“The original version is written in Arabic and posted on al-Jazeera Centre for Studies website on November 9, 2020.” 

Introduction

The United States’ presidential election were held along with the House of Representative and Senate elections on November 3. However, the result was not clear until November 6, when it became evident that the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, won the American presidency. The next day, November 7, major American media sources announced that the election had been decided in Biden’s favor.

Despite the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, and worldwide, the election  was hotly contested and polarizing. In previous presidential elections, the winner has typically been announced on election night. However, anticipation to know who won did not subside on November 3. When the results came in favor of Biden, President Trump did not behave like previous presidential candidates. Trump refused to acknowledge defeat or congratulate his Joe Biden for winning the election. He questioned the integrity of the electoral process, and, in turn, the totality of the state system. He threatened to take legal action in order to challenge the vote-counting process in swing states and instigated his supporters to protest, asserting that he won the elections.

In most other parts of the world, many American allies and some opponents expressed their joy in seeing Trump’s defeat, the end of an era of right-wing populism, and the return of traditional American leadership the world has been accustomed to since the Second World War.

How and why did Biden win the U.S. presidential elections despite running a campaign described by many as unimpressive and bearing no notable promises to the American voter neither on domestic or international levels? What does Trump’s refusal to accept the election results mean, whether in terms of understanding the variables of the American political arena, or the fragility of the democratic system? And to what extent is Biden’s ascent expected to bring about fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy as a whole and concerning the Middle East in particular?