Finally, (some) closure. Joe Biden will be the next US president.

Art by Gabriella Turrisi

The race has been called, and although President Trump says he will dispute the result with lawsuits in several battleground states, America's presidential election is (finally) a done deal.

What happens next? President-Elect Joe Biden will now go through an uncertain lame-duck period before he takes the oath of office. Once he's sworn in on January 20th, Biden will have Vice President Kamala Harris, the former Senator from California, at his side to help wade through a slew of pressing domestic and international challenges. Here are some reflections and observations on an historic day.


History in the making. In 11 weeks, Kamala Harris will become the first female vice president in US history. She will also be the first Black and South Asian person to assume this role, a momentous breakthrough — and an emotional milestone — for people of color in the United States. It is a particularly meaningful occasion for Black women, the backbone of the Democratic base. They were instrumental in ensuring Joe Biden's victory in the Democratic primaries and his clinching of the presidency. It's fair to say they felt the weight of this heated election on their shoulders.

The domestic landscape. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will have their work cut out for them. President Trump has already made clear that he will not be a willing participant in the traditional handover of power, making for an excruciating transition period over the next 11-weeks. Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak in the United States is worsening by the day, and millions of Americans are still feeling deep financial pain because of the pandemic-induced recession. Republicans are also likely to retain control of the Senate, which would make it very difficult for Biden to pass ambitious legislation on climate change, immigration and healthcare.

Foreign policy. Biden's victory comes just days after the US — the world's second largest emitter of carbon — officially exited the Paris Climate Accord, the first country in the world to formally withdraw. Biden has said he will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord from the get-go (according to the accord's terms rejoining requires one month's notice), however there are compliance issues Biden will have to address in order to rejoin.

When it comes to China, Biden is not expected to be soft on Beijing. He has said he will focus on getting all US allies in Europe and Asia on the same page to counter China's global aggression. Biden also wants to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, another major Obama administration international agreement that President Trump walked away from. However, he said this is contingent on Tehran's willingness to comply with all of the deal's terms.

The American people remain bitterly divided. But it's also clear that many are sick and tired of political drama, toxicity, and chaos. Can Biden and Harris unite a fractious nation — one that voted in record-breaking numbers on both sides?

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

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Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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