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Biden will take over a deeply divided nation in crisis

With news outlets from the Associated Press to Fox News calling the election in favor of Joe Biden on Saturday, President Trump’s camp continued their legal efforts to contest the election results, and many Republican leaders remained silent. Yamiche Alcindor joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss Trump’s strategy, as well as Kamala Harris’ historic win as the first woman of color to be elected Vice President.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    NewsHour White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor joined us from Washington D.C. for more on the president's reaction and his plans.

    Yamiche, we heard from Dan Bush in Philadelphia that Rudy Giuliani, other members of the Trump campaign, regardless of what the Associated Press says, regardless of the call, they are interested in prosecuting this further.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    That's right, the president put out a statement just moments after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect by a number of news agencies, as well as the AP saying that this election is not over and that he plans to prosecute this case.

    Now, I've been talking to people who are close to President Trump and they say this, the President will at some point have to acknowledge that he may have lost this election. It seems like he will lose this election, but he's really set up two camps of people there. The people like Rudy Giuliani, like Corey Lewandowski, his personal attorney and his former campaign manager in 2016, who will continue to really want to fight, continue to try to edge him on. But then there are the people like Jared Kushner, his son in law, who are going to have to reel him back when it's time to reel back to say, look, you've lost this thing.

    Let's also just step back even further and say that this was a president who ran as a political outsider who has now been ousted by a record number of voters. Yes, the election was tight, but Joe Biden has more votes than any other person who has run for president. And this really is a repudiation of President Trump and all of the things that he's been doing, the racist language, the downplaying of the coronavirus, the scandals. He will leave office, if this all goes through, he will leave office as an impeached president and he will join only nine other presidents in history to not win a second term.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Let's also talk about the historic nature of Kamala Harris being the presumptive vice president.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    This is a little bit of political poetry here.

    President Trump began his political career questioning the birthplace of the first African-American president in that racist theory of birtherism and he's now going to be leaving office and with a Black woman coming into office as vice president, someone that he's mocked for saying her name wrong over and over again.

    This is, of course, also a historic first.

    Senator Harris, now Vice President-Elect Harris, has had so many different firsts in her lifetime, but now she is the first woman to be elected vice president-elect. She's the first Black woman, the first Asian woman, the first graduate of a historically Black college and university, the first member of the Divine Nine. Those are the African-American sororities. She's a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. There are so many different firsts here, and it's history-making for her to walk into office just a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    I've just been talking to Black Lives Matter activists, as well as Ben Crump, an icon in some ways, the civil rights attorney who has done so many different cases from Trayvon Martin to Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd and he told me that he felt hope today. He feels as though this election of Kamala Harris puts African-American women who have been the backbone of the Democratic Party into an executive office for the first time in history.

    And there's really been this feeling of excitement, this feeling that things might be different this time around as we look at all of the different ways that African-Americans face injustices and inequalities in this country.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And there are at least 70 million voters who did not vote for Joe Biden. And this is a country still deeply divided. That's a lot of work that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have ahead of them.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    I've been talking to Democrats who are doing a lot of soul-searching and wondering why this election was so close. You're right to say that this was an election that really put into clear focus how polarized America is that I've talked to so many Trump supporters, as well as Biden supporters who simply cannot understand why someone would vote for the candidate that isn't their candidate of choice.

    But we have to remember that President Trump has had such a problematic history with truth. He's been spreading disinformation for so long. We talk a lot about foreign interference in elections, but we right now have a disinformation campaign going on headquartered at the White House with President Trump. So a lot of that polarization is going to be happening there.

    I should also say that Republicans are feeling very pressured right now to stick with the president because they realize that the president's base is going to be the base that they're going to have to turn out in 2022 and 2024. So it's also an incentive for Republicans to continue to be polarized as they back the president.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    PBS NewsHour's Yamiche Alcindor, thanks so much.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thanks.

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