- Democrat Joe Biden, 77, was elected the 46th President of the United States on Saturday.
- The new president inherits a country divided by many fractures, and shaken by a major health and economic crisis.
- Fight against the pandemic, economic recovery, social and racial divide, climate issues, international relations … 20 Minutes takes stock of the main challenges facing the 46th US president.
After four days of intense suspense, Democratic candidate Joe Biden, 77, was elected President of the United States. Whoever becomes the 46th tenant of the White House pledged Saturday to be the president who will unify America, after four years of turmoil and division. “I am committed to being a president who unites and not who divides,” said Joe Biden.
The new president inherits a country divided, and shaken by a health and economic crisis of great magnitude. Fight against the pandemic, economic recovery, social and racial divide, climate issues, international relations… Joe Biden will now have to “get to work”. 20 Minutes takes stock of the main challenges facing the US president.
- Reconciling a Divided America
Reconciling an America that is divided and polarized in the extreme on all subjects will arguably be one of Joe Biden’s most important challenges. Donald Trump never succeeded – nor wanted – to don the costume of President of all Americans after his election in 2016. He governed only for his camp, stoking hate speech, even showing himself complacent with white supremacists. Joe Biden will try to add nuance.
Comparing America to a “exhausted” nation, the Democratic candidate pledged to rebuild the bond between its citizens. “There will no longer be a blue state and a red state when we have won, only the United States of America,” he said on election night. “To move forward, we must stop treating our opponents as enemies. We are not enemies ”, he also declared.
- Curb the Covid-19 epidemic
Joe Biden will quickly have to put on a white blouse. The Covid-19 epidemic has already killed more than 233,000 people in the United States, making it the most bereaved country in the world. As soon as he comes to power, Joe Biden wants to put in place a national strategy to “get ahead” on the virus: major law in Congress to finance a national campaign of tests “whose results will be available immediately” in the United States of medical products and equipment, compulsory wearing of the mask in federal buildings and in transport between States, and free “for all” of the future vaccine.
Accusing Donald Trump of undermining the authority of his own health experts, Joe Biden has promised to take advice from Dr Anthony Fauci, a highly respected member of the White House crisis cell on the coronavirus. He wants to “remove the muzzles of our experts so that the public has the information it deserves and needs”. He also intends to cancel the procedure for the withdrawal of the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO) launched by Donald Trump in July.
- Revive the country’s economy
The vote of a vast aid plan for the recovery of the economy is the other priority of Joe Biden, who is counting on his ability to convince the elected Republicans to break the current impasse in Congress. He presented an ambitious plan to revive American production after the coronavirus crisis, amounting to 700 billion dollars. To finance it, it will raise the taxes of the richest Americans and big companies, in particular by doubling the tax on profits made abroad.
Joe Biden also plans to double the minimum wage to help the middle classes, rising to $ 15 an hour at the federal level. Some states (such as New York and California) have already implemented a minimum wage in their territory that is higher than the current federal minimum wage, which does not reach 8 dollars an hour. The former right-hand man of Barack Obama has also promised to invest heavily in renewable energies. Joe Biden also wants tax revenues to be reinvested in social programs, education, and modernization of infrastructure.
- Reduce the racial divide
The Biden plan calls for an economic approach to the issue of the racial divide, for more equity and to close the income gaps that continue to weigh on minorities. The Democratic president announced that he would take measures, in particular against geographic segregation. And in a country where 28 million people do not have health coverage, he intends to stop the work of demolition undertaken by the Trump administration concerning Obama Care, by offering “insurance accessible to the greatest number”. This issue of the racial divide will likely be a topic that Vice President Kamala Harris, who is very involved in issues of justice, police and institutionalized racism, will follow in particular.
- Focus on the environment by reintegrating the Paris Agreement
One of Joe Biden’s strongest commitments is about the climate. In this area, he absolutely wants to distinguish himself from Donald Trump and he hammered it throughout the campaign. The elected president intends to reintegrate the United States into the Paris Agreement on the climate, which they have officially just left, following a decision taken by Donald Trump. One of the objectives of the Paris agreement, signed in December 2015 by 195 countries, is to contain the rise in temperatures to 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era.
The elected president also intends to release 2,000 billion dollars within four years for a colossal plan to fight against global warming. During the first months of his mandate, he will also bring together the leaders of the most polluting nations for a climate summit where he intends to convince these countries to revise their commitments upwards. He also promised to reverse the decisions of Donald Trump who had revoked or relaxed a whole series of environmental standards.
Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it. https://t.co/L8UJimS6v2
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 5, 2020
- Reconnect with international bodies, and commit to more multilateralism
Joe Biden will have to shake hands with them in an attempt to resume dialogue with international bodies. Donald Trump had set the country on the path of protectionism and isolation. The former president, fiercely opposed to multilateralism, had withdrawn the United States – or threatened to do so – from several international institutions or treaties. Trump has also despised his allies, especially those of NATO, and has never hesitated to insult foreign leaders on Twitter.
Joe Biden will therefore try to pick up the pieces with more respectful diplomatic relations, and reinvest in international organizations. As a former vice-president of Obama, and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee for many years, he is a keen connoisseur of international relations. In addition to his promise concerning the Paris Agreement, the 46th President of the United States has pledged to cancel the procedure for the withdrawal of the United States from the WHO, to ensure that his country rejoins Unesco, and the Partnership Transpacific (TPP) that Donald Trump left in January 2017, a few days after taking office.
Regarding relations with China – and the trade war between the two countries – Joe Biden should maintain his firmness with Beijing. As for relations with the EU, the climate will be more serene but in trade matters, Joe Biden’s policy could well disappoint Europeans. The US president could also ease tensions with Iran. But in general, the fundamentals of American diplomacy are unlikely to change.