While Democrats won the 2020 presidential election with a record turnout, the current president claims the election was stolen
Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. He is projected to win the presidential election with at least 290 electoral votes, surpassing the threshold of 270 needed to win. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris will become the vice president, being the first woman, as well as the first Black and first South Asian person in American history to occupy this position.
Biden received over 75 million votes, an all-time high for a presidential candidate, earning 50.6 per cent of the popular vote thus far. Meanwhile, 70.6 million Americans voted for the incumbent President Donald Trump.
Although the presidential election took place on Nov. 3, it was far from over that night. As Biden and Trump had an incredibly close race in several battleground states, Biden was announced as the projected winner only four days later. In his victory tweet, Biden addressed the nation, saying, “America, I’m honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country.”
On election night, Trump was leading in the majority of swing states. However, in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Trump’s lead started to shrink the following day as the mail-in ballots were being counted.
The 2020 election witnessed the highest number of ballots in U.S. history, with over 159.8 million Americans having cast their vote. In fact, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the country had a 66.8 per cent voter turnout, the highest since the year 1900.
Biden and Harris have also broken several records themselves. At the age of 77, Joe Biden became the oldest president-elect in American history. The previous record was held by Donald Trump, who was 70 years old when he won the 2016 presidential election.
Despite the Democrats’ projected win, President Trump appears to not be willing to deliver a concession speech anytime soon. In fact, he refuses to accept the outcome of the election, claiming there was widespread voter fraud and lack of transparency.
“If you count all the legal votes, I easily win the election! If you count all the illegal and late votes, they can steal the election from us!” stated President Trump.
He was referring to millions of mail-in ballots that were counted after Nov. 3, which strongly favoured his opponent and led to Trump’s loss. In fact, those millions of mail-in votes were just as valid as in-person votes that were cast on Election Day, since they were all stamped on or before Nov. 3. As laws in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin barred officials from processing the mail-in ballots before 7 a.m. on election day, many of them were counted in the days that followed.
Trump questioned Biden’s increasing lead as the remaining votes were being counted.
“How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?” asked the president on Twitter.
In reality, the remaining mail-in ballots were coming from heavily Democratic urban centres such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, Georgia. Moreover, the Trump campaign ran Facebook ads earlier this fall to warn his supporters not to trust mail-in voting. Republicans were thus more likely to vote in-person than Democrats, which created an illusion on election night that Trump was the favourite to win in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
Instead of accepting the result as it became clear, Trump tweeted “STOP THE COUNT!” on Nov. 5. This anti-democratic process would prevent the president-elect from overtaking Trump in battleground states. Besides this unprecedented request, Trump suggested that “there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported,” even though there is zero evidence that could prove such a claim.
The incumbent president plans on taking this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, which he believes should determine the final electoral college results. However, it is very unlikely that Supreme Court justices will get involved in the election, as the Trump administration lacks concrete evidence of “widespread voter fraud” for this legal strategy to work.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Biden and Harris on their election win Saturday morning. In an official statement, Trudeau said that “Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship,” and that he looks forward to working with the president-elect, vice president-elect and the U.S. Congress to “tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.”
When it comes to Canada, Biden’s presidency may add some uncertainty to trade between the two nations. On the one hand, Biden’s environmentally-friendly policies are likely to open the market for Canadian clean energy technology. There will also be less uncertainty regarding Canadian steel and aluminium, which were temporarily subject to tariffs imposed by Trump in 2018.
On the other hand, Biden has pledged to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would allow Alberta to transfer over 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day across the border to Nebraska. Meanwhile, Trudeau actively supports this project and vowed to press any U.S. government on its approval.
As for the Canada-U.S. diplomatic relations, the president-elect referred to Canada as an ally and a friend, “one that the U.S. needs more than ever.” Biden also called for the United States to play a more active role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an international military alliance that includes Canada as a long-time member.
While Trump refuses to accept defeat and to respect the choice of the American people, Canada prepares for a new chapter in the relationship between the two nations.
President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will have an official inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2021.