Election of Biden couldn’t have come at a better time than when a constitutional plebiscite is in the offing

Joe Biden

US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware on November 10, 2020

Photo credit: Angela Weiss | AFP

 Americans have spoken and Joe Biden is the President- elect even when some votes are still being counted. The moment Biden hit the 270 Electoral College mark, it was a wrap.

This was one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in the history of the country. It was also the election with the highest voter turnout in the history of the US presidential election.

Towards the close of the Election Day, Trump called a press conference to announce that he had won even when millions of votes were yet to be counted. This threw millions of people in and outside the US into a panic mode but things took a swift turn when Biden started winning one state after another on his way to victory.

President Trump’s claims of voter fraud were just that since he did not provide any evidence to support his claims. Though he has filed several lawsuits, nothing much will come out of them due to lack of evidential proof of tampering with the voting exercise.

 You see, the US electoral system may not be perfect but it passes the test of legitimacy and any attempt at machinations to overturn the people’s will is a nonstarter. Even the Electoral College that has come under constant criticism ensures that there is fairness in representation from each state in the union.

Unlike in many democracies, the announcement of the winner of the presidential election is done by the media as opposed to a specific body charged with the role, after a careful tallying process that is hard to dispute.

It is for this reason that many comments to the effect that the US election is equally fraudulent, flies on the face. There may have been irregularities here and there but the final outcome is a true reflection of the will of the American people.

Turning to President elect Biden, there couldn’t have been a more suitable candidate. With 37 years of senatorial work experience and eight years as vice president, Biden comes out as a very experienced chap for the job.

Moreover, former President Barrack Obama recently revealed that whenever he was faced with a difficult decision to make as president, Biden was the last person to leave the room among his closest advisers.

This demonstrates that Biden, as Obama’s top adviser, is well versed in matters statecraft and hence would not be clueless in his first days in office.

It must also be remembered that Biden was the leader of the team that president Obama assembled to tackle the great recession that almost brought the US economy to its knees immediately after he assumed the reins of power.

 Just like then, the US is grappling with one of the worst economic crises occasioned by the corona virus pandemic. Just like he steered the economic recovery team in 2008 to a successful resuscitation of the US economy, he will do the same this time again.

It must also be remembered that Biden was also at the centre of the US success story in containing and managing the H1N1 flu pandemic back in the day during Obama’s presidency. So, he is well acquainted with what it takes to successfully manage the corona virus pandemic and relieve the suffering of millions of Americans who have already lost a quarter a million people to the virus so far.

This election was centred on character given President Trump’s outrageous gaffes at every turn and his obnoxious attitude towards women. He has also openly shown that he is a racist going by the way he treated peaceful protesters during the black lives matter demonstrations.

So, issues of policy kind of took a backseat as Americans came out in large numbers to vote out the despicable character of the incumbent president. Hence, the incoming president will have to work much harder to bring his policy positions on the fore and rally the congress and the House of Representatives towards implementation.

Although it was widely expected that the democrats would carry both houses, the republicans have maintained the senate and even grabbed a few house of representative seats. What this means is that the president elect, just like president Obama, will have a headache in pushing through his legislative agenda.

There hasn’t been a time for greater need for bipartisanship than now and Biden’s indication that he may appoint some progressive GOP leaders like Ohio’s John Kasich in his cabinet would go a long way in thawing frosty relations between the two parties.

Biden’s character which has been widely lauded by personalities from both sides of the aisle will be the fulcrum on which healing of the nation will be hoisted. Touted as amiable, compassionate and a respectful politician, Biden at the very outset during his victory speech appealed for calm in the face of deep divisions.

He clearly pointed out that he will work hardest for all Americans irrespective of who voted for whom. He also noted that democrats and republicans are not enemies.

All in all, the world is at a better place with Biden’s election as the leader of the free world. He has to immediately initiate the process of taking the US back to the World Health Organization after Trump withdrew US financial assistance to the world health body weeks after the onset of the corona virus pandemic. Also, the US has just pulled out of the global talks on climate change. Issues to do with climate change are very close to Biden’s heart. This among other international engagements that the US has to put right will form the basis of Biden administration’s initial task at the White House.

Biden’s victory was wildly celebrated by Kenyans both here at home and in America. It has emerged that there is a sizeable community of Kenyan Americans in Biden’s home state of Delaware some of who worked tirelessly in his campaign team. Biden himself visited Kenya when he served as Obama’s vice president. At a time Kenyans are grappling with the possibility of a plebiscite to review the constitution ahead of a general election, the incoming leader of the free world will have more than just a passing interest in the exercise. Again,at a time Kenya is just about to conclude a trade agreement with the US, Biden’s handling of the remainder of the process will be in sharp focus. Lastly, President Obama’s role in Biden’s victory and the fact that the president elect was his vice president is an important factor in trying to gauge how the Biden administration will relate with the government of the republic of Kenyan given Obama’s Kenyan roots.

Jacob Oketch


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