Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, promising to restore political normalcy and a spirit of national unity to confront raging health and economic crises, and making Donald J. Trump a one-term president after four years of tumult in the White House.
Mr. Biden’s victory amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump by millions of voters exhausted with his divisive conduct and chaotic administration, and was delivered by an unlikely alliance of women, people of colour, old and young voters and a sliver of disaffected Republicans. Mr. Trump is only the third elected president since World War II to lose re-election, and the first in more than a quarter-century.
The result also provided a history-making moment for Mr. Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, who will become the first woman to serve as vice president.
With his triumph, Mr. Biden, who turns 78 later this month, fulfilled his decades-long ambition in his third bid for the White House, becoming the oldest person elected president. A pillar of Washington who was first elected amid the Watergate scandal, and who prefers political consensus over combat, Mr. Biden will lead a nation and a Democratic Party that have become far more ideological since his arrival in the capital in 1973.
He offered a mainstream Democratic agenda, yet it was less his policy platform than his biography to which many voters gravitated. Seeking the nation’s highest office a half-century after his first campaign, Mr. Biden — a candidate in the late autumn of his career — presented his life of setback and recovery to voters as a parable for a wounded country.
In a brief statement issued after Pennsylvania delivered the crucial electoral votes for victory, Mr. Biden called for healing and unity. “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he said. “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.” Mr. Biden planned to address the nation Saturday night.
In his own statement, Mr. Trump insisted “this election is far from over” and vowed that his campaign would “start prosecuting our case in court” but offered no details.
Mr. Biden’s victory, which came 48 years to the day after he was first elected to the United States Senate, set off jubilant celebrations in Democratic-leaning cities. In Washington, where Mr. Trump was despised by the city’s liberal residents, people streamed into the streets near the White House and cheered as cars bearing American flags drove by honking.
The race, which concluded after four tense days of vote-counting in a handful of battlegrounds, was a singular referendum on Mr. Trump in a way no president’s re-election has been in modern times. He coveted the attention, and voters who either adored him or loathed him were eager to render judgment on his tenure. From the beginning to the end of the race, Mr. Biden made the president’s character central to his campaign.
This unrelenting focus propelled Mr. Biden to victory in historically Democratic strongholds in the industrial Midwest with Mr. Biden forging a coalition of suburbanites and big-city residents to claim at least three states his party lost in 2016. With ballots still being counted in several states, Mr. Biden was leading Mr. Trump in the popular vote by more than four million votes.
Yet even as they turned Mr. Trump out of office, voters sent a more uncertain message about the left-of-centre platform Mr. Biden ran on as Democrats lost seats in the House and made only modest gains in the Senate. The divided judgment — a rare example of ticket splitting in partisan times — demonstrated that, for many voters, their disdain for the president was as personal as it was political.
Even in defeat, though, Mr. Trump demonstrated his enduring appeal to many white voters and his intense popularity in rural areas, underscoring the deep national divisions that Mr. Biden has vowed to heal.
The outcome of the race came into focus slowly as states and municipalities grappled with the legal and logistical challenges of voting in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. With an enormous backlog of early and mail-in votes, some states reported their totals in a halting fashion that in the early hours of Wednesday painted a misleadingly rosy picture for Mr. Trump.
But as the big cities of the Midwest and West began to report their totals, the advantage in the race shifted the electoral map in Mr. Biden’s favour. By Wednesday afternoon, the former vice president had rebuilt much of the so-called blue wall in the Midwest, reclaiming the historically Democratic battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan that Mr. Trump carried four years ago. And on Saturday, with troves of ballots coming in from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, he took back Pennsylvania as well. As if that was not enough, Biden also won Nevada, with its 6 Electoral College votes, on Saturday.
While Mr. Biden stopped short of claiming victory as the week unfolded, he appeared several times in his home state, Delaware, to express confidence that he could win, while urging patience as the nation awaited the results. Even as he sought to claim something of an electoral mandate, noting that he had earned more in the popular vote than any other candidate in history, Mr. Biden struck a tone of reconciliation.
It would soon be time, he said, “to unite, to heal, to come together as a nation.”
In the days after the election, Mr. Biden and his party faced a barrage of attacks from Mr. Trump. The president falsely claimed in a middle-of-the-night appearance at the White House on Wednesday that he had won the race and that Democrats were conjuring fraudulent votes to undermine him, a theme he renewed on Thursday evening in grievance-filled remarks conjuring up, with no evidence, a conspiracy to steal votes from him.
The president’s campaign aides adopted a tone of brash defiance as swing states fell to Mr. Biden, promising a flurry of legal action. But while Mr. Trump’s ire had the potential to foment political divisions, there was no indication that he could succeed with his seemingly improvisational legal strategy.
Through it all, the Coronavirus and its ravages on the country hung over the election and shaped the choice for voters. Facing an electorate already fatigued by his aberrant conduct, the president effectively sealed his defeat by minimizing a pandemic that has created simultaneous health and economic crises.
Beginning with the outbreak of the virus in the country at the start of the year, through his own diagnosis last month and up to the last hours of the election, he disregarded his medical advisers and public opinion even as over 230,000 people in the United States perished.
Mr. Biden, by contrast, sought to channel the dismay of those appalled by Mr. Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic. He offered himself as a safe harbour for a broad array of Americans, promising to guide the nation out of what he called the “dark winter” of the outbreak, rather than delivering a visionary message with bright ideological themes.
While the president ridiculed mask-wearing and insisted on continuing his large rallies, endangering his own staff members and supporters, Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris campaigned with caution, avoiding indoor events, insisting on social distancing and always wearing masks.
Convinced that he could win back the industrial Northern states that swung to Mr. Trump four years ago, Mr. Biden focused his energy on Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden triumphed in those states on the strength of overwhelming support from women, who voted in large numbers to repudiate Mr. Trump despite his last-minute pleas to “suburban housewives,” as he called them.
Many of the women who decided the president’s fate were politically moderate college-educated suburbanites, who made their presence felt as an electoral force first in the 2018 midterm elections, when a historic wave of female candidates and voters served as the driving force behind the Democratic sweep to power in the House.
Even aside from the pandemic, the 2020 campaign unfolded against a backdrop of national tumult unequalled in recent history, including the House’s vote to impeach the president less than a year ago, a national wave of protests over racial injustice last spring, spasms of civil unrest throughout the summer, the death of a Supreme Court justice in September and the hospitalization of Mr. Trump in October.
Along the way, Mr. Trump played to his conservative base, seeking to divide the nation over race and cultural flash points. He encouraged those fears, and the underlying social divisions that fostered them. And for months he sought to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the political process.
Mr. Biden, in response, offered a message of healing that appealed to Americans from far left to centre right. He made common cause by promising relief from the unceasing invective and dishonesty of Mr. Trump’s presidency.
The former vice president also sought to demonstrate his differences with the president with his selection of Ms. Harris, 56, whose presence on the ticket as the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants stood in stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s relentless scapegoating of migrants and members of racial-minority groups.
Mr. Biden will be only the second Catholic to attain the presidency, along with John F. Kennedy.
In an era when political differences have metastasized into tribal warfare, at least, 74 million voters turned to a figure who has become known as the eulogist in chief for his empathy and friendships with Republicans and Democrats alike.
In a sign of how much Mr. Trump alienated traditional Republicans, a number of prominent members of the party endorsed Mr. Biden’s candidacy, including Cindy McCain, the widow of former Senator John McCain; the party’s other two presidential nominees this century, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, declined to endorse Mr. Trump.
Yet for all his lofty language about uniting the country, Mr. Biden was a halting candidate who ran a cautious campaign, determined to ensure that the election became a referendum on Mr. Trump. The former vice president fully returned to the campaign trail only around Labour Day, and for weeks he limited his appearances to one state every other day or so. He went west of the Central time zone just once during the general election.
As he prepares to take the oath of office on Inauguration Day on January 20, he will return to Washington confronting a daunting set of crises. Mr. Biden will be pressed to swiftly secure and distribute a safe vaccine for the Coronavirus, revive an economy that may be in even more dire shape in January than it is now, and address racial justice and policing issues that this year prompted some of the largest protests in American history.
And he will do so with a Congress that is far more polarized than the Senate he left over a decade ago, with many Republicans having embraced Mr. Trump’s nativist brand of populism and Democrats increasingly responsive to an energized left. If Mr. Biden cannot bridge that divide as president and elicit some cooperation from the G.O.P., he will face immense pressure from his party’s progressive wing to abandon conciliation for a posture of combat.
Mr. Biden has held out hope about working with Republican lawmakers while declining to support his party’s most ambitious goals, like single-payer health care and the Green New Deal; he has resisted structural changes such as adding justices to the Supreme Court.
This irked his party’s base but made it difficult for Republicans, from Mr. Trump down the ballot, to portray him as an extremist. Mr. Biden was largely absent from the appeals of G.O.P. candidates, who instead used their advertising to insist that the Democratic Party would be in the hands of more polarizing figures on the left such as Senator Bernie Sanders.
Unlike the last two Democrats who defeated incumbents after voters tired of Republican leadership, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Mr. Biden will not arrive in the capital as a youthful outsider. Instead, he will fill out a Democratic leadership triumvirate, which includes Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, of lawmakers who are 70 or older.
Mr. Biden alluded to himself during the campaign as a transitional figure who would bring the country out of a crisis and then make way for a new generation. But he has privately rejected suggestions that he commit to serving just a single term, viewing that as an instant guarantee of lame-duck status.
One of the most significant tests of Mr. Biden’s presidency will be in how he navigates the widening divisions in his party.
He may enjoy a honeymoon, though, because of both the scale of the problems he is grappling with and the president he defeated.
This election represented the culmination of nearly four years of activism organized around opposing Mr. Trump, a movement that began with the Women’s March the day after his inauguration. Indeed, Mr. Biden’s election appeared less the unique achievement of a political standard-bearer than the apex of a political wave touched off by the 2016 election — one that Mr. Biden rode more than he directed it.
But Mr. Trump’s job approval rating never hit 50 percent and, when the Coronavirus spread nationwide and Mr. Biden effectively claimed the Democratic nomination in March, the president’s hopes of running with a booming economy and against a far-left opponent evaporated at once.
Still, many Democrats were nervous and some Republicans were defiantly optimistic going into the election, both still gripped by Mr. Trump’s shocker four years ago. And well into the night Tuesday, it seemed as if the president might be able to do it again. But four days later, after a year of trial in America and four turbulent years of the Trump administration, victory was in hand for Mr. Biden.
Nigeria @62: More Knocks; Few Kudos
As Nigeria clocks 62 today, The Tide takes a look at how the country has fared since attaining independence in 1960, using people’s opinions as basis. Expectedly, people differed in their assessment. While many Nigerians said the country has failed to realise the dreams of its founding fathers, others described the present situation in the country as a process of nation building, expressing the hope that the country will soon overcome its present challenges.
Below are some of the views got by our correspondents.
Speaking with The Tide at his palace at Woji, the Paramount Ruler of Woji community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, said the country was at a zero level at the moment.
Ihunwo said it was regrettable that the country at 62 was still grappling with the challenges of insecurity and bad governance.
“Nigeria at 62; we are at zero point: Insecurity in this country has rubbished Nigeria.
“I wouldn’t know if insecurity has added to make our money look like rag. I can’t understand! Today, there is inflation; at the same time, people are being killed at will”, he said.
The Woji monarch said for Nigeria to get it right, people must do away with tribalism, and wondered why people in their 80s still want to govern the country when they are quality, competent young men everywhere.
He commented the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his purposeful leadership in the state.
Also speaking, the Okan-Ama of Ataba Kingdom in Andoni Local Government Area, King Benson Mgbowaji Egwenre Oruk, said the country has disappointed its founding fathers.
He said that at 62, the country has not met the expectations of her people, nothing that Nigeria has continued to slide into a pariah state.
He also said that gone were the days when Nigerian currency was at per with the American Dollar and the British Pounds, adding that at the moment, the Naira had been reduced to nothing.
Egwenre said what was needed at the moment was a committed and God-fearing leader to pilot the affairs of the state.
The royal father also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for providing quality leadership in the state.
He used the occasion to call on politicians in Ataba Kingdom and the rest of Andoni to embark on issue-based campaigns while urging the people to remain peaceful.
However, in his opinion, the EzeIgbu Ubie 111 in Ahoada West Local Government Area, Eze Okpokiri Maxwell, said Nigeria was passing through its period of growth and development.
He said the dreams of the founding fathers had not been misplaced as every nation has her challenges.
The royal father said political independence has brought freedom to Nigerians, stressing that all challenges presently confronting the country would be surmounted one day.
Speaking further, an activist, Prince Williams Chinwo, also decried the dwindling fortunes of Nigeria, and expressed the hope that the country would come out of the conundrum one day.
For a university lecturer with the Rivers State University, Dr Monday Didia, Nigeria at 62 ought not to be celebrated given the rate of killings and economic downturn in recent times.
Didia said that no parent would be happy to birth a child like Nigeria who has chosen to be a toddler at 62.
“I don’t think Nigeria at 62 is worth celebrating unless for the fun of it. How can we celebrate nothing? Ranging from the economy to the least, no remarkable impact has been made”, he said.
The university don frowned at the over seven months industrial strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which he said has caused setback in the education sector.
Another respondent, Mr Bobby Amadi, an agriculturalist, described Nigeria as a near failure at 62.
Amadi recalled the oil boom era in the early1970s and how farmers were seen as lords, regretting that Nigeria squandered the oil money on frivolities and became poor.
He narrated how the Malaysians took palm seedlings from Nigeria and has become the highest producer of palm oil in the world while the natural owner of the product [Nigeria] trails far behind.
“Well, we are Nigerians, what we are celebrating is Independence Day and nothing more. The reason is that we cannot sincerely point out one thing that we have independently achieved”, he said.
Meanwhile, a top Immigration Officer, who pleaded anonymity, noted that Nigerians were leaving the country in droves for other parts of the world due to bad governance..
According to him, passport offices throughout the country are busy everyday attending to applicants who want to leave the country with their families in search of greener pasture.
A political scientist and lecturer at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Port Harcourt, Dr Oboada Alafonye Uriah, said Nigerians are wallowing in a vicious cycle of development.
‘’You prove to be developing, but you improve by six steps forward and then you move seven steps backwards. So, are we really making progress? No, we are not’’.
He lamented the high level of insecurity, economic hardship and poor standard of education in the country.
‘’Nigeria has depreciated to the level that every right thinking Nigerian should be worried about whether we have the country Nigeria or not. In fact, Nigeria has failed. By all standards, we have failed’’, he lamented.
As a way forward, Uriah advocated transparency and accountability in governance, saying once there is sanity at the top, it will permeate every sector,
Another respondent, Barrister Sunny Igwe, who is a legal practitioner, said Nigeria at 62 is painful ‘’because we appear visionless’’.
He said that in spite of Nigeria’s abundant human and natural resources, the country is wallowing in misery and penury due to what he called ‘’visionless leadership’’.
He wondered why the country keeps on spending trillions of Naira on fuel subsidy when we should have used the money to fix the nation’s four refineries.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to elect good leaders who have the potentials to move the nation forward.
Speaking in the same vein, a banker, Erasmus Amakiri, described Nigeria at 62 as a complete failure.
He said Nigeria is going backwards in the area of economy, power supply and job creation.
‘’Beside this, Nigeria is owing a debt that even our great-grand children can not pay off. Over N4trillion. That’s crazy. We are not making progress, for me, Nigeria is a complete failure.
‘’It’s my country. I love it, but then, the leaders are not helping us. At 62, we are supposed to be grown-ups but we are still like babies’’, he said.
A Medical Doctor and Head of Department, Pharmacology, Rivers State University (RSU), Dr Ekene Woke, also hit Nigeria below the belt.
According to him,’’there is nothing to celebrate or remember about it. A 62 year-old is a full grown man and should be able to correct his mistakes but to Nigeria, the reverse is the case. We have learnt nothing from our past mistakes. The country is at war at itself. Citizens are being killed every day and government can only give excuses at every time.
‘’Nigeria at 62 is a complete failure. Which area is left out? Is it water? Water is a basic necessity of government but people are using borehole for their water supply. Is it security? People are building up vigilantee. The state police has been shut down by people who are benefiting from the system. It’s only Nigeria that copied the federal system from the USA but only removed the part of state police for reasons that people don’t understand.
‘’However, the only thing we can celebrate in Nigeria is that the country has not divided. But the unity must have reasons to make the citizens happy. If we have been divided, things would have been much worse than this. So, we only have celebration of unity.
In his own view, President, National Association of Surface Tank Oil and Gas Retailers of Nigeria and Professor of Engineering, King Onyeche Promise Obinna, said that Nigeria has not got it right with leadership.
He said Nigeria needs a purposeful and creative leadership that could turn things around for the better, noting that the ability to provide policies of governance that will generate and recreate wealth and make it envy for all nations is lacking.
However, Prof Isaac Zeb-Bipi of the Rivers State University, said Nigeria has experienced some positive changes in the area of education.
‘’At least, now we can talk about having more institutions both at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We can talk about the introduction of private institutions to complement public schools. We can talk about producing a good number of our citizens through these institutions for them to be able to read and write’’, he said.
He, however, said that the nation’s education could have done better in the area of infrastructure and manpower if right policies were put in place.
‘’Yes, we could have done better in terms of having schools that are well equipped, we could have done better in terms of having products of these schools that are properly and thoroughly educated, we could have done better by having education providers properly catered for, we could have done better by having our institutions meet the demands of industries’’, he said.
Zeb-Bipi hailed the state of infrastructure at the Rivers State University, attributing it to the visionary leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike and the pragmatic leadership of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Nlerum Sunday Okogbule.
BY: Tonye Nria-Dappa, Lady Godknows Ogbulu, John Bibor,
King Onunwor, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Oreoluwa Adigun
Nigeria@62: Seek Knowledge On Nigeria’s History, IBB Tells Youths …As Buhari, Banigo Preach Unity, Equity
Former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) has called on youths to make efforts to be more knowledgeable about the nation’s history as Nigeria marks its 62nd Independence anniversary.
Babangida told newsmen, yesterday, in Minna, that a good knowledge of the nation’s history would guide the youths in their search for a better Nigeria.
According to him, it was necessary for the youths to know what Nigeria’s founding fathers went through to keep it strong and united.
“Seven years after independence, we went through a civil war and came out of it. The main goal was to keep Nigeria united. We succeeded in achieving that.
“Since then, successive governments, both civilian and military, have strived to keep us united as one entity,” Babangida said.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts toward tackling security challenges bedevilling some parts of the country, urging all to support efforts by the government and security agencies.
“Nigerians must support security agencies with the information required to track down criminals. Government needs everyone’s support to fight this deadly insurgency,” he said.
He called for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians toward smooth conduct of a free, fair, and credible election in 2023.
Also speaking, the President Muhammadu Buhari, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping have exchanged felicitations on the occasion of the two nations’ independence anniversary on October 1.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, while Nigeria marks its 62nd anniversary, China is celebratingit’s 73rd.
In his letter congratulating the Chinese President on the anniversary, Nigeria’s president stated that relations between the two countries have “achieved far-reaching and fruitful results on the basis of equity, mutual trust and mutual benefits,” adding that Nigeria seeks to elevate the strategic partnership to a new level.
Buhari commended China’s accomplishments under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), to which President Jinping doubles as General Secretary.
“As the 20th National Congress of CPC will be held in October, I wish this historical Congress a great success, and also hope it will draw up blueprint for China’s future development.”
On his part, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, said the Sino-Nigerian relations enjoy “sound momentum, with political mutual trust being enhanced, cooperation in various fields yielding fruitful results and coordination on international and regional affairs being closer.”
He added, “On the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of the Independence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I would like to, on behalf of the government and the people of China, and in my own name, extend to you and through you to the Nigerian government and people, the warmest congratulations and best wishes.
“I wish the Federal Republic of Nigeria prosperity and its people happiness.”
Similarly, as the nation celebrates the 62nd Anniversary of its Independence, Rivers State Deputy Governor,Dr.Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has urged Nigerians to continue to keep hope alive that the country will be great again.
Banigo stated this in her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, to felicitate with Nigerians at 62nd Independence anniversary.
She reminded them that the 2023 General Election presents the nation an opportunity to elect credible leaders that would turn around the fortunes of the country, stressing that the power of fast tracking the growth of the nation lies in the choices they make at the polls.
The deputy governor, who reiterated the commitment of the Wike-led administration’s determination to continue to give the Rivers people a good lease of life, urged them to continue to support and vote all candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party in the upcoming elections to continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy.
Also reacting, the Rivers State gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sir SiminalayiFubara, felicitated with Nigerians, and expressed hope for a new dawn as the nation marks her 62nd independence anniversary, today.
Fubara, in a statement signed by his Deputy Media Assistant, Bon Onyedi, in Port Harcourt, last Thursday, said that the coming days would usher in a fresh start and would be the threshold to the attainment of the people’s aspirations by galvanising their potentials for prosperity and development.
He noted that although the nation, as an entity, had faced monumental challenges since gaining independence, with the most painful experience occurring in the past seven years, there was great hope lying ahead as seen in its sub units like Rivers State that have maintained development momentum due to quality leadership.
The governorship candidate urged the people to pray for the peace and progress of the nation in general and Rivers State in particular as the anniversary occasion ushers the country into the electioneering season.
He further congratulated the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his commitment that led to the recovery of Rivers State assets, especially the Legacy 600 Bombardier Aircraft that had been carelessly abandoned in Germany by the previous administration.
Be Attentive To Dev Needs Of Host Communities, Wike Tells IOCs
The Rivers State Government has encouraged international oil companies (IOCs) to be particularly attentive to the socio-economic development needs of host communities.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the Ikike First Oil ceremony organised by TotalEnergies EP at TotalEnergies Office in Port Harcourt, last Thursday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said, “As a state government, we will always ensure a secure working environment for the operators in the state such as TotalEnergies. In cognisance of the major role oil plays in the GDP of the country, we commit to the safeguard of oil installations and its workers across the state”.
According to the governor, Rivers State would continue to remain safe for investors, stressing that the success story of Ikike First Oil proves the fact that it was worth the while inviting investors to come to the state, which he described as a safe haven for businesses to thrive.
He commended the management and staff of the company for achieving the first oil from the Ikike Offshore Project, thereby recording a milestone with start-up of the Ikike field development project.
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Total Upstream Companies in Nigeria, Mr. Mike Sangster, said the Ikeki field, which was launched before the COVID-19 pandemic, produces 50,000 barrels of crude oil daily, noting that the project would serve as a template for future projects, as it offers them an opportunity to develop Nigeria.
He said the construction, which was done in the Nigerian yard, generated 3,000 direct and indirect jobs during the period.
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