At the 59th quadrennial US presidential election, Joe Biden emerged victorious, triumphing comfortably in the end after what seemed a scrappy start. It had begun as an election campaign that was too close to call, but as it turned out Americans voted in large numbers for a change from the past. Donald Trump became the 11th incumbent president in the US to lose a bid for a second term. Not since George H.W. Bush in 1992 has an American president failed to secure one. More citizens than ever before voted in favor of a US presidential candidate in November 2020—Biden received 81 million votes, shattering Barack Obama’s record of 69.5 million votes set in 2008. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the elections saw a record number of ballots cast early, a large number of them mailed-in.
On her part, Kamala Devi Harris made history at the stroke of noon on January 20, 2021, becoming the first Indian American, the first African-American, and the first woman to become America’s Vice President. She was sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latin American to serve at the court, symbolizing America’s growing diversity amidst undercurrents of great racial tensions. Ironically, the Democratic campaign got a new lease of life following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May 2020, the tipping point for the high-voltage Black Lives Matter movement that had America in its crosshairs for many months.