has refused to concede. “The simple fact is this election is far from over,” he said in a statement, vowing that his team on Monday will begin legal proceedings to ensure that election laws were fully upheld.