Joe Biden Has Won

That’s the ballgame. Joe Biden, the former Vice-President under President Barack Obama, will be the 46th President of the United States. His running mate Kamala Harris will be the first woman, the first African American and the first Indian American to serve as as vice president.

Biden and Harris claimed Pennsylvania early on Saturday, clearing their path to clinch the necessary 270 electoral college votes. Biden has shattered the 2008 record set by his former running mate, who won 66 million. Nevertheless, the contours of of the electoral college meant the election came down to some anxiety-filled and razor-thin margins for Biden’s team in a few key places like Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Biden, a deeply devout Catholic, will be just the second non-Protestant to serve in the Oval Office in American history. On Saturday, he delivered an acceptance speech in which he repeated his well-worn phrase about “healing the soul of the nation” and quoted from the 1970s hymn “On Eagle’s Wings” — a favorite of his late son Beau.

In September, Biden spoke with the faith-based anti-poverty group the Poor People’s Campaign where he highlighted the role faith plays in his political vision for the country. “All of you remind me of how Scripture describes a calling born out of the wilderness,” Biden said. “A calling to serve, not to be served. A calling toward justice, healing, hope — not hate. To speak the good news, and followed by some good deeds. It’s not just enough to speak the good news, but good deeds.”

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Biden and Harris’ victory was hard-fought, but it’ll be a cake walk compared to the enormous challenges facing them when they assume their offices. The country remains in the throes of a pandemic that has left the U.S. with its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. Democratic hopes to take the Senate appear to be shrinking, meaning Biden’s proposals may very well face fierce opposition.

Biden will also face a country grappling with its racist legacy in profound ways following a summer of protests sparked by the police killings of Black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The Democratic Party’s drive to register new voters had hit a ceiling in the pandemic season, but Black Lives Matter marches provided a huge boost to registration efforts. Biden has distanced himself from popular progressive calls to re-allocate funding for police departments, expressing enthusiasm for more moderate reforms.

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