英文

Editorial:Biden has to clean up Trump's mess

【明報專訊】After five long days of vote counting, the result in Pennsylvania was finally released at the weekend. Winning the state by more than 30,000 votes, Biden has crossed the threshold of 270 electoral votes to be elected president. Biden has become the oldest president-elect in US history, and Kamala Harris, his running mate, has become the most politically powerful American woman ever.

In this election, Biden received more than 74 million popular votes, the most in history. Trump, the losing candidate, received more than 70 million votes, which is also a record. The results underscore how deeply America is divided. In declaring victory, Biden emphasised unity many times, promising to be ''a president for all Americans'' and calling on all parties to put aside partisan bickering. He said, ''We may be opponents, but we are not enemies.'' Trump refused to admit defeat, insisting that the election was ''rigged'' and said he would file lawsuits in several states. With Biden's White House experience and connections, even if Trump doesn't co-operate, the impact on the transfer of power is expected to be limited.

Biden's first priority when cleaning up Trump's mess is of course to deal with the pandemic, which is also believed to be the consensus between the government and the American people. But the question is whether he can reunite the country and move forward. Trump has taken a politicised approach against the pandemic, with tens of millions of his supporters refusing to wear masks, rejecting social distancing restrictions, and treating the pandemic as if it were the flu. With such an approach, it is not easy to fight the pandemic with one heart. American politics is highly polarised, and the middle ground has almost ceased to exist. Even within the Democratic Party, there are differences in approaches. Whether Biden can demonstrate the power of tolerance and unity to show the world that the US can put aside its electoral differences and divergent views and do a good job of handling the pandemic and the economy will be a major concern for all sides.

Trump's assertiveness and extremist approach toward China has pleased some, but the US has benefited little from it. There are even fears of a war between the two countries. Biden's election will reduce this risk. Biden does not intend to engage in a trade war not because he wants to appease China, but because doing so is not in America's interests. Biden emphasises international co-operation to combat the pandemic and global warming. This will lead to pragmatic co-operation between China and the US in these areas and hopefully restore high-level communication and contribute to international stability. However, Biden will certainly seek to step up the US's containment of China by gaining an upper hand in international rules and working with the US's allies. Biden has stated that he will convene a ''Global Democracy Summit'' in his first year in office, with the main purpose of reviving the US's leading role and exerting diplomatic pressure on China.

For a few days, the atmosphere in US society was tense but not chaotic, a major reason being that the election results were still in doubt. With the results of the election now clear and Trump impossible to overturn the result through lawsuit, some far-right groups might resort to violence. So we cannot say that the ''election crisis'' is over yet. Trump still has two months left in his term, and given his style, we cannot rule out the possibility of him doing something unexpected to avenge his loss in the election. All sides should be on guard.

明報社評 2020.11.09:特朗普留爛攤子 拜登須煉石補天

經過5天漫長點票,賓夕法尼亞州周末終有點票結果,拜登以超過3萬票勝出,跨過270選舉人票的取勝門檻。拜登成為美國史上最年長的總統當選人,副手賀錦麗則成為歷來最有政治權力的美國女性。

今次大選,拜登普選票超過7400萬,是歷史之最,然而特朗普作為輸家,得票超過7000萬,同樣是一項紀錄,選舉結果突顯了美國撕裂分化之嚴重。拜登的勝利宣言多番強調團結,承諾做「代表所有美國人的總統」,呼籲各方放下黨派紛爭,「我們是對手但不是敵人」;特朗普拒絕承認落敗,堅稱選舉「舞弊」,聲言要在多州打官司。拜登有白宮經驗,人脈也廣,即使特朗普不合作,對政府過渡影響預料有限。

拜登接手特朗普的爛攤子,首要工作當然是處理疫情,這相信亦是朝野共識,問題是他能否重新團結國家、邁步向前。特朗普抗疫政治化,數以千萬計支持者不願戴口罩、拒絕社交限制、視疫情如流感,齊心抗疫談何容易。美國政治高度兩極化,中庸之道幾乎不復存在,即使民主黨內部,也有路線分歧,拜登能否顯現出包容、團結的力量,向全世界展示美國可以放下選舉分歧及不同主張,處理好疫情、處理好經濟,將是各方關注重點。

特朗普對華強硬「無底線」,取悅了一些人,然而美國從中得益不多,外界甚至擔心兩國擦槍走火,拜登上台減少了這方面風險。拜登無意打貿易戰,不是為了討好中國,而是這樣做根本不符美國利益。拜登強調國際合作應對疫情和全球暖化,中美在這些領域將有務實合作,兩國可望恢復高層溝通,有利國際穩定,然而拜登必會尋求遊戲規則主導權,同時也會設法聯同盟友,加強牽制中國。拜登表明上台首年將會召開「全球民主峰會」,一大目的就是重振美國的領導角色,外交上向華施壓。

過去數天美國社會氣氛雖見緊張,未生亂事,一大原因是選舉結果尚有懸念。隨着選舉結果塵埃落定,特朗普無望打官司翻盤,不排除一些極右團體訴諸武力對抗,現在仍不能說「選舉危機」已成過去。特朗普任期尚餘兩月,以其行事作風,不能排除他為了報復選舉落敗,會有出乎意料之舉,各方不能不防。

■/ Glossary 生字 /

underscore /ˌʌndəˈskɔː(r)/:to emphasise the fact that sth is important or true

partisan /ˌpɑːtɪˈzæn/:showing too much support for one person, group or idea, especially without considering it carefully

bickering /ˈbɪkərɪŋ/:the activity of arguing about things that are not important

■英語社評聲檔:link.mingpao.com/53000.htm

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