Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, November 7, positioning himself to be a leader who "seeks not to divide but to unify" a nation gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil. Biden crossed the threshold of 270 electoral college votes with a win in his home state of Pennsylvania. (CBC News)
Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:
Daniel Béland, James McGill Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada
“Canada-U.S. relations have faced daunting challenges since the beginning of the Donald Trump presidency and many Canadians followed very closely the recent U.S. elections for a very simple reason: because the outcome truly mattered for Canada. The victory of Joe Biden should significantly alter, and possibly improve, Canada-U.S. relations.”
Daniel Béland is the Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and James McGill Professor of Political Science. He specializes in the fields of Canadian and comparative politics, as well as the study of public policy, including social policy.
daniel.beland [at] mcgill.ca (English, French)
Mugambi Jouet, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law
“The 2020 presidential election epitomized how America stands far more polarized than other Western democracies. Its intense polarization has old roots. They have not only shaped a striking factual divide, but also conflicting views over issues like the basic role of government, wealth inequality, gender, religion, race, guns, criminal justice, foreign policy, and beyond. Many of these divides are interrelated and may remain significant after the election, unless a paradigm shift occurs.”
Mugambi Jouet is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law. His research focuses on criminal justice and comparative government from a multidisciplinary perspective. He is an expert on the distinctive historical evolution of American law, institutions, and sociopolitical culture compared to other Western democracies such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and various European nations.
mugambi.jouet [at] mcgill.ca (English, French)
Jason Opal, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History and Classical Studies
“Joe Biden won by doing two things: first, he mobilized traditional Democratic voters– – lower income people, highly-educated professionals, women, visible minorities, urbanites, etc. – somewhat better than Hilary Clinton did in 2016, resulting in crucial surpluses of votes in the ‘blue’ counties of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, plus Georgia. Second, he won over a modest number of independent voters, largely due to the incessant chaos of the Donald Trump years and the related botching of the COVID-19 pandemic. He ran as a moderate, because he is a moderate, and in this way, he was a believable and relatable candidate. However, Trump voters, rich and poor, turned out for their champion. Very few ‘red’ counties from 2016 switched to blue. It's crucial to recall that Trump also retained the support of traditional conservatives who hate taxes, unions, and regulations – because in many ways Trump is a traditional conservative who hates taxes, unions, and regulations. The Trump alliance – built on white, conservative, rural, and religious voters – remains strong.”
Jason Opal is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Classical Studies, where he teaches and writes about the U.S. Constitution in different periods of American history. His work tries to integrate social, cultural, and intellectual history and to shed light on such broad topics as nationalism, capitalism, democracy and U.S.-Canada foreign relations.
jason.opal [at] mcgill.ca (English, French)