Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. Kamala Harris will be the US’s next vice-president.
Biden defeated US President Donald Trump in the election, held on Nov. 3. After the voting stopped, the counting of ballots began and is still going on.
Counting the ballots is taking a long time because more people voted in this election than in any other US election in history. And because of the pandemic, a record 100 million of those votes were mailed in.
Historic voter turnout
In this election, Biden received more votes (74 million) than any other American president in history.
When Biden is “sworn in” as president (known as taking the oath of office) in January, he will be the oldest person to ever become US president, at age 78.
Kamala Harris will be the first female vice-president in the history of the United States, as well as the first person of colour to serve as vice-president.
While the ballots were being counted, President Donald Trump tweeted, falsely, that “I won this election, by a lot!” That was not true. Many of Trump’s recent tweets have been hidden by Twitter and marked as false or misleading information.
Biden won at least 279 “electoral college votes,” well over the 270 (of 538) needed to be declared the winner. Donald Trump got 214 electoral college votes. (The exact number of electoral college votes won by each candidate will be officially determined once the ballots have all been counted and, in states with close races, recounted.)
Electoral college voters represent the votes of each state. Some states have more or fewer electoral votes. For instance, winning in Alabama would give a candidate three electoral votes. Winning in Texas would give a candidate 38 electoral votes.
Donald Trump has indicated that he intends to contest the election results.
In past years, the loser of an election calls the winner and makes a concession speech in which he thanks the people who supported him and acknowledges the winner. It is an important and significant speech, because it helps to reunite the country under the new president. It seems unlikely that Trump will make that kind of speech anytime soon.
Biden will be inaugurated (sworn in) on Jan. 20, 2021. Many people feel that one of his most important duties, in addition to dealing with the pandemic and confronting systemic racism, will be to reunite the country, which has become increasingly divided over the past four years.
THINK AND DISCUSS
- The article says that votes are still being counted. If all the votes haven’t been counted, how do they know who won?
- How do you think Joe Biden will lead the United States differently from the way Donald Trump has led it for the past four years?
- What does this US election mean to people in other countries than the US?
- There were many “firsts” in this election—some of them were mentioned in this article. Make a list of some of the the historic records that were set in this election. Why are they significant?
- Donald Trump is still the president until January 20. What do you think he will do next? If you were the outgoing president, what would you do?
- While 74 million Americans voted for Biden, more than 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump–that’s the second-highest number of votes in American history. Think about the people who voted for Donald Trump. What do you think they are saying and thinking now? If you were Joe Biden, what would you say to them?
- What is the role of the vice-president? (Note: The answer to this may not be as cut-and-dried as you may think.)
This BBC News article notes some of the transgender and LGBTQ winners who “shattered the rainbow ceiling” in this election. https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-54806677
This Britannica article features a map of the United States showing how many electoral college votes are allocated to each state. https://www.britannica.com/topic/United-States-Electoral-College-Votes-by-State-1787124