Biden projected to win US Election
After days of anticipation, the United States election result has been called, with former Vice President Joe Biden projected to be President-Elect.
The Associated Press and NBC News have projected the former Vice President has 290 electoral college votes, after winning the key swing state of Pennsylvania.
The result means that Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, will be the first woman to become Vice President.
US President Donald Trump has previously refused to acknowledge defeat, falsely claiming that the result was rigged.
As was widely expected before the election period formally began, the election was largely decided in the ‘rust belt’ states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin: former Democrat strongholds that moved away from the party during the 2016 election.
The result comes after months of campaigning and mudslinging amongst one of the most unusual election campaigns in US history. With COVID-19 spiking in the United States, and over 200,000 Americans passing away due to the virus, the pandemic was one of the major themes of the campaign.
Former Vice President Biden made the pandemic a large part of his campaign focus, going so far as to suggest that Mr Trump’s handling of the crisis was “criminal”.
Mr Biden campaigned on the promise of creating jobs through a number of green initiatives, re-joining the Paris Accord on climate change, and providing funding for a number of lower income families to attend college.
Mr Trump’s campaign focused on the themes of his prior election campaign, alongside new promises to provide grants for more black-owned businesses, protect pre-existing conditions in insurance law, and to repeal and replace the affordable care act. The election campaign also saw a number of bizarre moments, such as when the President appeared to pay lip service to online conspiracy theories.
Faith in the election
The subject of faith entered the election arena on a number of occasions, such as when Trump claimed that if Biden won, he would seek to actively secularise America while taking away other aspects of the nation’s culture.
“The sleepy campaign has joined forces with those trying to tear down America and our way of life,” Trump said. “He comes out with a platform…There will be no oil. There will be no God. There will be no guns.”
“He’s following the radical left agenda, take away your guns, destroy your second Amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God,”
During the campaign, allegations emerged in The Atlantic that Trump privately mocked a number of prominent Christians as being “hustlers”, declaring their fundraising efforts a scam. The White House fervently denied that the President made these comments. Despite the allegations, President Trump enjoyed a number of endorsements from prominent conservative Christian leaders during the campaign. These included Franklin Graham, who suggested that Democrats would steer America into the path of socialism alongside nations like Venezuela.
“It’s up to the American people in November to decide whether we go to socialism or we stay with the Constitution we’ve lived under for the past 200 some years,” Rev. Graham said.
Despite his staunch endorsement, he has prayed for national unity in the United States.
On the other side of the campaign, a number of prominent US faith leaders swung their support behind the Democratic former Vice President, with over 1,600 signing an open letter.
Doug Pagitt is the director of the organisation Vote Common Good, which compiled the endorsements.
“This record-breaking group of endorsers shows that President Trump’s lack of kindness and decency is energising faith communities and will cost him this election,” he said.
Other Christian organisations in the US outright refuse to endorse any candidates. Ahead of the 2008 election, Sojourners’ founder Rev. Jim Wallis told Insights that he never endorses a candidate, aiming instead to garner political support for his own agenda of poverty alleviation and care for creation.
Per convention, President Trump will serve out the rest of his term, which finishes in January 2021. He has flagged a Supreme Court challenge to the election result.
A Biden Presidency may also face a divided Congress, with a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and a Republican Senate. A runoff election held in Georgia on 6 January (Australia time) will determine which party holds two Senate spots.
The President-Elect will be sworn in on 21 January 2021 (Australia time).