The tortuous 2020 United States presidential poll process finally comes to an end, throwing up results that are singular in every which way one looks at them: the oldest President-elect; the first woman, the first person of colour and of Asian descent as Vice President-elect; and an outgoing President who refuses to concede his defeat and instead proclaims that the election is not over yet. These results reflect an America that is deeply divided over race, prejudice and privilege. Yet, Joseph Biden’s hard-fought victory and the unprecedented success of Kamala Harris, the daughter of a first-generation immigrant, have made America great again, reaffirming that the nation’s soul is intact.
Compassion for less-fortunate people regardless of race, decency in public conduct, and modesty in speech have come back to being fashionable in the White House, and that is a matter of great relief; and all the more welcome if it sets off a global trend as most things American do. The governance of a global superpower cannot be left to reality TV celebrities and tycoons with a shady family. With experienced US politicians back at the helm, climate change, the Taliban imbroglio, religious radicalism in Europe and the emerging Chinese threat to world order ought to get a balanced and studied response instead of tweets-as-diktats. Meanwhile, the transition could be anything but smooth with the bad loser, Donald Trump, contesting the results in courts in an attempt to de-legitimise the mandate and derail Biden’s plans to create a bipartisan administration.
Meanwhile, India will now have to think twice about global opprobrium before brazening out human rights violations with a Democratic regime, which is sensitive towards the anxieties of minorities. It is no secret that Trump’s reaction to Chinese aggression in Ladakh had helped India argue its case strongly at international forums and foster closer military ties with US’ allies through the Quad. Hence, it is legitimate for Indians to believe that a Vice President, who understands Asia better, will bring India and the US closer, while fastening our bilateral bonds and India’s role in its neighbourhood.