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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 47, New Delhi, November 7, 2020

LETTER TO THE READERS - Mainstream, November 7, 2020

Sunday 8 November 2020

The 2020 US Presidential race produced a huge drama and drew exceptionally large participation by the electorate, after a photo finish. Joe Biden has now been declared the winner of this very close electoral battle by all major media networks across the US. He will now become the 46th president of the USA. President Donald Trump continues to raise the red herring of electoral fraud and denigrate the integrity of the American electoral system and thereby eroding trust in the democratic process and risk provoking violence.

The election of Joe Biden, would offer a welcome respite from four years of an isolationist and divisive presidency that had pulled the United States out of Paris accord, the Tehran Deal and fanned the flames of social discord while totally mismanaging the Covid-19 pandemic in the US. We would be wrong to conflate a victory for the Democrats with a return to normalcy. Joe Biden has won the US 2020 presidential race but will have to now deal with the disruptive ideology of ‘Trumpism’ in times ahead. During the last weeks of 2020 Presidential race, there were dangerous developments — the police uncovered a plot by a right-wing militia group to kidnap the Governor of the State of Michigan; during the campaign, a caravan of Trump supporters had surrounded and obstructed a Biden-Harris campaign vehicle on a highway in Texas. Similarly, in October the Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris faced death threats. We should remember that for eight years, many Americans feared for the life of Barack Obama. It is worrying to think of what Trump supporters may do during a Democratic Administration, their numbers are not small — some 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump. We hope there will be a normal transition to power.

The election of the first woman of colour as the Vice President of USA is a milestone, exactly hundred years after women won the right to vote in that country.

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In the past week Bihar, one of India’s largest States went into an election and we witnessed an electrifying campaign with the ‘Mahagathbandhan’: left and social-democratic electoral alliance with the RJD, Congress and Left Parties holding sway. Major Exit polls released on November 7, 2020, suggest that the Mahagathbandan alliance may do very well and has the potential to unseat the NDA governing alliance in Bihar. The surge of the opposition in Bihar would be a very welcome development and will have implications on upcoming elections in India. The results of Bihar elections are expected soon should be public by the 10th of November.

Tributes:

Veteran journalist and author Robert Fisk aged 74, passed away on October 31, at his home in Dublin. He covered, among other events, the Lebanese civil war, Russian invasion of Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq War

Saleem Asmi, the former editor of Dawn, passed away in Karachi on October 31.

We pay our tributes to the above personalities.

November 7, 2020 – The Editor

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