Kay Burley: Delight on the streets of DC – but can Biden reunite a divided country?

Shouting, chanting, singing, dancing, hanging precariously from the sunroof of a car, or holding a Biden-Harris placard while pedalling excitedly past the heavily-guarded White House, down Constitution Avenue.

All this spontaneous reaction to the news that America had voted for a change of leader – a 46th president of the United States.

Basking in the early November sunshine, I witnessed the scenes above in Washington and couldn’t help but think, after days of uncertainty, how it compared with the mood of loyal Trump supporters around the 50 states of America.

People react as media announce that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, on Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, U.S., November 7, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Image:People celebrated Mr Biden’s win on Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington
People celebrate on Black Lives Matter Plaza across from the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2020, after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election. - Democrat Joe Biden has won the White House, US media said November 7, defeating Donald Trump and ending a presidency that convulsed American politics, shocked the world and left the United States more divided than at any time in decades. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Consider Phoenix, Arizona or Atlanta, Georgia – and many other places around the country – where Trump supporters turned out in their droves at counting centres, concerned the election was being stolen from them.

In a valid election, each vote cast must be counted. That’s the cornerstone of any democracy.

Follow live updates as Joe Biden becomes president-elect

The problem is what constitutes ‘valid’. Does a vote have to be counted on the night? Or can the courts provide an arbitrary date for that priceless piece of paper to be submitted?

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Joe Biden says yes, Donald Trump disagrees.

The argument will rage on well past inauguration day on 20 January.

I first heard the news that Biden had won while writing this article at the Washington Monument – a tribute to the first president.

It started as a ripple, as the news came through that Mr Biden had reclaimed Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump playing golf in Virginia on Saturday
Image:Donald Trump was playing golf as the news spread that he had lost the election

Trump was on the golf course in Virginia – his loyal supporters in Florida, who made this race as tight as it was, must surely have wished the president was with them to offer comfort and support.

Their man, who has never identified as a politician, has strutted across the world stage claiming at every turn to represent all the American people.

Whatever you think of him, almost half of those who voted believe he had their best interests at heart. It’s tough for them and for him.

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‘We did it!’: VP-elect Harris calls Biden

Vice president-elect Kamala Harris – Kamala means lotus flower in Sanskrit – was jogging when she heard she will be the first woman vice president; the first African-American vice president and the first Asian-American vice president.

She rang her boss, simply to say “we did it”.

They certainly did. He will soon become president on the third time of asking. His task: to reunite a divided country.

Visiting his childhood home in the Pennsylvania town of Scranton on polling day, Mr Biden graffitied on the wall “from this house to White House, by the grace of God.”

And so, Donald Trump must now vacate 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to make way for the new incumbent.

The message written by Joe Biden on a wall in his childhood home in Scranton. Pic: Biden pool/Axios
Image:The message written by Joe Biden in his childhood home. Pic: Biden pool/Axios

He will leave surrounded by his loyal family.

A daughter who said he left nothing on the field, and a son who travelled to Pennsylvania to tell the world, on behalf of his dad, “this is not fair”.

Whatever next for ’45’, be safe in the knowledge he’s surrounded by the love and support of his family.

But my last word, must go to Ms Harris’ level-headed mum, who told her daughter – soon to be among the world’s most famous women – it’s okay to be the first, but make sure you’re not the last.

Sending the elevator back down is what every woman should do.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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