Yearender 2020: Joe Biden triumphs over Trump, road ahead will not be easy in 2021

For many in the world's richest country, 2020 was the year that seemed never-ending -- an infinite series of horror movie sequels shaking the economy, politics and society itself.

Biden's year

It has been Joe Biden's year. The US president-elect may have started the year as "sleepy Joe" as Trump liked to call him in his usual taunting tone but come November 3, the Democratic presidential candidate topped the US president easily, although counting took time due to a millions of mail-in votes but the result was never in doubt, except for Trump supporters who went on a misinformation spree.

America in the end spoke in favour of Biden and now he is set to become the next US president on January 20, 2021.

 

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Biden, an old-school Washington politician

Covid and a traumatic presidential election left the US reeling in 2020, but even with Donald Trump gone and Joe Biden promising to heal the nation there'll be no quick return to normal in 2021.

For many in the world's richest country, 2020 was the year that seemed never-ending -- an infinite series of horror movie sequels shaking the economy, politics and society itself.

Biden, an old-school Washington politician who believes in traditional US diplomacy and what he refers to as "decency," got elected on a promise to stop the chaos.

"It is time to turn the page," he said. Out goes the most attention seeking president imaginable, and in comes a mild-mannered leader who says he seeks "to lower the temperature."

The shift in mood at the White House after Inauguration Day on January 20 will be remarkable.

 

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Biden and COVID-19

But Trump clearly has no intention of giving up the limelight -- or allowing the United States to forget the nationalist and populist passions that his administration worked so hard to stoke.

His extraordinary decision to deny that he lost the election, more than a month after it happened, is just part one in what he hopes will be yet another Trump-centered drama, possibly culminating with a new presidential run in 2024.

And Biden will have another, tougher foe breathing down his neck: COVID-19.

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Biden's next task: Vaccinating America

Even though Americans are now being vaccinated, the virus is at its most deadly, killing thousands of Americans a day. It's forecast to get even worse before winter is over.

Trump has tried to take credit for the ultra-fast development of the vaccines -- one of the few good news stories of 2020. 

But it will largely fall to Biden next year to oversee the unprecedented logistical task of getting doses administered across 50 states.

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Trump impeachment comes to nothing

 Trump can blame the catastrophic disruption to the economy on the coronavirus, it will be Biden who finds himself being remembered for what happens during the hoped-for recovery in 2021.

With Trump running for a second term, perhaps it was always inevitable that 2020 was going to be a wild year.

The rules-breaking Republican began his year with acquittal along party lines in a Senate impeachment trial.

Emboldened, he then stormed out onto the reelection trail, holding rally after rally in front of large crowds.

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Biden's triumph

Trump campaign machine was so well-funded and so single-minded that its then manager, Brad Parscale, likened it to the Death Star in "Star Wars," a weapon ready to annihilate everything in its path.

The Democrats, meanwhile, began the year eyeing a long, perilous primary season featuring a staggering two dozen candidates.

Clearly, Trump fancied his chances.

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Trump's war

Unemployment was at rock bottom, the stock market at historic highs and in January Trump reached a truce -- which he spun as a huge win -- in his trade war with China.

Yes, he was historically unpopular, but what made him reviled by the left, like his anti-immigrant rhetoric, won adoration on the right.

He even joked to his crowds that he'd not only win four more years but an unconstitutional extra eight, 12 or more.

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Biden's safe pair of hands

What no one knew in the first days of the year was that the Covid-19 virus, at first an unknown disease in faraway China, was about to upend the landscape.

By the end of January, the Chinese city of Wuhan was under severe lockdown and Trump had stopped travel from China. Yet for months he and many others in the United States did not appear to understand or at least accept what was happening.

Trump called Covid the "invisible enemy." 

It was an unseen force which would kill more than 300,000 Americans by mid-December and wreck Trump's entire reelection message of success and strength.

Biden, whose campaign rested heavily on his claim to be the safe pair of hands for a crisis-ridden America, will now face the monumental task of steering the country to recovery.

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Biden can revoke executive order

US officials have been working on the directive for nearly two years, the official said. But its unveiling will follow a massive hacking campaign which used US tech company SolarWinds as a springboard to penetrate federal government networks.

Senior US officials and lawmakers have alleged Russia is to blame for the hacking spree, a charge the Kremlin denies.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who will take the oath of office on Wednesday, could easily revoke an executive order issued in the waning days of the Trump presidency.

Biden's transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Photograph:AFP)

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