The recent presidential race in the United States has certainly been, apart from the Covid19 pandemic, one of the most relevant events of this challenging 2020 and we’d be lying if we were to say that none of us followed the election process with bated breath and a great dose of hope. This enthusiasm is mainly the result of the last four difficult and controversial years of the Trump presidency, which – independently from political opinions – has objectively had many negative impacts on the American continent and the world.
In this sense, Biden is bringing to Washington a wind of change in several fields, and his approach reiterates democratic ideals already affirmed by his fellow colleague and ex-president Obama; we can say that his election definitely ends the “grim era of demonization” – as the president-elect himself stated in his victory speech – (not too) allusively caused by Trump’s administration.
Anyway, our interest now is not addressed to “blue states or red states” but to the relevance of having a new president who “only sees the United States” – again, another inspiring quotation from Biden’s speech – and who wants to help ALL the American people, who “seeks not to divide, but to unify.” Considering this sense of equality and unity that Biden expressed both before and after the election, it is no coincidence (or vote fraud, as Trump claimed, without any actual proof) that this time Americans have reached a solid vote for the Democrats; in particular, a great contribution was given by the black voters and the supporters of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which, instead, made the former president experience a hard time. Another wonderful achievement – that also, as a proud feminist, I’d like to underline – is the election of Kamala Harris as the first female Vice President in American history, an audacious choice which strengthens Biden’s innovative attitude in opposition to Trump’s conservative one. Together with many other initiatives already started and promised by Biden and his supporters, such as tackling the virus pandemic and guaranteeing health insurance according to Obama’s previous care act, these achievements show the enormous consensus reached by this new presidency and let us hope for a positive and strong relationship between the government and governed, which should always be the base of democracy.
Nevertheless, Biden’s election seems to improve not only this relationship but also the international cooperation that the new president is trying to seek, after some dramatic initiatives undertaken by Donald Trump.
From the European perspective, the presence of a democratic American leader is without any doubt a chance of economic and political dialogue, a renewed task that could possibly overcome the isolationist policy waged in the last four years. In fact, Trump did not only make the transatlantic relation difficult and unilateral but arrived to withdraw the Paris Agreement, a move that dismissed the US from the peaceful global commitment enhanced to face climate change, stressing the non-collaborationist attitude of Trump. In this regard, the big approval showed by EU countries towards Biden is clearly justified by the availability of the president towards new deals and hopefully good relations.
Moreover, Biden has also listed among his future plans the possibility to re-enter the nuclear deal with Iran, cooling the tensions raised after Tehran attacks and trying to “compensate for past mistakes”; and also, the intention to counter China and seek a trade-alliance in the Pacific, as another positive initiative that perhaps would release the Chinese people from the spread racism showed up within the Covid19 pandemic.
However, if on one hand, Biden is more inclined to global diplomacy and a collaborative approach, on the other hand, Wall Street is worried about the impact of this democratic sweep: according to researches and predictions of the economists Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the inevitable raising of taxes and higher regulations – typical “promises” of this party – would represent a risk for profitability and even discourage financial activities. On the contrary, other companies such as Credit Suisse have a more supportive opinion and believe that this change would be a headwind for the American market. For now, it is quite premature to make statements on the impact, also considering that the president-elect will give priority to the investments and task-forces deployed for the Corona Virus issue. For instance, Biden’s political promises – not only in this field, of course – have earned him, among some commentators, the labeling of an emulator of the JFK model; his proposals and views, in fact, are sometimes linked to the populism of Ted Kennedy and, generally speaking, some people are suspicious about the concreteness of Biden’s electoral promises. It is also true, and interesting to notice, that Biden somehow has an “evangelical” way of expressing, that could be opposed to many other more charismatic figures of the White House, making him a unicum that slightly diverges from the cult of personality supported by US presidents for years. To make further statements, we will need to observe his attitude and the challenges that he will face in the next months.
After this general overview, we can surely agree on the fact that Biden’s presidency represents the end of a difficult chapter for the US and, although not being “pioneering”, this new beginning gives a smoother yet optimistic tone to Washington and its surroundings. Biden, together with his long experience in the field, will hopefully bring soundness in an environment that in the last years, witnessed nothing but the denial of that spirit of freedom and unity that has distinguished the American nation on many occasions.