Joe Biden is named the 46th president-elect of the United States after a week of counting, litigation and protests.
After winning Nevada and Pennsylvania, Biden secured 279 electoral votes, further solidifying his majority. Biden has won over 74 million votes and has gone against the odds and beat an incumbent.
Zack Bonner, lecturer for the political science department, said the incumbency advantage is a hard barrier to overcome due to name recognition, the ability to network and money.
Alongside him is vice president-elect Kamala Harris, the first Black and Asian American to do so. Although this is seen as a victory for Democrats, Biden’s presidency will have to face the pandemic, a raging economic recession and a polarized county.
All of these unprecedented obstacles will rest on the shoulders of 77-year-old Biden and his administration come Jan. 20 when he is sworn into office.
Now there is a greater weight on the U.S. Senate race, which currently sits at a dead tie. Democrats made traction on some seats but lost key states such as South Carolina and Kentucky. But the counting of votes continues for Senate races in Georgia where a special election is also taking place. Democrats would need to win both elections to tip the Senate majority.
“If that happens, it will still be difficult but it will be more likely that he can get some of the major policies passed,” Bonner said. “Versus if it stays the same and Mitch McConnell stays in charge, we may see some obstructionism but maybe not to the extent that it has been for the last three years.”
If the Senate voting is split on legislation, it is up to the vice president to break the tie. Harris was elected and could be the deciding vote in passing legislation.
“If there are narrow margins in the House and Senate, I mean, you can get things passed, but it will still be difficult to get agreement between both House since they have to be the same,” Bonner said.
Biden has stressed the presidency is supposed to represent the entire country and that he would work to unify, regardless of party affiliation.
“My responsibility as president will be to represent the whole nation,” Biden said. “I will work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me.”
The president-elect will reportedly address the nation at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time Saturday.