MANILA – The race for the White House between Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden drove a wedge on the American electorate, a group said Friday, as the world awaits the results of the knife-edge election.
“Regardless of the outcome, what we're seeing here is that it will be a divided America,” said Ramon Cabrera, chairman of Philippine Center for Civic Education and Democracy (PCCED).
As of Friday (Manila time), Biden has racked up at least 253 of the 270 electoral votes that he needs, according to US network projections -- and 264 if Arizona is included, which Fox News and The Associated Press have called in his favor.
Meanwhile, Trump has amassed 214 electoral votes so far, and is still in contention in several states that would afford the Republican incumbent a path to reelection.
“The challenge really for the next president, whoever he may be, is how he would be able to unite different segments of the American population and how he would be able to get them behind his strategy particularly in the time of crisis,” Cabrera said.
The US bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, tallying over 9.6 million infections, with 234,000 deaths linked to the virus.
Cabrera noted that Trump’s surprise win in the 2016 elections against Hillary Clinton was not a fluke.
“It's not a fluke. A significant number of the American public, particularly those in the rural areas, in some suburban areas, still went for Trump,” he said.
National exit polls earlier said Biden would have a wide lead against Trump, who was criticized for a tumultuous presidency.
Asked how a Biden presidency will affect the world, including the Philippines, Cabrera said it could be similar to the foreign policy of former President Barack Obama.
“I think the best indication of a Biden foreign policy is to look into the Obama policy. The Obama foreign policy was basically anchored to their pivot to Asia,” he said.
“What you will see is the US reengaging its old alliances, including that of the Philippines, in order to push for areas of common interests, particularly in trade, particularly in other security issues in the Asia-Pacific Region.”
Biden, 77, was just 1 or at most 2 battleground states away from securing the majority to take the White House.
Trump, 74, needed an increasingly unlikely combination of wins in multiple states to stay in power.